Happy Birthday to Charlotte today! I took a lot of stick for saying it was her 58th! I do of course jest, as as we all know it’s only her 57th! But she looks fabulously gorgeous I think we all agree! I let Charlotte have a lay in as I went for my first run since arriving here. I was out before 8am while it was still only 30 degrees!! My god! It was incredibly difficult! The heat and the humidity destroyed me and I managed a pathetic 3 miles at 10 minutes per mile! At one stage I was actually thinking to myself “I wonder if it’s the altitude?” But then looked to my right and realised I was approximately 30 cm above sea level!!!! Not that then! Still, very enjoyable, and there’s a superb bike/running track all along the 4km of Copacabana beach. It was great to see so many people out running, young and old, and also encouraging to see that very few were actually going any faster than me! You can imagine that my sweating tripled, if at all possible! In fact at one stage I think I evaporated into a hazy cloud of mist!
Later in the morning we successfully negotiated the Rio underground, and I even managed to buy two travel cards using only Portuguese! Really, it’s a piece of piss this language malarkey!
Next up was Sugar Loaf Mountain. Now, people who know me may know about my debilitating fear of heights. (Considering my hobbies include climbing, skiing, trekking in mountains etc, this is ridiculous). But I’d actually been worrying about this for some time. However, I’m determined that none of my irrational foibles are going to stop me doing anything on this trip. So with teeth gritted, up we went. Everyone in the cable car was looking at the views I was the only one staring at my feet. With my eyes closed! But once up there, it was amazing! Incredible views for miles around, and only 39 degrees! Definitely a must for anyone coming here. This was where Bond fought on the top of the cable car with Jaws in Moonraker. I’m sure I heard people looking at me and whispering to their partners “is zat ze Englishman Signor Bond, si?” Honest.
We followed this with a meal at a restaurant on the nearby beach that had been recommended to us, and once again we were blown away by the superb food at low prices. Charlotte had a huge salad with strips of sirloin on top, and I had a huge sirloin with the trimmings. Washed down with a couple of large bottles of Heinekin, this came to £25! Including service which is always put on at 10%, saving any issues about what to tip (take note thieving New York restaurants). And at the foot of one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world! I’m constantly amazed! I’m still getting a kick out of going to the local shop with £5 for a couple of beers and 20 Marlboro and leaving with £2 change! Very civilised!
Following the meal we slobbed out on the beach for a few hours, then walked around the bottom of Sugar Loaf, where for the first time in my life I saw monkeys in the wild! Lovely little monkeys scampering around the trees just a couple of feet above us!
Back to the apartment by underground again (fridge-like air conditioned carriages, luxury), and we arrived absolutely shattered after another top day!
Tomorrow sees us on a favela (slum) tour. I don’t feel particularly good about this as someone is making money out of other people’s poverty (Has anyone started Rotherham tours yet?), but it’s part of a package we’ve paid for so off we go!
Take care everybody!!!!!