12th February 2013

 

Feeling suitably suntanned from our day at Ipanema Beach yesterday, we were ready to do another cultural icon of Rio. We’ve already done the Lapa Steps so…..this means the big guy.

 

Yes, the big guy. I’m sure you’ve all seen the panoramic views of Rio from the jealousy-inducing adverts that your country produces on your channels. If not, you’re gonna see them anyway with the World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2016. So what am I nattering on about right now? The big guy in the commercial itself. J to the C as I call him or rather as the locals call him, Christo Redenter. To English people like ourselves, we call him Christo the Redeemer. He goes by a lot of names, but I like to call him J to the C. Rap-style.

 

Arms outstretched, palms facing upwards, he embraces the city of Rio in his hands, perhaps in pity. This city is currently in the middle of Carnaval… and there’s a lot of things going on that even HE would find it hard to forgive. From what I saw….not what I did.. do you think so little of me?!

 

So here we are, raring to go. I successfully managed to prise Auston and Dave out of their beds first thing in the morning, fed them brekkie (seriously, it’s like having 2 kids sometimes) and found out where to go. We didn’t want to take one of those expensive city tours as they cost a fortune so we would rather take a local bus ourselves. Advised by the hostel receptionist, we caught the bus at the end of the street and waited about 20 mins to get to Cosme Velhe, a district of Rio, where the big man resides in the national park that Cosme lies besides. Now guys, upon arrival, we knew we would be waiting to get to see the big guy longer than we would expect because it’s the middle of Carnaval so what does everyone want to see? J to the C!

 

When we arrived, we were kinda hoping to go on the cog train that takes you up from cosme from the bus stop and go straight up through the national park, up Corcovado (the peak that the big guy stands upon), and directly to the big guy himself. But as we arrived, all train seat spaces had been filled and the next available seat was 3 hours later. So word to the wise, if you want to go on the cog train, book ahead.

 

So what did we do instead? Well luckily for us, not only the cog train is the transport up but minivans are. A huge co-ordinated van service is available for those bad tourists who forgot to book the cog train in advance, they are there for you. Smelt suspiciously a con, I wasn’t sure at first but seeing arrivals back from the big guy, it was ok. Forking over 24$RL to take us into the national park, I quite admit it was quite an exhilarating kinda ride as you wound round cobbly street corners at speed and also precariously close to the edge of the Corcovado peak. By GUM!

 

When we arrived at the entrance, we weren’t surprised to find queues but what queues were they we wondered? The van driver gestured to us to skip the queue and go round. We weren’t sure. There were no signs or anything…even in portuguese what to do…

 

Getting in line, we wandered a bit but it seemed like the line for the vans that would take us from the National Park entrance to Cristo…so where do we buy the tickets? Auston and I left Dave in the queue to the entrance building and it’s a good job we did. The queue before was for the vans and there was a huge break in that queue in the middle, as the staff wouldn’t let anybody in that queue without an entrance ticket to get on the vans. Buying tickets for ourselves, we rushed to the queue and relieved to find we just made it.

 

Another exhilarating van ride later, well…we saw J to the C. And we liked it. Check out the mean pics.

J to the C!

The View just got better!

Great pic of Rio from Corcovado Peak

I’m picking up Jesus!

High Five Big Guy!

Another great view of Rio

I’m J to the C this time but can’t spread my arms wide…it won’t fit into the picture…or I haven’t put any deodorant on…

Now, what was incredibly surprising was that he wasn’t that big as I thought he would be. A tad smaller than Angel of the North I thought…I mean it’s great to see him but I always imagined him as a godzilla like entity overlooking a city, ready to smash and destroy. But even back in the centre of Rio, you may be hard pressed to spy him on Corcovado. I thought it was because he was so far away…but nope, not really, he’s not tht far away. He’s quite small.

 

However, I knew I was pleased as I just saw something to tick off one of the items of my bucket list!

 

Spending a good hour there, we had to go back to the hostel, after all, the Carnaval is starting again for the day! But first, we should have got on the right bus…more on that at the next post…

 

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