Today I begin a series of stories about my three-week long cruise around the South America visiting Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands, the Antarctic and Chile. For afters, there will be a story about the idols of Easter Island.
It all started in
, where, according to Ostap Bender, everyone wears white pants. Ostap was wrong. Only few people wear pants. The dominant types of cloths are multicolored pants and swimming trunks.
We've spent 3 days before the cruise in Rio, getting acclimatized at the world’s most famous beach
with the most famous Jesus Christ statue on its top and in the end we played football at Maracanã– the world’s biggest stadium. Generally speaking, everything in Brazil is 'the most'. Rio met us with the warm hugs. After the Moscow air temperature of -12 Celsius we faced the local +38 Celsius. The difference was of 50 degrees! After leaving our baggage in a hotel, we crossed the road and joined a crowd of people walking around Copacabana:
This is the Brazilian main beach. People from around the world arrive here to bathe. Along the whole beach, there is a wide boulevard with a separate path for cyclists and runners:
The beach used to be significantly narrower, and the water practically washed this road. The modern path appeared not so long ago and not in a natural way:
My apologies for the photos quality. Rio is quite a criminal city. Poor quarters (which I will tell you later) – favelas are found side by side with the rich ones, including Copacabana. I was strongly recommended not to take my photographic equipment to the beach. So all beach photos have been taken by a compact camera.
Among locals, wander sellers of fruits and water:
As I have mentioned above, it was hot in Rio. The temperature fluctuates from 30 to 40 degrees Celsium in summer and drops to +25 in winter. Sometimes it drops to inordinate +17 and then third of Cariocas are on sick leave with pneumonia.
People outside either wore shorts or were seminude:
A couple of words about favelas. These are stacks of small houses, which cuddle to each other and scramble among the rocks, which is Rio surrounded with:
Nearby they seem to be even worse than from afar:
Favelas are ruled by the local druglords. The police does not intervene. Street thieves recede inside quickly and it is impossible to catch them there:
Despite the poverty, most of favelas are equipped with satellite antennas for watching telenovelas:
Brazilian telenovelas are the third most significant export product after oil and coffee. People from more than 120 countries all around the world enjoy watching the telenovelas. The time stops while the telenovelas are on air. Even important football games start only after the end of the regular episode. There is a huge influence of telenovelas on Brazilians. Two weeks before our arrival there was a scene on Corcovado mount in one of the telenovelas. In this scene a young citizen was showing a cityscape to his heroine, who had arrived from the province. After that, all the population of Brazil rushed to the top in order to copy the scene. Because of a huge jam we have not managed to conquer Corcovado on the first try. We stopped halfway:
An excellent city view opens from here:
The second most famous mount after Corcovado is so-called Sugar Head. Funicular is the only way to reach the top. Magnificent view on Copacabana opens from there. During my last visit to Rio six years ago, I had not managed to reach the top. This time I had a firm goal to conquer the summit:
We climbed Corcovado the next morning. The mount opens at 8 a.m. and we were at the head of the queue. We were not lucky with the weather – the next two days were rainy and cloudy:
At the very top there is a compact ground, where everyone takes photos:
At this point I am interrupting my story. In the next episodes of my Brazilian series you will find a materials about Maracanã – the world’s biggest stadium, about Sambadrome – the carnival stadium with the capacity of 120 000 seats, about Caipirinha – the local cocktail, which reminds mojito, about the lively Samba, about the exotic zoo, about the street football and about the gloomy beach. Stay tuned!