Today we had free day on our own, so we slept in a bit, and then went down for breakfast. Because we had the problem with water dripping from our ceiling yesterday, the hotel gave us two certificates for free 30 minute massages. I jumped right on the chance and set up an appointment for 10 AM. It was very nice with scented oils, hot towels, and soothing music. Later in the day the management also sent up a bowl of fresh fruit, and Lois had her massage at 3 PM. She relaxed enough that she dozed off.
After my massage, we planned to take the subway to Ipanema. The ride takes about ten minutes. Whenever you are in a new city, it takes a little trial and error to figure out how the metro system works. In a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, it can be a little more difficult. We talked to the hotel concierge beforehand to find out where the nearest station was, and where we should get off. When we first arrived to go through the turnstiles, we tried to buy our tickets. Instead of taking our money, the ticket seller punched in the number 65 into her calculator, and held it up for us to see. She then pointed across the room. We figured we were supposed to go see another woman. When we got to her, she pointed to a sign in Portuguese. We looked at it and figured out that we could get discounts for being senior citizens. We showed her our ID’s and she indicated that we could ride for FREE! The subway was clean and the cars were standing room only. But everyone was polite and in both directions, a woman heard us speaking English and befriended us. Apparently, Brazilian senior citizens have special IDs with a bar code that gets them on the train, but for us, simply showing our passport copies was sufficient. By the way, each train has a special car for just for females!
The beach at Ipanema is much smaller than the one at Copacabana. Because it was windy and cool, no one was laying out, but there was an instructor giving a pickleball lesson, and another guy giving a private volleyball lesson. Yesterday was Sunday so there were many more people out on the promenades, and we watched a beach soccer match between two teams of 8 – 10 year old boys complete with uniforms and a referee. We also watched some young men playing volleyball with a special rule – no hands! You had to either kick the ball or hit it with your head – i.e. soccer rules. It was obviously not the first time these guys had done that. The swimsuits that many women wear are often thong style bikinis, even when they have bodies which would make a more modest suit a better choice.
Today it was about 73 degrees, so the weather has been quite pleasant. Tomorrow we leave early to catch our flights to the Pantanal. We expect the weather to be warmer and more humid there. We will probably have internet, but it may be pretty slow so I don’t know how many photos I will be able to post.