Last night was the New Years Eve Celebrations. It really was an event to see.
But today, as I walked around the beach and some of the major streets the people had been crammed into, well lets just say I was praying for rain.
Two million people, of which 95 percent were drinking some form of alcohol or something else...and although they did have many porta-potties, well, drunk people go through a lot of liquids.
At times I'd be walking down the street and BAM, this horrific smell of urine or vomit or something--not sure always what that smell was--would hit me and I'd pray the wind shifted immediately, or I'd step up my pace and hold my breath.
All that rain that came before New Years...well, we could use a little of it now to wash off the city. But no rain forcasted for a while now. YIKES.
I will give the city credit, they've cleaned up pretty well. Brasilians in general (at least in my experience) seem to think the ground works pretty well as a trash can, so there was TRASH everywhere last night. But by noon today, most of the major areas were cleaned up and they were working on getting to the rest done shortly.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Remember I mentioned I put an offer on an apartment in Rio. I should hear Saturday/Sunday if they accepted the offer...then I have to really decide if I'm gonna go through with it. A friend of mine who's remodeled 13 apartments, most in Rio, said he'd help me with it, so that eases some of my concerns. He's good. He did the apartment I was just staying in and it's GREAT!
But today I walked to the area of the apartment around 5 pm just to get a sense of how it was during that time of the day. It's an interesting area. And I have to say I came away pleased. This is what I found out:
1. The apartment rests not far from a tunnel dug through one of the many remaining rock formations left from the receding Ice Age. In the pictures above, it's the second group of mountains in back of the large residential high rises--ON THE OTHER side of that mountain, closer to the beach of Copacabana. The road leading up to the tunnel entrance is covered and they've made a little part there.
2. Their's a little police kiosk so it looks like it's a pretty safe area--plus there was a police struck parked nearby with several armed policemen--which is kind a common site around the city.
3. I timed my walk from the apartment to the beach and the subway station:
Beach: 10 minutes
Subway: 5 minutes
4. If you walk through the tunnel (4 minute walk), you come into an area of the city called Botofogo, which houses one of the largest cemeteries in the city. But if you look up, you see the Christis Statue--which you can't see on my side of the mountain, but it's there--getting hit by lightening in this picture.
5. There's another large secluded park just a minutes walk from the place, and a large hospital about the same distance. Supermarkets within 3-4 minutes walk as well.
ROCK THE BOAT
Had an invite to take a five hour boat ride out to some island off the shore and back tomorrow. While that sounds like it "could" be fun, if the weather isn't so good, the only thing I'd be seeing would be the inside of the bathroom, which wouldn't be so fun, so I declined. I think I'll try and hit the beach tomorrow if all looks good.