Day 232 - Rio de Janeiro

Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
Trip End May 01, 2008

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Monday, April 21, 2008

The skies were grey this morning when we opened the curtains, but at least we slept well, in fact it was probably the best we've slept for a few weeks.

Katie got up at 8am for some breakfast, while I stayed in bed for another hour or so.

By the time I was ready to move Katie had decided that we were going shopping in a mall in Botafogo, so we took the bus through Copacabana beach for the first time on the way there.

When we reached the mall it was less than impressive from outside, looking like a tall brown office building and when we got to the entrance all the shutters were down. Great!

It was just before midday, so we hoped that 12pm would be the magical opening time and sure enough a few minutes later the burly security guards lifted the shutters to let us in.

To our surprise only two shops in the entire mall were open, due to today's religious holiday, which we knew nothing about.

While we were walking around the mall I noticed a shop which appeared to have been named after my best friend (and worst man) Mr Bartram!

Worst named shop ?!

We wandered around for 20 minutes hoping that other shops would open, but there was absolutely nothing happening so we walked back to Copacabana.

We strolled down the beach, with the sun beginning to poke through the clouds and tried to politely decline all the people shouting "AMIGOS! CHAIRS!" at the top of their lungs.

It got a bit much after the 12th offer inside a minute, so we tried to charter a route down the beach which would take us nowhere near any of them. Easier said than done ;) 

Copa 1 

As you can see it wasn't a good beach day today with lots of clouds, so there also weren't many people around.

Copa 2 

Like Itacare further up the east coast, the waves were incredible, really high and powerful, so definitely NOT a swimming beach.

We watched a few games of beach football and some foot volleyball (very impressive), something we'll have to try at one of the Beyton Legends v Ixworth Bumboys weekends away! 

All over the beach they were selling football flags, this photo shows quite nicely the colours of the Big 4 Rio teams: Flamengo, Fluminese, Vasco de Gama and Botafogo.

Copa 3

When we reached the famous Copacabana Palace hotel, which used to be the tallest building on the beach but is now dwarfed by the high rises, we turned inland and tried to find a nice place for lunch.

Copa 4

Sadly the "legendary" local sandwich shop mentioned in our guidebook was closed, as was a place selling the cheapest Havaianas (flip flops) in town, so we got on the bus and headed back to Ipanema.

We ended up going back to the same local lunch spot as yesterday, the Beach Juice Bar, and again enjoyed great food and drink for a reasonable amount of cash.

With the weather now very cloudy and with rain forecast there's not much point trying to do much this afternoon, so we'll just have to hope it clears up tomorrow.

The Liverpool v Chelsea Champions League 1/2 final 1st leg is tomorrow at 3:45pm local time, so we're thinking of doing a favella tour (shanty town tour) in the morning, then Katie will do some shopping while I'm watching the game and then we'll find somewhere for dinner.

Lots of love,

Al & Katie xx
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