Trip Start Nov 30, 2008
Trip End Jan 28, 2009

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Sunday, January 25, 2009

I arrived in Rio early Sunday morning for the last week of my trip. Being a little safety conscious I got into an official taxi and headed straight to my hotel on Copacabana. Since it was Sunday I looked into going to a soccer match at the world's largest stadium, Maracana Stadium. Unfortunately there was no match on the day, but there would be one the following week which would fit perfectly with my check out times from the hotel and flight departure back to Miami. I quickly booked my ticket for the game as well as made my sightseeing plans for the week. I figured I would get the sightseeing out of the way in the first couple of days and have the rest of the week to bum around the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. The following day I met Robbie, an Australian who was staying at the same hotel, on the day tour of Rio. We came to realize we pretty much had the same plans for the week, so we paired up and hung out together for the week, which came in handy as there was always someone to snap those photos of Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado. Unfortunately my plan of doing the sightseeing first and the bumming around the beach afterwards didn’t work out like I would have wanted it to. After two days of sightseeing, full day Rio and Petropolis, I awoke on the third day to rain showers that would last the next three days. I would find myself heading out to the beach for about an hour each day when the rain would briefly stop. It was quite disappointing to be at some of the world’s most famous beaches only to be rained out.

Since I went to see a tango show while I was in Buenos Aires I figured it was required to attend a samba show --- hands down the tango show was better! One of the most interesting things to do while in Rio was a Favella (shantytown) tour. On the morning of departure and before the soccer match I took an organized tour of 2 of Rio’s Favellas that have been built up over the past 35 years on the mountainsides in and around Rio. When visiting a favella it is recommended to go in a group as they are run by gangs and drug dealers. The police are stationed outside of them and make occasional raids into them but for the most part they bare a non-factor. However, as explained by the tour leader the favellas are quite safe in groups since nobody wants to give the police any excuses to come inside.

Well, this is the end of the trip in South America. I’m heading back to the UAE via the US and a day and a half shopping excursion and to meet up with the folks in Miami.
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