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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Brazil - 8 February, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Campsite, Paraty S2313.128' W04443.327' 8 m
Finish Marriott Hotel, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro S2258.360' W04311.113' 5 m 240 km

Leg 2 Total:

11,999 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

21,780 km

 

Weather: Cloudy, very hot and humid.

 

 

We are excited that today we will be heading into Rio de Janeiro for about 5 days of total chaos and craziness during Carnival.  But first we have some work to do.  We need to clean out the truck and get it ready for the next group.  We do not think we should be doing this morning (yesterday would have been better), but we got it to do, so we take care of.  It takes a bit over 2 hours, and then we are ready to go.

 

It is about a 5 hour drive north along the coast and we pull up outside the hotel just before 4 PM.  We take some time to unload all our stuff from the truck - we have to make sure that we do not forget anything.  Jacqui and Lars, however, will not be staying at the Dragoman hotel in Lapa (a bit of a red light district), but rather at the Marriott Hotel on Copacabana Beach, thanks to brother Carl who gave us the five nights as a gift (many thanks, Carl!!).  We find a taxi big enough for our stuff and head over to Copacabana.  We arrive at the hotel and check in and put all our stuff into the room.

 

But we do not have time to rest.  Many shops close over Carnival, so we have to run out and do some shopping and see if we can find a cambio.  We take about one and a half hours to buy parts of our outfit for the ball tonight - more on that later.  We also find a cambio that will be open tomorrow.  Finally, we get a few days supply of water.

 

Back at the hotel, we drop off our stuff and then head up to the Executive Lounge for snacks and a few drinks.  The lounge is on the 19th floor and they have some great staff.  We have a few drinks and something to eat.  There is a wonderful view of the beach and they even have a telescope up there.  We will be spending some time here everyday.

 

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After a short nap in the hotel, we get ready to go out tonight.  We will be going to the Red and Black Ball at Scala.  It is one of the famous balls (and events) at carnival.  We leave at 11 PM (everything starts late here) and head over to Ipanema where we meet up with some of the group for a bite to eat.  Just after midnight we head over to Scala taking some taxis.  We ask the driver to start the meter and when he does not do that, ask him how much it will cost.  He says the same as the other taxi that our friends are taking.  I tell him if it is above a certain amount, he can forget it.  Once there he asks for an outrageous amount, Lars offers him a reasonable amount, which he then refuses.  So we just walk off - we hate being ripped off.  Once at the Scala, there is a huge crowd, but we are able to get to the ticket window, where we buy our tickets to go to the ball.  We then head into the club.

 

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Scala is a huge club that is used during Carnival to hold a number of balls and events.  For the Red and Black Ball, all guests are meant to dress up in red and black.  Lars is wearing black pants and shirt, with a red wig and Jacqui is wearing a very sexy black dress with red fish net stockings.  As we discover, we are dressed very modestly.

 

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The place is packed and it continues to get fuller and fuller all the time.  People are there to have fun and it is a great time.  People are in various states of undress and many are dancing on the tables to the samba music being blared out by the band on the stage.  Walking through the crowd can be difficult, in particular for the women.  Many guys seem to think it is open season on groping any women that walks by.  Lars has his work cut out for him swatting away all the hands that are reaching for Jacqui and some of the other women with us.  At one point, as one guy is reaching out, Lars trips over someone else's foot and his knee goes up and hits the guy reaching out in the groin.  While it was an accident, it was well deserved.  He was quite surprised and backed off.

 

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We would wander around a bit and then find a spot to watch the crowds.  The costumes that some people were wearing were amazing (but it is nothing compared to what we will see later on).  Most people are very open to having their photo taken.  It is a crazy place.

 

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At around 4 AM, we head back to the hotel and to bed.  What a start to Carnival.

 

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