. Ahh, weīre in Rio you think. The other 4 went on helicopter rides (thereīs a pad up here) which circle Christ but I dindīt bother. Very James Bond feeling though. Headed up to Sugarloaf proper on another cable car and now you could see even more of Rio, including Cococabana beach. Wisps of clouds slip by (and sometimes cover you), you can see miles (we were lucky the smog is not strong today). Beautiful, just beautiful. W,J and I headed down and a guide offered us a good price for a lift to Christ and transport back to our hotel so we took it and an hour later we were at teh feet of Christ the Redeemer at the other side of the city. Heīs on a peak 710m high, about 30m high, a beautiful white(ish) stone with a very calm and peaceful look on his face. Just as well as the viewing platform for him is absolutely packed with people trying to take photos of him or the city below. Packed. Sweating, pushing packed. It was about 32C but it felt hotter....We spent about an hour quarter up there and W+J ran into people they knew from London (itīs a small world). They met under the left armpit of Jesus (as they put it!).
Headed back to the hotel after as I needed to shop for the evening and everything will grind to a halt after 600 today. Luckily I came across a menīs shop pretty quickly and there I bought black pants and a red short sleeved shirt (all will be revealed why). Then internet for an hour (only blogging, I`m so far behind)
. Bought a 12 pack of beer and a 12 pack of water from a local store and then I was back to my hotel room by 600 to spend the next 1.5 hrs handwashing all my clothes. Oh what fun!! It actually was, with net songs 3 on, beers to be drunk, roaming around without a shirt! Lura and Chris invited me for a pre ball drink but we changed that to just meet everybody at 915 in the lobby. Also going to the Red and Balck Ball was Kylie, Jo, Jules, Matt, Jeff, Doug, Dncan, Lizzy, Keith, Anna, Takuya and some girl I didn`t know. The R&B ball is one of the famous balls held during carnival - very hedonistic apparently. In the taxi on the way to it took a photo of a giant ferris wheel and I mustn`t have put it back in my pocket properly as one minute after getting out of the cab I realised I no longer had it and the cab had driven off. Arrrgh!! My camera!! The only thing that prevented me from curling up into a little ball and staying like that fior days is that I finished a memory card this morning that had photos from as far back as La Paz and therefore only lost half of today`s photos instead of 1.5 months! Still absolutely gutted though. Bought my ticket for the ball at La Scala nightclub and got ripped off 10 Rs for that. I`d had 5 cans pre going out, 3 beers at some expensive restaurant we killed time at until the ball started at 1200. I was just consumed I`d lost my old friend. Got into the ball 1220, had to wait in line to buy tickets for drinks and the chick ripped me off for that, giving me 3 drinks instead of 6. Then you have to line up at the bar to get your drinks. And here`s the thing, it`s not a ball, just a big sweaty club, absoutely steaming and packed! I shouldn`t have bothered dressing as a lot of guys there just wore shorts and no shirt. There were quite a few trasvestites present! There were lots of gorgeous girls too but the samba music was fucking monotonous, it was streaming sweat hot and I was so not in the party mood. Wandered from one side of the room to the other running in to people like Col, Mel, Damo, Kaz , the Overlanders who were also there. Most everybody else seemed to be having a good time but I just wanted out of there. I walked out 230, got in a cab and headed back to the hotel. Cold shower and bed 330.
Woke 650, couldnīt get back to sleep but I was happy to read and do diary without anybody there! Found out no laundry could be done till the 6th when I went downstairs to meet W+J and so that leaves me with a very stinky (wet clothes donīt dry well in steamy tents) problem. Looks like I will have to spent some of my time in Rio hand washing. Fantastic. Headed off in a taxi with Woz and Jane to Sugarloaf mountain. This is the famous jutting bit of rock (it just goes straight up and is not gradual like a mountain) with the cable cars (watch James Bond Mookraker and you will understand). We were joined by Jeff, Lizzy, Anna, Keith before we headed up. Itīs done in two stages. You go to a lower jutting rock first (150m) and then you already have a great sweeping view of gorgeous Rio - itīs beaches, bays, and of course, Christ the Redemer overlooking everything. Heīs further away than you think and often covered by cloud but we were lucky that today was a clear day so although he was covered sometimes, others he was outlined beautifully