October 20, 2012
We arrived in Rio and took a taxi to Samantha's friend Sylvias place. She lives in Leblon which was a nice upscale area a few blocks from the beach. We were so hungry from the bus ride that we immediately grabbed some breakfast at 8am. Steve and I were still on our "we want something authentic from Brazil kick" so we ordered Acai berry drinks and some fried sandwiches. I have a feeling that the novelty of "trying" authentic Brazilian food will wear off soon. It is comedically feeling equivilant to someone coming to the middle america and wanting an authentic experience of hamburgers, fast food, super sized drinks and chain restaurants Or someone coming to Santa Monica and wanting to try every type of vegan cheeseburger, coconut water and power yoga studio. But it is fun and we are defiantly trying new things.
The Climb:We packed up our climbing gear and took a cab to Corcavado to climb a rock route called K2 that tops out at the base of Christo - which is the giant Christ figure towering over Rio. The route is rated 5.9 but somehow I ended up having to pull 5.10+ moves with factor 2 fall potential. I guess I need to get a little more comfortable with route finding when there are 3 bolts for a 35 meter pitch. But minus the occasional skipped heart beats and confusion it was a stellar climb. You get 100 feet off the deck pulling a bolted 5.9 lieback during the first pitch and the entire city opens up below your feet. The higher you get, the better the views. Five pitches of thought provoking climbing including a "Christ Move" where you do a static reach of your entire wingspan to a hold out right, then pull yourself up. The climb tops out at the base of the statue and you are awaiting by hundreds of tourists in bewilderment. You jump over the guard railing that separates them from the cliff and you can hear all of their awes. Questions poured out in every language, photos were taken and we felt like true celebrities. We had made out entrance To add a little more drama to the situation, I jumped on top of the guard rail above the crowd, turned away to the city and spread my arms directly out to the side in triumph. The crowd almost instantaneously gasped. Was it shock, disdain, appreciation or bewilderment, I guess I'll never know, but soon a security guard was walking towards me and I decided that I should get my feet back on the ground. We watched the Sunset from the perch of Christo high in the hills and took a tram down.
A video from YouTube of another group on the same climb
Losing my Camera:
I somehow lost my camera in the mix of jumping in the cab and arriving back home. I think that Steve and Samantha were more bumbed than I was because it had some amazing photos taken of them during the climb. I was pretty sad for about a half hour until I tried to find the lesson in the event. I loose everything. My wallet, phone and camera have been the most frequently lost items. I lost my Iphone in Peru and downgraded to a flip phone to escape the luring trap of always being connect. So losing my camera in Brazil must mean something. I dug deep and it came to me. During this trip I have had a hard time living in the moment. I almost want to experience a day so that I could go home at night and enter the events of the day into my blog. Having the camera was a component of that. Always having pictures easily accessible and ready to upload to "complete" my entry. I need to let go of that; just get out there and live life for myself. Heres a shot from Steves camera of the last photo sunset I had on my camera.
Samba Club:We came home and napped for five or ten minutes and showered up in time to get an early 9pm dinner at a locals samba club. It was a 20 minute cab ride far from any tourist area in Rio at a port town. There was a band ensemble playing live salsa music and the entire club was alive with 18 year olds upto 70 year olds dancing their hearts out. Steve and I were the only tourists and the only ones who spoke English. There were probably about 10 males and 60 females there and most of the time we were the only males on the dance floor. We were getting a lot of attention and I wasn't sure that it was positive as my "sprinkler" "shopping cart" and "lawnmower" dance moves from the 80s may have been a little counter culture for the strict rules of samba. Which to me seems likes the dance is a mini version of the "C walk" done as fast as humanly possible. But the club was super fun and I left feeling like I had just ran 5 miles.
October 21, 2012
|Dinner at the club befor ethe dancing|
Steve and I decided to walk the stretch from Liblon to Cococabana beach, which took about two hours. Along the way we stopped to drink coconuts, wondered the prevalence of back pain in Brazil because of their big asses, watch a form a soccer/volleyball, shoot some tourist photos and just take it all in. We decided to get in a beach workout and run back to the hostel and do some pushups and pullups. Rio felt just like Santa Monica. It was the same, but different. Different people, culture and ocean but same general feel of an upscale tourist beach town.
Steve and I grabbed some dinner and attempted to make some plans for the rest of our trip. We were planning on grabbing some beers and having them on the beach. As we were leaving the convenient shop, we saw lightning and thunder. A few minutes later, we were in a torrential downpour We escaped to a local bar and stuck up a few hours of conversation with some Norwegians before the rain stopped and we headed back to the hostel for some much needed sleep.
|The typical lunch from the beach vendors. Coconut, Shrimp and Fritas|
Hang Gliding:We started the day with a bang. There is an amazing mountain plateau that is visible from town where they launch hang gliders. So we decided to book a flight. We arrived excited to jump and were shuttled by taxi to the top of the platform. I had an idea to take hang gliding one step further and before I got into the harness, I asked the instructor if I could do it naked. I told him it had always been a dream of mine and that he need not to worry because I like women. Surprisingly with no reluctance and all, he agreed and I was immediately bare assed and thrown into a harness. It was quite funny to much of the staff and locals as they laughed and cheered. We ran together off the platform, the wind lifted us into the air and we soared over Rio. After a few minutes, he gave me the controls and I was able to make small turns by shifting my bodyweight. We then landed hearing cheers as the locals saw my bare ass pass by and land on the beach. Several people approached me for photos and I was a mini celebrity for the day. We got some photos and then shot back to the hostel in a taxi.
|In the air|
|After the flight|
Sugar Loaf at Sunset:Another one of the incredible sited in brazil is sugar loaf. It is a towering granite monolith that has incredible 360 views of the entire city. There are many technical climbing routes on the load as well as a gondola that takes you to the top. We decided to take a city bus to a neighboring rock called Urca, where you can pick up the cable gondola at a midpoint. After some broken Porteguesse with the bus driver and some locals, we found our way to the base of Urca. There was a wonderful 30 minute hike to the top and we caught a cable car over to sugarloaf just before sunset. The views were incredible and I tried to soak it all in and be less trigger happy with the camera. We shared a bromantic beer on top and then headed back down.
Brazilian Band Concert and Dance:We linked up with Kaya, one of the girls at the bar that we were stuck in during the storm and one of her friends and headed to Baja, which is a 30 minute drive from Rio. Turns out that we were very lucky and there was a concert with one of the biggest brazilian bands at a dance club. Steve and I were the only white and English speaking people at the club. But both Kaya and her friend speak Portuguese so they took care of the logistics of getting in. The dance club was an amazing site. The layout was like a stadium with multiple floors facing into the band. Entrance was local prices of 15 dollars and beers were 2.50. The entire stadium was erupting with Brazilians dancing every which direction in every style imaginable. We stayed until 4am as we made our way into a VIP area directly over the band. A few minutes before the last song ended, we escaped to a cab and headed back home. Defiantly an authentic experience unlike any I have had before.
|Baja Music Concert|
|Inside the concert|