The little, two-carriage cog-driven train ground it's way up and up and up to the highest place in Rio, up to the Christo Redemptor statue. I was so excited! This was at the top of my bucket list for Brazil. The expression on the face of the 700metre high statue is so beautiful, I wanted to lie down on the concrete at the foot of the statue and gaze up into that face for ages... But crowds of milling tourists for additional that. Today is the day after the end of the ParaOlympics, so the athletes were out in force before going home. It took an hour to queue for the train down the hill. I wanted to walk down the road as it seemed to be taking ages, but Ian didn't.
It probably wasn't such a bad thing, as getting lost in this slightly dodgy city seemed likely. However, after going to a safe-looking restaurant in a known area of town(it had a menu in English), we decided to walk home.
OK, until we tried following the GPS. It decided that we should go home via a favela. This is one of the colourful slum areas which cling to the steep cliffs of Rio. There were some motorbikes at the foot of the steep path. They wanted to give us a lift. No way. Who knows where we would be taken and besides, we would be separated. So we said "Nao" ( no) and trudged on up the steep, slippery path. A woman, a carioca (Rio resident) who was going up there obviously knew we shouldn't and told us kindly in voluble Portuguese that we should find another way to our place. Now it was raining, a light, misty drizzle.
OK. Try again. Perhaps we should find the proper bus. As we tried unsuccessfully to find it, I felt we should cross the road with a young woman who looked as if she knew how to cross when the traffic drives on the wrong side of the road. We fell into conversation and it turned out that she was a Christian, who had been praying that day the the Lord would use her to help someone!!!
She took us up through another favela. It was where she lived and she said it was not a dangerous one. Anyway, they knew her there and we were only accosted once, by a wee lad asking if we needed help. When she had escorted us home, I was thrilled that I had brought over several pretty NZ teatowels decorated with the NZ map & some native birds, so I had something to offer her.
After she went home, we made ourselves some toast to try out the Apricot Jam we'd bought earlier in the day. It was, well..., my Apricot and cardamom variety is considerably better. But you knew that already :-)
To anyone who has read this far, well done! I feel honoured. More tomorrow.