Monday, December 27, 2010

Things to do in Rio

After our first sleep in Rio, we decided (semi required) to spend the day on the beach since everything else was closed for Christmas. It was quite a lovely day to spend at the beach too! Hot, sunny and not a cloud in the sky (well, ok maybe a few, but they were way off in the distance). We rented a parasol umbrella for only $1.80, and it was the best money I ever spent! I can only imagine how red I would be now without it. We ended up spending about 3 hours on Impanema beach, which according to reports is a better beach than the more famous Copacabana beach. I thought it was really great. The sand was nice and soft and white; the water was warm; there was a nice breeze coming off the water; there was lovely scenery all around us as well as many beautiful people to look at (both of the male and female variety). So, our Christmas 2010 was basically spent lounging on the beach, reading, relaxing and catching some (but not too many) rays.
Once our water supply ran out, we decided to head back to the hostel for a quick shower then go for dinner. After much wandering, we finally settled on a tex-mex place where I had yummy tacos, and Matthew had fish quesadillas. After dinner and a quick nap at the hostel, we wandered over to the rocks that separate Impanema and Copacabana beaches to watch the sunset. It was quite nice and romantic. On our way back to the hostel, Matthew decided he wanted to try his first suco (juice) bar. He got Acai, and I decided to get melon. Then, he was keen on having dessert.
It was at this point that my stomach started to feel a little unwell. At first, we thought it was just being overly dehydrated because we had been out in the sun all day. But, not 10 minutes later, I was sick and lost all the tasty tacos I had eaten for dinner that evening. I decided to call it an early night and thought surely I would be fine in the morning. After all, we have a whole tour arranged to take us around the city and there were still lots more we wanted to on our last day in town! Oh, how naive I was...
Two hours later, the sickness at both ends started, and went every 20 minutes for the next few hours, then every 60 minutes. At 1am, we decided it must surely be food poisoning and asked our friend Google for any advice on how to deal with it. We were informed that it's one of those things that just has to pass on its own in a day or so. For the next full day - ALL of December 26 - I was laid up in bed being ill. Matthew was very good to me, brining me lots of water to help re-hydrate me, re-arranging our tour for the following day, getting the hostel owner to agree to keep the A/C on in the room during the day (I think I might have died were it not for that one!), and brining me a little food when I felt up to eat it. Now, I've never had food poisoning before, but as bad as it is on its own, you can just imagine how bad it is when you're stuck in a dorm room with 7 other guys and have a small shared bathroom down the hall to run to every time you're going to be sick! Needless to say, it was quite miserable. But I am grateful to Matthew for his help and kindness as well as to hostel owner Sylvia for her great hospitality.
Since all of Sunday was a bust for us, we had much ground to cover today. The city tour that we were scheduled to do yesterday was pushed back to today. So, we got to see Sugar Loaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue, the famous tile steps (who's name escapes me at the moment) as well as numerous other sights in Rio. We were quite lucky to get to see both the mountain and the statue as for the last couple days they were too heavy in clouds to see anything. Photos to come to Facebook soon (and also perhaps a few here). It was quite a full day and well worth it, I thought. I was able to get a couple of small souvenirs, but I still have yet to get my magnet. Since Impanema does not apparently have any souvenir shops (go figure!), I will have to hope that they have a few to purchase at the airport tomorrow morning before we leave for Iguazu Falls.
So that has been our Rio advenutre. Not at all what I had expected or would have really hoped (being sick anywhere is no fun!), but a good time nonetheless. I am glad to say that I have seen Rio, although, I think next time I will come during their winter season and will bring a bigger water bottle!

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