Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rio De Janeiro, Brasil

Sun 9 July - Fri  14 July 2013

I'm thankful to be given the opportunity to visit Rio De Janeiro, Brasil for a business trip. Travelling time took us almost 24 hours! We flew from KL - Dubai for about 6.5 hours, then from Dubai - Rio for another 13 hours, both section via Emirates. Transit time in Dubai was another 2 hours.

Although the trip was for a week, I managed to only go to Mount Corcovado where the Cristo Redentor (or Christ the Redeemer) is situated; and Sugarloaf Mountain (or Pao De Acucar) where Rio's magnificent  geographical landscape can be viewed. Both are one of Unesco's World Heritage site, at no. 1100

A bit of the facts taken from Unesco World Heritage Site:
The city of Rio de Janeiro, shaped by interaction with mountains and sea, lies in the narrow strip of alluvial plain between Guanabara Bay (Baía de Guanabara) and the Atlantic Ocean. Its exceptionally dramatic landscape is punctuated by a series of forested mountains that tower over the city, rising to the uppermost peak of the Tijuca massif at 1,021 m high, and cascading down to the coast where the steep cone shapes of Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açúcar), Urca, Cara de Cão and Corcovado frame the wide sweeps of Guanabara Bay that shelters Rio de Janeiro from the Atlantic Ocean.

Myself and another team member, Harrick (the others have already been there) made our way to Corcovado immediately after checking in our hotel at 4pm. Luckily, Corcovado isn't so far away, so it just took us about 10 minutes. Since we called for the taxi from our hotel, it was more expensive than hailing it; cost us Brazilian Real (BRL) 53 or RM76. Entrance fee with tram is BRL 43 or RM61.50 We took the tram up there (similar to Penang Hill's tram) at 4.45pm, just in time to view the beautiful landscape at sunset at about 5.30pm

Actually the statue is huge

view from Corcovado mountain

the tram

tram stops

For Sugarloaf Mountain, I took off a bit of time from office on the last day to go for a bit of sightseeing. I was alone, since everyone in the team had been there. I gamely took the taxi from our hotel in Mariott, cost about BRL 23 or RM33 one way. Entrance fee is BRL 53 or RM 76.  Opens at 8am. I was already waiting there since 7.45am


view from Sugarloaf mountain

Sugarloaf mountain

Since I was alone, I made friends with a few other fellow tourists and offered to take photos for them. Then in return, they offered to take mine. So all was fine :)

First couple was Thayla and her husband Marco, from the capital of Brazil - Brasilia. Yes, Rio is not the capital. Both speak perfet English. Most Brazilians don't. They'd speak Portuguese with me, and we'd and up not understanding each other, but just laughed it off. It was all good natured. Most didn't know where Malaysia is, but when Singapore was mentioned ("Singapura"), they immediately know.

The second couple was Ana and Maynon from El Salvador, a country near to Mexico. Ana didn't speak English, but Maynon did. So I mostly communicated with Maynon.

I'm going to digress a bit. There were a few funny incidents:
First was when Harrick, Jacyln and I went to McD, Harrick wanted to buy a set, but due to the language barrier, he was given a la carte instead. And they wished him Arigato, assuming any oriental looking person would originate from Japan. Lol!

Second was when Jacyln and I went to a pharmacy, and Jacyln wanted to ask for the price of a medicine. She was brought into the store manager's office and she used google translator to know what we were looking for.

Another one was when all of us were going back from dinner at a restaurant, someone greeted us with Ni Hao? Probably he saw the Chinese in the group. But then again, we were multi-racial and multi-national- there were Malaysian Chinese, Malay and Indian and India Indian and Colombians.

Oh as for the Colombians, they spoke Spanish with the Brazilians, but the Brazilians spoke back in Portuguese. Still they understood each other.

with Thayla
With Ana
On the return journey in the cable car, I was approached by this little girl (but forgot her name) who wanted to take a picture with me (probably because of the veil). She spoke English, but her mother didn't. I did remember her sister's name though - Emanuelle.

with Emanuelle's sister

We stayed by the Copacabana beach (there's also a song of the place) at JW Mariott. Although it is a Mariott chain, it is not on par as the one in Malaysia, although the room rate is more expensive (BRL 704 + 15% tax = about BRL 809.6 or RM 1157 per night ! for ocean view, without breakfast)

that tallest building is JW Mariott

the room

beach view from my room
rooftop swimming pool

The pavement by the Copacabana beach has a unique 'wave design' (each beach in Rio has their own distinctive pavement design). There are stalls and a flea market (similar to our pasar malam) located along the promenade. It was possible to make credit card transaction at some of the stalls

Copacabana wave pattern - taken from Wikipedia

pasar malam
F&B stalls along the promenade

It was a unique experience, being in South America for the first time, and celebrating Ramadhan for a few days there. Fasting wasn't that difficult as the weather was very pleasant at around 18 deg C, since Rio is in the southern hemisphere, and it is now July, so it is now "winter". Because of its geographic situation, the city is often reached, especially during autumn and winter, by cold fronts advancing from Antarctica (taken from Wikipedia). Subuh (or dawn) is at 5.15am, while Maghrib (breaking of fast time or dusk) is at 5.30pm, I was fasting for about 12 hours only, compared to Malaysia for 13.5 hours. Since it was "winter" the sea was quite chilly so I didn't see anyone swimming at all. I opted to just walk by the beach.

fishing at Copacabana

Otw to office -Botafogo football club

Otw to office - Copacabana Palace

Can rent bikes

otw to office- Sugarloaf
in front of office

One thing I didn't really enjoy was the food - they were too salty for me. Nevertheless, experiencing it is more important.
One of the Brazilian dish - tapioca flour. Eaten with beans stew

Beans stew

We went to a restaurant - Siquera Grill which served buffet food measured by weight - regardless they are vegetable, poultry or seafood. It was too salty for me too. Luckily I had some appertizer for berbuka at the hotel lounge, courtesy of Jacy. Thanks Jacy!

hotel lounge
beach view from hotel lounge

my vege food

cost me BRL 17.86 or RM 25.50

The final day we went to an Italian restaurant - La Trattoria. It was also so-so. Each dish cost us about BRL 25 or RM 36. Mine was the aglio olio.

Aglio olio

spaghetti bolognese. But Harrick couldn't find his meat in there

Chicken risotto



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