The next morning we set out for Corcovado, the giant statue of Jesus that is the iconic image of Rio. We parked the car near the train station, as there was no parking lot, and two men approached us telling us we needed to pay them to watch our car. Jake refused, and they insisted. This isn't an uncommon practice in Brazil, but usually people are much more good-natured if they are refused or are only asking a few reais. They were asking for R$30 or R$40 (between $15 and $20 USD), and we are notoriously cheap. I was nervous; in fact, this was the only time during our trip to Rio (where the crime rate is MUCH higher than in São Paulo) when I felt remotely unsafe. We walked over to the train station, but I didn't like the idea of leaving our car anywhere near those guys. All our stuff, including our computer, iPod, GPS, and clothing, was in the car. Jake ran back to the car while the kids and I waited for the train. He moved the car up several blocks and ran back in time to catch the train up the mountain.
Cristo Redentor is huge. Like, really, really big. I wasn't prepared for how big it is. It's 98 feet tall, and it sits on a pedestal of 26 feet. His arms stretch 92 feet. Huge! Check out the picture on the Wikipedia page for some perspective. The day was pretty cloudy, and it was raining lightly as we descended. A kind young man from Belo Horizonte offered to walk down with us, sheltering us with his umbrella. Folk wisdom here says that rain is dangerous, so we were doing the unthinkable letting our kids get wet. The clouds parted briefly a few times, and we got some great shots of the city and of the statue.
|From the base.|
|Nora became less amused as the day wore on.|
|Me and the kiddos|
|View from the top|
When we got home and unpacked, I realized we had left Joseph's beloved toy, Baby Panda, wrapped in the sheets of his bed at the hotel. He was heartbroken. I told him that we would ask the hotel if anyone found Panda and try to have him sent back to our house, but I also told him it was possible that Panda was lost and we might not get him back. (I also had a backup plan. Given that losing Panda was our fault, not Joseph's, I didn't feel bad about buying him a new one and having it sent to my mom's house for when we arrived for Christmas. We'd tell him that Panda must have gotten on a plane and gone to Nana's house to meet him there. Judge me for being willing to lie if you will, but my three-year-old has an engineer brain and needs a little more magic and imagination in his life.) The hotel had, in fact, found Panda and sent it to our home (for an exorbitant sum), but we didn't tell Joseph until Jake got home from work the night the package arrived. We told him there was a package for him, and when he opened it, I have never seen a kid more excited than ours. Take a look, and excuse the poor camera work.