The area was serviced by a old fashioned tram (Bondhida) until fairly recently. It was closed down following a fatal accident and has yet to re-open (though there is talk of it being brought back sometime – perhaps ahead of the Olympics). The people clearly miss their old tram as the symbol of a tram shedding a tear can be seen regularly around the area. Having visited Lisbon a few years back, I think the tram was similar to the ones that service that city.
As a result of the lack of trams, transport links to the area are average. Buses are OK but for the most part we either walked or got taxis. For me I like using taxi’s in other countries – the old US cars of Cuba, the giant US Taxi Cabs of Manhattan, being able to pay via credit card in the massive Holden’s in Austrailia, or even the bizarre steering wheel through the passenger side of the dashboard in Bolivia – they add to the sense of being in a foreign land.
In Brazil we were mostly driven round in Chevrolet’s. Potentially interesting? Not when you realise that Chevrolet’s are in fact rebadged Vauxhall’s and you are being driven round in a Meriva. Though it was a delightful treat to find airplane style try tables in the back and plenty of upholders.
We packed and left early in a ultimately failed attempt to meet a friend of a friend in a local market in Gloria. We enjoyed the markets anyway and were surprised by the level of food preparation that was on offer – it was almost like an M&S food aisle with pineapples, garlic, mango etc all pre prepared.
From there we stumbled across the finish area of a city run – not sure of the distance but would guess at 10km. Slightly disappointed I didn’t realise it was going ahead as I want to try and do a 10k or 1/2 marathon whilst travelling – but only slightly because the conditions were blisteringly hot.
We carried on to Ipanema beach where on a Sunday they close half the road and it becomes a huge long drag strip of long boards, skateboards, roller skates, bikes, runners, walkers and hoola-hoopers. At some point along the way we ended up being extras in a Salvation Army advert that involved models walking round to music wearing large cardboard boxes with the SA logo and something we didn’t understand in Portuguese on the side! Will have to remember to search YouTube for that in the future.
One thing we noticed about the beach area is that the cariocas (name for the locals) have no body shame. Whether you are slim and toned or big and a bit wobbly it doesn’t matter a jot – g-sting bikini / tight speedos are still the clothing option of choice. It makes for great people watching!
The paper the previous day stated 1000 days until the Olympics, and far less until the World Cup. Whilst Rio is a wonderful, amazing and vibrant city – we will watch with interest to see how it will cope with the massive increase in people trying to get round the city and the country with the current infrastructure. It was a challenge for London and there is no comparison in terms of transport infrastructure.
And that is that for Rio before heading back to the hotel and then on to the airport.
|Cariocas enjoying crazy temperatures at Ipanema|
|Salvation Army advert being filmed|