Visiting Rio I planned sunbathing at beaches while watching brazilian babes, flying and some culture. But the weather was a real challenge.
Traditional robbing by taxidrivers on the bus station I avoid with a slalom between them, but the machine for tram tickets is broken. I must say the employees tries to help me much despite they do not speak english. The machine needs a reboot, it runs Windows 7, and rebooting about 10 minutes :-).
My host is a teacher at english speaking school so we discuss many things for some time. Avoiding translator is a great feeling. Only one day is not predicted rain so I plan flying . It is in San Conrado and at the landing place I need to buy a daily membership. With Uber the drive up is 10 R$, the driver provided by club asks for 30 R$, that is what I call paragliding economy. I wait if other pilot will come to split and it happen in 20 minutes and we go.
I meet Chey. He is quite interesting English guy. He shoots films around the world, do martial arts, fly paraglide and ride motorbikes. There is a lot of parawaiting on the tiny take off, also tricky conditions with a often tail wind, sometimes side wind and rarely (a preferred option)light headwind. Clouds are low and when we decide to take off we cannot see anything, so another 50 minutes of parawaiting.
At beginning it feels like well organized take off to me, but in the end I think it is too much, and removes the “free” from word “flying”. For sure the safety is taken extremely seriously here, there is a mandatory checklists and take off organizer controls all before each attempt to launch.
Finally some decent flying is possible, but low clouds combined with not optimal wind direction make it too dangerous to explore area closer to the city. With Chey we do some funny stuff like flying through small clouds above the sea and tiny wingovers, but land in an hour as it gets repeating. We are hungry so agree to go for a dinner, Chey is a vegan and wants to visit some specific restaurant so we leave our backpacks in the paragliding office and go on his motorbike for a dinner. Dinner is great, just the meat is strange :-).
Next days the weather is bad, variing from heavy rain to wet streets. Time for some culture! After exploring the options, the choice is clear: “Museum of tomorrow”. The exposition is quite interesting, and interactive in many cases. I know most of things but few new I learned. The end is about climate change, and it makes me extremely sad. Probably a purpose but the depression is so big that I cannot do much next day. I want to go to military museum, where is a submarine but it is in Portuguese only. Sad.
Unfortunately I cannot top up my credit so I am without internet, except wifis. Quite difficult, as translator works only for writing when offline. In Vivo (=telco) shop they send me to the pharmacy, but there is so long que that I skip it, not worth for a last day. I want to explore the beaches little, but weather is so bad again I return to my appartment with some small side trip.
There are people sleeping in the streets or in parks. Many people. I notice that a red light does not mean “stop”, but it means “cross carefully”. With cars, an Uber driver explains me that it is similar but he stops only at crossroads with cameras. The traffic is very high, especially in some parts, fortunately I did not need to be there. The big traffic jams are used by street snack sellers, funny. Also, I noticed I see only one ways, but for some reason the cyclists ignore them so I have to be check both directions anyway.
Rio is beautiful city, as a city I was not impressed but the combination of nice sea, impressive mountains and soft sand beaches is very exceptional combination.