Saturday 1st August

It’s stopped raining, sun’s out, pools being cleaned – good sign.

Went to Rio on the Barra Express presided over by a middle-aged, heavily made up conductress sitting halfway down the bus in a raised seat, with bizarrely, a turnstile in the middle of the aisle. We were issued with 2 credit card style tickets that would see us through the subway system. However I didn’t check the tickets and at the subway station one of the cards turned out to be a fake and we had to buy a new ticket – conductress must have a neat sideline, well I daresay it keeps her in eye liner.

So the trip started badly and as we had been advised not to be seen with maps we wandered into the city without much idea of where we were going – stopping and fishing out maps in furtive manner, then stuffing them back in bag and forgetting instantly which way the museums were. the city was very empty for a Saturday afternoon, few shops to be seen, and those there were shut. No cafes to watch the world go by either, must be in the wrong part of town. Found the Episcopalian cathedral (very austere) while looking for the Catholic one.

Episcopalian cathedral

but it did have an amusing bronze in the grounds – a preacher with congregation

Episcopalian bronze

yes, I am hiding in the


Thought we’d go to a museum but still hamstrung by having to squirrel away the map, and strangely we have different interpretations of what we saw 5 minutes previously … sign-posting is almost non-existent but we eventually saw one for the Museum Bondes, which I took to mean slavery (my Portuguese isn’t improving). After spotting the odd sign we still seemed to have disappeared up a blind alley, and were about to give up and then we saw a peculiar narrow gauge track in a garden which appeared to go nowhere. And there was a queue – (Filo in Portuguese which I thought was pastry) – so we did what the Brits do best and we joined it. After a while an old yellow tram circa 1884, trundled into the garden absolutely packed with people hanging off the sides.


precarious ride

The filo was long so we didn’t get on the first one, mainly because we didn’t want to hang on the side – very relieved when I saw this precarious route over a square, just shut my eyes. the running board was very narrow so anyone who hung on the side had to have strong arms – it rattles and shakes across the void and up a hill, jerking to a stop for all sorts of reasons, very hairy, lots of cars and coaches using the same road and it’s tiny. Buses are overtaking to the point where I guy hanging on next to us only missed being swiped in the face by the side mirror by ducking – great reflexes but he was very angry. Distant views of Christ the Redeemer statue, it’s going to take a separate trip to see that – it’s a way out. (from far away looks a bit like the Angel of the North only higher) We didn’t get off in Santa Teresa, although it looked great, very bohemian, but it was taking so long to get to the top we decided to stay on because we had to get back to Barra before dark (about 6pm). So off the tram and walked to the harbour area, not very interesting, end of a flea market – missed that – still looking for a cafe, none to be had. Needed a wee to had to stop in a Macdonalds – yeah I know, first for everything – horrid!

stopped on the way to get crisps, peanuts, tonic – all the essentials, and sat in the dark on the balcony drinking our G & Ts. Bravedthe 10 lane highway to get to a food mall and street after street of restaurants and eateries, surprising number of Japanese places.