24.11.2015 - 24.11.2015
I could afford another sleep-in today since I didn’t have any day tour but a tour in the evening with dinner and entertainment in Lapa. The clouds were really low and it was grey and cloudy but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. During the bus ride back to my hotel yesterday I had scouted a few places worth paying a visit. Partly a shopping center called Shopping Leblon and had by a coincident I spotted a street with my name. I knew there was a street out in the World with my name – and now I had found it!
The clouds were lifting during the walk over to Ipanema Beach and the intense sunshine warmed up Rio de Janeiro. I crossed the street to, wherever it was possible, walk in the shadow and not overheat. It felt like forever before I got to “my” street. Then walked a few streets towards the city center to get to Shopping Leblon - a large shopping center with multiple floors with clothes, shoes, stuff, perfume among other things. They had really embraced the tradition of Christmas.
The entire shopping center was wrapped with big gift strings with a big bow over the entrance. And just aside from the entrance was a gigantic teddy bear in fabric, which was about 10 meters high while seated. Inside the center was 2 meter high peppermint canes, Christmas trees (plastic) that reached 10 meters high for sure and in the middle by the escalators were 3-4 meter high teddy bears hanging down from the ceiling. It was glitz and Christmas tree orbs and the Christmas music was played everywhere. Really cozy though a bit exaggerated. Even though the large contrast between the +30 °Centigrade heat outside and the extreme Christmas spirit inside, Brazilians know how to celebrate Christmas – no doubt. And there were a whole lot of branded clothes too.
Among other stores… Calvin Klein! My favorite! There is a heaven in Rio de Janeiro after all Unfortunately I was anything but fit for shopping after that warm and long sweaty walk. So I really had to get back here later today, after a shower and change of clothes.
Walked back to Ipanema Beach and found a bench and sat down. The sun had come to stay now and really broiled.
Since it was Tuesday the Forte de Copacabana was open, which is a military base at the south end of Copacabana and opened for public and display a Museum of Army History and the coastguard’s actual fort.
The fortress was an important part of Rio de Janeiro’s history and defense against enemies at sea due to its location.
During the way back to my hotel I bought a warm Chicken sandwich. It tasted really good with that warm sandwich even though it was really warm outside. Back at the hotel for a well-needed shower. Changed into new fresh clothes and went down to the hotel lobby and asked for a cab. A bellboy walked straight away out to the busy street behind the hotel and waved in a taxi for me. I asked the driver to get me to Shopping Leblon, which took about 10 minutes and cost R$15. Now finally time for shopping! Calvin Klein of course Later on when it was time to go back to my hotel, there was a taxi place just outside the entrance where the taxi cars waited to pick up costumers. Perfect! You just took the very first taxi back to your hotel. I must say it felt totally safe to use taxi in Rio. You will have an advantage knowing Portuguese since the taxi drivers most certainly doesn’t speak any English. But you will get to your destination by having the address written down on a piece of paper as well.
In the evening it was time for my Private Tour in Lapa. Met Renato down by the hotel reception at 7.30pm. I received the money I had spent on that taxi ride to the BBQ dinner yesterday, when they forgot to pick me up. Renato apologized once again for the inconvenience and he was sure that his information was right, while the organizer claimed I had the BBQ dinner and Samba Show tonight. Oh well. Then Renato drove towards Lapa and made a short tour in the neighborhood.
Lapa is a financial district and a wealthier neighborhood with very popular pubs and bars. The house facades have been restored and are from 19th Century with much influence from the Portuguese conquering. Renato parked the car and we went to Rio Scenarium – Pavilhão Cultural. It was a nice building and the interior had been kept in an elderly style.
The staff dressed like they did 200 years ago and a live band – Edu Krieger e Convidados – performed on stage and was great. A professional dance couple danced around in the room and they were the best of the best and danced perfectly together. If you only had a scrap of what they showed off, you would be happy. They were awesome! We had a reserved table close to the stage, which Renato had booked in advance. If you want a table here you must reserve in advance due to its popularity – but so well worth it! During the evening I ordered the national drink of Brazil – Caipirinha, it was pretty strong, but okay.