Woke at 5am (body clock was telling me that I should have been up and on my bike at 8am UK time!) I tried to doze then gave up and switched on my Tablet and finished an episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ that I hadn’t complete last night before I fell asleep. After both Sue and I had showered we were in breakfast for 7.30 am, we had a good choice of International delicacies, Sue enjoyed the banana bread, but I stuck to scrambled egg, sausage etc.
We had decided to visit Sugar Loaf Mountain and decided to walk to it as it appeared quite near. It only took around 15 minutes, but the sky was cloudless and the sun made its presence known. We arrived at the same time as a lot of tour buses, so we put a spurt on at the entrance to get ahead at the ticket office. It paid dividends as we only had around 10 minutes of queuing before we were on the cable car to the first section.
I had read some advice that the best time to go was in the morning and to go to the top and work your way slowly down. Which is what we did. I videoed our journey up to the first section and then on arrival we marched purposefully to the next cable car, queued for another 5 minutes and then journeyed to the very top. I videoed that journey as well. It looked very spectacular through the lens of the camera.
The views from the top were breathtaking. As well as photographing the vista, I attempted to focus in on the large numbers of vultures that were circling above (obviously looking for the sick and frail among us), but it proved quite difficult. There also was an equally large number of what I guess were frigate birds, just as big but easier to focus on as they didn’t change direction as quickly. We descended to the previous station, via the cable car again, which in fact was atop another mountain. After quite few more photo opportunities were grasped, including the landing and take-off of a helicopter, we had a cooling walk along an eco-trail which circumnavigated the summit. After that we descended again by cable car to the base station. We watched for a while some climbers that were inching their way up the rock face behind the station. Quite crazy in the now oppressive heat.
We next took a walk underneath the mountain on a raised cliff path that proved to be quite the cool thing to do as the trees provided much needed shade. A lot of the locals were of the same mind, though some were sweating profusely as they chose to run (mad, mad, mad). We stopped to photograph some enchanting little Capuchin monkeys that were being fed by some locals. They are very tame and didn’t mind you putting your camera within inches of them (I suppose getting so close makes them look so much bigger in the frame). Later on I sat on a rock to take off my sandals and lo and behold I had company. A lone Capuchin would just appeared out of thin air (probably the tree I was under), I only noticed him as he was next to my knee observing my sock closely. Sarah would love one and she nearly got one, but a couple of locals came cantering down the track at the wrong moment.
There was a restaurant on the other side of the little cove, we made our way there, found a table and ordered a fresh coconut to drink for Sue and the largest, coldest beer they had for me. Heaven. We sat and watched the little cable cars go up and down the mountain, tried to count the vultures, then discussed whether the vultures ate the climbers that fell and sipped our drinks.
We then trekked back to the hotel, in the heat, stopping at a very large shopping Mall on the way (not because we needed/wanted anything, but it was air-conditioned!).
After a much needed cooling shower back in our room, we headed to the beach (Copacabana). We spent the rest of the afternoon (until it got dark) sitting on the sand, watching the people go by and occasionally I went for a splash in the sea. It is at times like this that I regret the children have grown up, I miss playing in the waves with them, making up silly games and generally making a nuisance of ourselves. Luckily I don’t have to grow up myself, yet. But tomorrow (Sue informs me ) I have to, it’s my 60th birthday!!!! I don’t feel 30 let alone 60!!! At least I only have Sue to remind me
and I am sure she will keep it brief.
In ther evening we changed and walked back to the Mall we had discovered earlier (funny how places with air-conditioning stick in your mind) and had our evening meal. I am ashamed to say we ate Italian, but at least we knew what we were getting.