22.12.2009 - 23.12.2009 32 °C
Rio de Janeiro
We finally got off the ship after three hours of immigration processing. It was interesting to watch how people react when they are forced to sit in a room together for two hours waiting for immigration officers to arrive and then orderly line up to be processed by Brazilian officers. Darwin and I were both a bit surprised by the behaviour of the cruise staff and passengers. For the entire cruise, the staff have been very organized but for disembarkation, they put a junior officer and a waiter in the room with over 400 passengers who want to leave NOW. We felt sorry for them but they should have had a lot more staff in the area. We arrived four hours later to Buenos Aires than originally planned, so passengers who had tours booked had to cancel them and those with early departures were in serious jeopardy of missing their flights. The captain should have been a bit more prepared and had extra staff in the lounges as we went through immigration.
While on the ship we met a couple from Red Deer and Kim was chatting to them while we were at sea the last two days and they informed her they had no tour for Rio de Janeiro, so we invited them to join us. Since we arrived late, our tour was cut back from 8 hours to 4 hours, so we did a quick visit to Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Copacobana beach. They dropped us off at the JW Marriott on Copacobana and then took off to the airport. It was a quick goodbye and then Darwin and I dropped off our bags and hit the beach to check it out. What a great scene. The beach is wide, beautiful and has fabulous soft sand. There are bars set up along the beach and what was really cool, is the gas stations set up along the Avenue. They look like pit stops on a formula one raceway. We will try and post a few photos of them when we get back to the City. While driving to the Marriott, the driver pointed out our hotel for New Year’s Eve – the Oceania. It is on the beach. So we dropped by to confirm our reservation, since we did it on line and only received confirmation a few days ago. We were relieved to find out, they had us confirmed. So off to find a beach side bar for a cocktail. We stopped at the first place we found and had a waiter Fransisco who spoke a bit of English. He showed us the Revellion 2010 menu and informed us that we could reserve a table, have dinner, drinks included and could leave the restaurant and go to the beach (across the street) and return. The tickets were $300USD/couple. We jumped at this opportunity. With over 2million wandering the beach that night and limited washroom facilities, I wanted to know that I could find a washroom throughout the night. Lori/Jim/Paula, this will be like NYC. We will be close to all the action and have a place to sit until close to midnight when we can pop over to the beach and watch the action. We will be able to see the fireworks from our table which will be fantastic. We were are very excited about our plans for New Year’s Eve.
We wandered around the beach market that night, headed to a local bar for a drink and then back to the room for a great sleep in a king bed.