Day 1 :
After calculation, we realize that it costs us exactly the same to go back to Rio by buying ourselves the boat/bus/Uber tickets, as to pay a transfer “boat – minivan with drop-off”, 110 reais/person. So why get tired?
We take a speedboat and then a minivan. The trip lasts a total of 3 hours. The owner of our guesthouse is already waiting for us with a smile on her face. She understands my Portuguese, yes! We have a large studio of 30m2 just for the two of us, with a small kitchen and a small bathroom. Luxury!
In Rio, because of security problems, all buildings with a janitor are protected by a grid like this. A guard is present 24/24, just to open the main door
I call the jazz bar I spotted a week ago(TribOz). I thought they had a show tomorrow (Sunday), but actually no. The only show available before we leave is today, at 9pm. The girl on the phone speaks English and explains us that there are only 2 tiny seats left at the bottom of the stairs, they aren’t real seats, but there will be a small chair as a table for our drinks and food. No problem. If I want so much to go to a jazz bar, it’s because Brazil is the cradle of bossa nova (cross between samba and cool jazz)
We take an Uber to go there. The neighborhood looks bad, with lots of prostitutes in the street. The outside of the bar is banal, but as soon as we enter, we are amazed in front of a chic-tribal decoration. The entrance fee is 30 reais/person, consumption not included. The singer, Alma Thomas, is a regular at the bar, she is American, sings divinely well, speaks Portuguese like a true Brazilian, and masters several types of jazz (blues, bossa nova, bebop). Her drummer is French, and we were able to chat with him (very nice!) I really like the spirit of this bar: one of the owners (Australian) speaks before the concert to insist on the fact that this is a concert, and not a bar with live music. It is therefore forbidden to speak during the concert -> I recommend 100%
If the bar is full, it’s because theAmerican Society almost invaded the room today to celebrate the 100 years of this association. The name sounds very “Illuminati” but it is only a kind of Alliance française abroad
Day 2 :
Today we finally visit the Sugar Loaf Mountain(Pão de Açúcar)
The name Sugar Loaf is said to have appeared in the 16th century at the instigation of the Portuguese. It owes its name to its very peculiar shape evoking the blocks of refined sugar placed in clay moulds to be transported by boat at the time of the sugar cane trade.
We are dropped off by Uber (7 reais in Uber Pool, cheaper than a city bus) in front of the cable car. 76 reais/person later, we take the cable car to the first stop.
The view is just WOOOOOW !!! We are lucky to have a lot of sun, a little wind and a panoramic view without equal. Except the Magic Mountain in Moorea, it is our favorite panorama (click on the pictures to zoom)
The little peak in the distance is Christ!
We take a second cable car (included in the entrance ticket) to go up to the top of the Sugar Loaf. The view is even more spectacular since we can see the Copacabana beach. Yes yes it is exactly like on the postcards, km and km of beaches. From this viewpoint you can see even further and more beaches. Well, the cariocas have a lot to choose from when it comes to paradisiacal beaches. You can see Christ from afar, the sea and the sky are one, it’s beautiful, sublime, unreal!
Day 3, 4 & 5 :
We visit Rio in small doses because it rains intermittently. JB runs along the Copacabana beach every morning, he likes it very much. At one point, a guy stops him by showing him green marks on his shoes and offers to clean them. JB makes him understand that he doesn’t have any money on him. It’s a well known scam on the Copacabana beach. Luckily JB went there with empty pockets. The green traces in question must be paint discreetly deposited by an accomplice, they can be cleaned easily
We can finally afford to go shopping for gifts for our loved ones: Havaianas to be precise. After having collected about fifteen pairs, I realize how much volume this represents. Maybe it’s not such a good idea. The saleswoman has a little smile on her face when she sees us with a basket full of flip-flops. I hope the customs won’t say anything 😀
Edit : the customs will not make any remark, either in Brazil or in France
We have lunch at Mr Fit ‘s super healthy salad bar. I took a wrap made from tapioca powder. It’s a bit weird, but the salad dressing with mustard and honey is super good (note!). On the right is an açai, a kind of smoothie made of açai fruit with banana slices on top. I still can’t get used to this dessert, which is still edible
We take an Uber to go to Praça Quinze . From there we can take a ferry to Praça Arariboia (Niteroi), on the other side of the bay. Both areas are business areas, there are a lot of people who take this ferry to go to work every day. There is a ferry every 20 minutes (5.90 reais/person one way)
In the end, the crossing isn’t that impressive, I expected better, but for the price, we’re not going to cry. To return to Copacabana, we are entitled to big traffic jams. Our driver of Uber is strangely patient. The same one in Paris would have already done a monologue on the traffic in Paris from 4:05 pm to 6:14 pm on odd days; or a three-part essay (yes/no/possibly) on the question “for or against flying cars”
At the supermarket near our guesthouse, I fall on a green papaya ARRhhh! It’s the occasion or never to test the vegan recipe of the Thai som tum (green papaya salad). By replacing the fish sauce by soy sauce (and salt), it’s really very good!
Back to France
That’s it, it’s D-Day. We can’t wait to get back home and spend a few days in France before going to Cuba (and yes, for cost reasons, it’s cheaper to go back to France than to go to Cuba from South America), but on the very day, reality whips us in the face: we’re leaving South America for good, and we don’t know when we’ll be able to come back
It’s the panic that shakes my whole being, which seems paradoxical because for the past few weeks I’ve been suffering from everything: food, insecurity, fatigue… and when it’s time to leave, I wake up all of a sudden thinking “noooo, I don’t want it to stop”
Where is the logic in all this, I ask you! Rio is sad too, it’s raining cats and dogs. We each take a 400g jar of home-made ice cream to spend our last reais before boarding the plane that brings us back to France. When will I be able to taste it again? Maybe never
Goodbye South America, thank you for everything! For all these moments of extreme happiness, as well as moments of distress and suffering. Thank you for all these dream landscapes in front of which I often had eyes full of tears! Thank you for taking us out of our comfort zone, for making us appreciate even more the luck we have, thank you for teaching us to trust life. Thank you!