Wednesday, April 16, 2008
We got up at 4:00 in the morning, because our car was set to depart at 4:30. They had prepared a couple of snacks for us to eat on the way. We checked out, and then headed back on the long drive to the airport, reminiscent of our long drive from Torres del Paine to Punta Arenas. We had a hard time getting to sleep until we got off the dirt road onto the paved road.
Check-in at the airport was easy, and again our bags were checked through to our final destination, in this case Rio de Janeiro. We went to a different airport in Sao Paulo, CGH instead of GRU. We're not sure why, since both times we went to Sao Paulo we were coming from one Brazilian city and leaving for another. We think this must have been the airport where there was an accident a couple months back, because when we landed the pilot slammed on the brakes - the runway did not seem very long at all. We didn't have a long layover, and were soon on the plane to Rio.
There were clouds everywhere, so we didn't get that good a view of the city until right when we were landing. It was before rush hour, and we landed at the domestic airport (in the city), so the ride from the airport to the hotel was 10 minutes. Our guide, Vinny (short for Venilton), was very good, probably one of the best we have had on any of our trips. He gave us a ton of information, made dinner reservations for us, and attempted to move around our scheduled events so that we would have the most free time on Friday.
The view from our room was spectacular - we had a room on the 18th floor overlooking Copacabana beach, with a balcony. After checking in, we just walked down the beach south towards Ipanema. We got to Arpoador, a little hill that separates Copacabana from Ipanema, and took some photos of the sunset. There was a cute French bulldog running around the beach in that area. We walked back mostly the same way, getting back in time to change before dinner.
For dinner, we walked north along the beach to Marius, a meat joint (churrascaria). We had heard many good things, and it did not disappoint. The ribeye, the T-bone, the sausages, the chicken - they all were extremely good. We were a little surprised by the décor and the costumes - it was like a Pirates of the Caribbean theme. Somehow we willed ourselves to walk back to the hotel (rather than catch a cab). We quickly fell asleep.