As is always the case, we were courteously rushed from the cruise ship ASAP to make way for the guests who will be sleeping in our bed tonight. Since hotels don't want to see you at 9am, we needed to plan for the hours before we would have a place to hang our hats as well as our 200 pounds of luggage. Ken had e-mailed our hotel arranging for a pickup from the port, but when he never heard back from them, he made a Plan B. We were to be picked up by Grayline and given a full day tour with lunch. Imagine our surprise when two men with signs that said "Wiseman" were waiting for us. We sent the 200 pounds of luggage with the hotel man and got on the Grayline bus without encumbrances, which turned out to be a good move.
Our tour went to all the spots you've always heard about in Rio, Cocobana and Ipanema beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the Christ the Redeemer Statue. Sadly we were dogged the entire day by rain and clouds. We could see enough to tell that the Rio coastline dotted with mountains hurled here and there by some playful god, were everything we've ever head of. When we got to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain it was so socked in with fog, we could not see at all. Instead we had a friend take a photo of us in front of a scenic panorama billboard. Can you tell? An impressive stop we had never heard of was the very modern cathedral, which typifies Brazilian design. Our guide moved easily between French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. It was an impressive display, but meant we only profited from his words 25% of the time. We would have liked to learn more.
We have heard many scary stories of the high crime rate here and selected our hotel very carefully with an eye toward safety. Our first impression is that we chose well. We can see the beach from our window and the streets and people in the immediate area would fit in on any decent American street. Hopefully the weather will improve the next few days and we can get some photos that really show was a lovely city this is.