Liz's worldwide adventure travel blog


Weather good so we head for the Corcovado - decided to get a taxi because we want to make sure that we get there before the cloud comes in. our taxi driver agrees to use the meter and tells us it will be about 30 reals. However, on the way, he's decided to take us via another viewpoint. /With retrospect, this was a good opportunity take in the view from another angle and below any of the cloud cover, but I'm anxious that we get to the top before the crowds and annoyed that he leaves the meter running adding a few reals to our journey. Once we reach the top, the meter's on 27 reals but the driver wants 30. Despite Fran's protestations, he's still hanging out and wants to get the police involved - "Okay" says Fran to the driver's surprised and jumps out of the car to speak to the police usefully stationed just nearby. The driver remains routed to the seat, the policewoman speaks English and, after just a few protestations, he's leaving with 27 reals and no more. Another point to Fran!

The Corcovado is packed with tourists - mostly japanese and american - and all jostling to get their picture taken with Jesus. It's suffocating. The view comes and goes with the cloud and we hang around for a time trying to grab a shot when it clears.

Our route down is luckily not by taxi - we are going to take the funicular at the steep cost of 13 reals. It's less risky than a taxi but I'm not sure about the value for money. Along the route there are fibreglass models of parrots, jaguars and carnival-goers. I suppose it would keep the kids quiet for a while.

We're close to 'one of the most beautiful squares in Rio' at the bottom of the route - who could resist! It turns out, however, that the little gem our guidebook describes is a nice little courtyard surrounded by houses that, though pretty, are mostly obscured by trees and foliage and look pretty dilapidated. In fact, a young woman urges us inside one of them to see for ourselves - the inside is full of bric-a-brac like some car boot sale and the garden is overgrown and dotted with rubbish.

As it's so clear, we decide to hit the other viewpoint on our list - Sugar Loaf mountain. A couple of misdirected bus routes later and we can buy our extortionate tickets to head to the top. It's not the most frequent of services - we're told to come back in 20mins and 5 minutes later, the cable car is departing. Luckily we make it on. At the first stop, the next cable car doesn't leave for another 20minutes (a real 20mins this time), so we're stuck at the first station wondering how long this whole experience is going to take.

The cablecar itself is a film star - it was in the 007 film Moonraker - remember that visual of Jaws when he realises the cablecar is out of control and is heading right for him! Without wishing to spend too much time here, we squash into the second level cablecar and, within a few seconds, we are whisked to the top. Here the view is even more scattered than at the Corcovado - breaks in the cloud are few and far between and although we devote some time to trying to snap between the mist, we don't want to miss the infrequent journeys down so we only spend 15 mins or so at the top.

Most museums here are only open Monday to Friday and we suddenly realise that one of the ones that we don't want to miss will be closing in a couple of hours so, a short bus trip later and we are at the Museo do Indios.

The museum is renowned for the replicas of indigenous traditional homesteads that have been erected in the grounds and, although the museum is interesting, it doesn't take long to have seen all the exhibits including the traditional houses. Inside the museum, the layout is particularly modern with interactive displays and 'representative' models more suited to those who speak the country's language than to the foreign tourist.

Fran and I then go our separate ways: he heads back to spend some time on the internet and I did a little therapeutic shopping at a couple of the american-style shopping plazas that were nearby.

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