29.12.2009 - 30.12.2009 32 °C
We arrived safely from Paraty yesterday around 18:00. Traffic was interesting at some points but what was more interesting is the fact that don't have squeegy boys at the lights, you have them selling refreshments on snacks on an 8 l ane highway. Imagine these guys walking down the Deerfoot or 401, with coolers on their backs selling refreshments to cool you down while stuck in traffic. that was a new sight for us.
Once we checked into the hotel, we had a cocktail on our balcony and checked out some of the action. This hotel (copacabana Ocean Beach) charges a fortune over New Year's but they are in a fantastic location. We can see everything from the pool balcony. We are right on the beach and we are one block from a supermarket. So off we went to check out the local grub....what a great store. We had these great crackers on our snorkelling day called Social Originals. they beat our ritz and soda crackers... yummy. Found a fresh bar-b-que chicken, buns and salad. So we laid low last night and enjoyed some home styled snacks.
Today we walked Copacabana Beach. Or we tried to walk it. We got half way towards Ipamena Beach and a huge thunder cloud arrived.So we turned around and walked in the other direction to get out of the rain. We really enjoyed watching the set up for tomorrow's festivities. We thought NYC was a big production. Nothing in comparison to a 4.8km wide open festival (not including the crowds on Impamena). We even found the Mobile Command Centre and hope to visit it again tomorrow. To the folks back in Calgary, this is a great site visit for major event set up. What a fabulous set up. They are erecting poles along the beach that to the average tourist looks like a volleyball net pole, but has numbers on it to identify security zones. they also have great first aid facilities set up, police on segways, public works staff in patrolling the areas and we believe undercover cops acting like street vendors. Very cool.
We checked out the famous Copacabana Palace (spectacular hotel) and then made our way onto Atlantic Avenue (main street one block off the beach). It was much safer than we anticipated. We enjoyed bargaining over some local gems and made a good deal with a great family. Caesar and his son Leo were alot of fun, so we enjoyed part of the afternoon with them. It rained so hard this afternoon that we could not see more than 200ft. The weather forecast is calling for the same tomorrow, but hopefully it will be over before midnight.
We hope to make it to Ipamena Beach tomorrow, but it will be a busy day as over 2million people will start to gather here around 14:00 until midnight.
Happy New Year everyone.