I’m falling / Safely to the Ground. So what use is it to go all the way up to visit the Christo Redemptor? Since it is a tourist magnet and I swallowed some tourist iron, I walked to the entrance gate of the tramway that comforably takes you up the 700 m hill that is crowned with the stretched-out giant, “gazing placidly” over the city, as the Lonely Planet has it. I don’t like the guidebook language, it’s sterile, impotent, without rigour, it makes me forget that I’m alive. Guidebooks offer “one thousand places to visit before you die” as a substitute so you can feel alive a little. I have better recipes. The line for the Christo would last two hours. I decided not to go. On my way to the Christo I had to pass the Ben Gurion square anyway. I’m not much of a Catholic.
So I walked back and took a bus to Ipanema. Ipanema! Te, tuh duh, tuh de, tuh tuh duh. It felt great! The beach was nice, I could take good pictures there. Didn’t swim. Ate a hotdog and drank a can of mango juice. But I’ve been in Ipanema, they can’t take that away from me. The birds were fascinating. They roam the airspace above the thriving city, and remind me of how it must have been before civilization: a beautiful green valley between the high hills. I decided to walk the boulevard all the way to Copacabana to see that too. It was nice.
After that, I took a bus to Urca in order to get up the Sugar Loaf mountain. If I have any followers: this excursion is great and worth the 44 R$. A cable car takes you up the first hill where you can walk around as long as you please. You’ll see the helicopter platform (note for Gerrit: cheapest offer 150 R$ for 3-4 minutes to the Christo and back, most expensive offer 850 R$ for 60 minutes all over Rio) There are cute little monkeys that you are not allowed to feed but you’ll see tourists feeding them bananas in order to lure them into the range of their protruding camera lenses. Another cable car takes you up to the actual Sugar Loaf mountain, from where you have the greatest view of Rio, as the guidebooks say. I was glad I skipped the Christo. This view was just amazing. I took a lot of pictures which you are of course free to browse on Picasa.
I got back and cooked some Dutch dinner (Andijviestamppot. Do not try to pronounce if you’re not Dutch). Another good night in the hammock.