Rio de Janeiro

Posted at 13:37:46, 22/12/2004

Tuesday 21st December 2004, 9:30am, Patricia's house, Rio de Janeiro

While we're in Rio we've been staying with Patricia who, like many young Brazilians, lives with her mum because the nice housing is so expensive. Patricia is working as a producer for a smal Brazilian film company run by directors Jose Padilha and Marcos Prado. We've spent most of our time here hanging out with Patricia and her girlfriend, Bianca (between the two of them, they make the cutest couple I've ever seen!). Bianca is an actress who recently finished filming the movie "Os Anjos do Sol" ("Angels of the Sun") and who is about to star in a big Brazilian soap opera! I feel like I'm hanging out with the stars here!

After the beach on Saturday, Bianca picked us up and drove us to an amazing seafood restaurant about 40 mins down the coast from Rio. There must have been about 20 or 30 little dishes to try with the three courses they served us, and it was a struggle to walk back to the car afterwards because we'd eaten so much! We went to a party in the evening, but it was quite quiet so we didn't stay for long.

Everyone had a very long lie-in on Sunday morning and then Patricia took us to a "hippy market", a (yet another!) arts and crafts market. Back at the flat, Lorna and I made the most of the first TV we've had to ourselves for the whole trip by watching 5 episodes of The League of Gentlemen. We then watched Bus 174, a film documentary made by the company that Patricia works for and a true story of a bus hijacking in Rio in 2000. The film is excellent and provides a scary insight into the social problems of this colourful but violent city.

We met Patricia for lunch yesterday and then spend the afternoon in the Botanical Gardens, which gave Lorna the chance to show off her knowledge of plants! The gardens are huge and fascinating and one visit doesn't really do them justice. In the evening Patricia took us along to her work's Christmas drinks in a bar/restaurant just down the road from where the hijacking of Bus 174 took place. We were lucky enough to meet Marcus Prado, the producer of Bus 174, who insisted on paying for our dinner!

Wednesday 22nd December 2004, 10:20am, Patricia's house, Rio de Janeiro

After lots of faffing around trying to get Lorna's cash card to work yesterday morning, we got a taxi to the bottom of Corcovado, the mountain that dominates the Rio skyline with its huge statue of Christ the Redeemer on top. We got a rattley train filled with very loud and happy Brazilian school kids to the top. When we arrived you couldn't even see the head of the 30m high statue because of the thick cloud. Soon afterwards the cloud cleared from the statue and we also got intermittent views of the city through the swirling cloud.

Its out last day in Rio de Janeiro today, and in fact our last day in South America as we start the long journing home this evening. With a combination of having to go via New York and the National Express coach from Heathrow, the journey will take around 40 hours and I'll get to my mum's in Skipton at about 7am on Friday... with a bit of luck!

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