Thursday, April 17, 2008
We woke up and it was partly cloudy, which was nice because we had heard it might be raining, and we were hoping to do hang gliding this morning. We had breakfast, and then were on our way to hang gliding, albeit a little late. There was an accident somewhere, so our driver picked us up at 10. We drove around in some traffic, then picked up another passenger/victim, Stephanie from the UK. From her hotel in Ipanema, we drove to Sao Conrado, which took quite a bit of time because of unusual traffic.
We got there around 11, at which point we were greeted by Ruy and Marcelo, who would be our pilots. They told us a fair amount of stuff, but 99% of the time was spent on "run, run, run" for getting off the platform. Ruy started this almost 25 years ago, and has done over 19,000 jumps. We signed our life away, then did the last part of the drive, straight up a hill. Justin almost got injured hopping out of the car, because it started to move as he was getting out. We got some more instruction, then it was time to go.
Justin went first, and didn't have enough time to get nervous, so he just went. Crystal went 3-5 minutes later. Justin was fine about 10 seconds after jumping off, whereas Crystal's problem was more with all the dips and turns during the ride making her stomach churn. We flew over the forest and ocean for several minutes, then landed. Justin landed first, then got footage of Crystal on her land. Ruy planned to have he and Crystal land right next to Justin, but Crystal landed on her knees as opposed to her feet. At the bottom, we got some water, and waited for them to finish our pictures and videos that they took.
The ride back was quite long, again because of traffic.
We had right at an hour to eat before leaving on our afternoon excursion. At lunch, we noted that Christ the Redeemer was relatively clear, and hoped it would stay that way. We drove over to the tram, and then took the tram up. About 3/4 of the way up, we entered a cloud. At the top, we waited for the cloud to clear, but it never did. We waited 30-45 minutes, and while the statue got a little clearer here and there, we really couldn't see a thing. We finally gave up, then took the train down.
From there, we drove over to Sugar Loaf. At the bottom, we noted it was clear, but by the time we got to the middle station it was windier and there were some clouds. Also at the middle station, we saw some sort of monkey chewng on a fruit tree. At the top it was cloudy again, although at least this time there were periods where we could see Copacabana and the bay. We headed back down after the sun went down, then went back to the hotel. On the way down the funicular, Crystal noted it was clear atop Corcovado - Murphy's law we guess. We were back in the hotel long enough to clean up and change, and then we went to dinner.
It was another rodizio, but this time it was included in our tour. We ate with Vinny, who told us about his family and his career in travel. The food was good, although not nearly as good as at Marius. From there we went to the beach for a minute, then to a show at Plataforma, which was a samba show with other dances and singing.
It was good, but the crowd was mostly empty and it affected the show since a lot of audience participation wasn't there. We should have traded audiences with the Tango show from Buenos Aires - the noise here would not have been an issue. We got out at 11:30, and got back right around midnight. We were exhausted, and went straight to sleep.