Arrived at Rio airport and waited 25 mins to get a taxi; because taxis were in short supply… Never mind, arrived at the hotel safely.
Rio is a place of huge contrast between the haves and the have-nots. At the hotel, we had a great view of the Ipanema and LeBlon beaches; but at the back of the hotel was the Vidigal Favela, built on a very steep monolithic rock formation.. But in general, I found that people here are happy, content and have a good outlook on life to enjoy it.
Went for dinner the first night to Rua Diaz Ferreira; which is lined up with restaurants and bars that are popular (hip-hop) within this well off neighborhood. Stopped at a Thai restaurant that was recommended. Wait was 20 mins (small place), so decided to take a walk along this street.
Came across multiple restaurants and bars; some of which had a huge crowd outside, waiting to get in. But the crowd got served drinks and snacks while waiting; they were running up a tab while waiting outside the restaurant! What a great way to expand the business.
Met a group of Italians who had been working in Rio on Hydro-electric power dams for the past 3 years. Nice group that bought us drinks while we chatted.
Back at the Thai restaurant, we had our meal over the next 2 hours;
It’s taking me some time to slow down 🙂 . The food was good.
Next day, we got up late and so decided to go for brunch to the Forte De Copacabana; which is an old fort from the Portuguese times to protect the colony from invaders. This is now a museum, and has 3 nice outdoor restaurants on the bay; with a great view of Copacabana beach.
After visiting the museum and having a great lunch at Café 18 do Forte, decided to walk along the famous Copacabana beach. We had been warned by several people to be careful there with cameras, jewelry etc. So only took the camera and essential items; well concealed.
Contrary to popular belief, not all the women on Copacabana beach were like the ones pictured here; a little note to all the men salivating out there 🙂 🙂 who have bothered to read this far.
We also saw a Drag Queen on the beach having pictures taken of him/her.
We had been warned not to wander into Copacabana from the beach for safety reasons, but we walked inland to catch a local bus instead of taxis we had used exclusively up till now.
We found that the streets 2-5 blocks inland from the beach in Copacabana were actually very lively with cafes, shops, restaurants and bars that were all well patronized with friendly locals. Felt safe so we ventured along, stopping at a café for coffee and pastries. Then picked up bus # 177 we had been told would take us all the way to our hotel, and for just over $1 each, it certainly did that. Safe too.
That evening, we decide to go for dinner at a local restaurant in Copacabana. Arrived and settled into this empty place, a little worried about how good it actually was. The waiter was very friendly and went out of his way to welcome us and make us feel good. Most restaurants here have 2 prices for meals; one for 1 person, and one for 2 people sharing (larger meal). So decide to have the a salad, and Filet Minion which was advertised for R$52 for 2 people. Most meals here come with a staple of rice, beans, and fries., as did this one.
So after a beer and a Caipirinha, which were served with a dish of diced onions, diced tomatoes to which the waiter then added salt, olive oil and vinegar and mixed it up. Good drink food. Steak arrived and it was actually quite good. Steaks here are not served thick like in the US; they are actually about 0.5+” thick and so cook quickly. Shortly after we arrived (9PM), the place filled up, so I guess we were early.
Walked around Copacabana town, enjoying the ambience and lively street restaurants and patios; and caught a bus back to the hotel.
Sightseeing Rio next………..