Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Of the hundreds of cathedrals and churches I've seen—from the gaudy and opulent in Europe, to the simple and humble in Latin America—I've never stepped into a structure like the one I came across here in Rio.
Just after noon I jumped on Rio's subway and headed into the city center. I was really surprised with how clean, comfortable, frequent, fast, and air conditioned the transport was—blowing away Buenos Aires' public metro (that looked like it was from New York, circa 1960).
It wasn't long before the sight of a strange looking building caught my eye, and I sauntered over to it.
Built back in the 60s and 70s, the retro structure looks like a giant concrete cone with the point sliced off. I walked in, and the first thing that came to mind was a James Bond movie—I felt like I was inside the rocket launch complex of a hollowed out volcano lair.
The cathedral doesn't wow with magnificence, but makes you feel awfully tiny in such a large, enclosed space. Four sections of stained glass run up to the roof, illuminating the walls like massive banners. A crucified Christ hangs above the alter in such a way that it almost looks like it's floating—sort of eerie.
The rest of the city center wasn't anything to remember. I wandered through some parts of town that I probably shouldn't have, then caught the comfortable ride back to Copacabana. The beach is just a few blocks from the end of the subway line, which explains why it gets the most people from all over the city, whereas getting other beaches requires a lot more effort (comparatively).
The rain settled in again in the late afternoon, but I'm happy I got to spend a least one afternoon walking along Rio's beaches (on a fine day). Tomorrow was to be my departure day from the city, but there's been a change of plans…
A Few More Days In Rio
I couldn't believe it, but I managed to get a flight to Salvador on the 6th for less than the price of a long-haul bus ticket—about US$85 on TAM Airlines.
The downside: Tack on another US$40 for a taxi to and from the airports, and of course my flight time… putting me into Salvador a little after midnight.
I should hopefully have a spot on the hotel room floor of a Aussie friend of mine who is arriving in Salvador on the 5th. I'm looking to spend a day in the city, and then relocate to calm location before returning a few days later for Carnival festivities.
…Looks like it's actually going to happen this year.