Sunday, August 10, 2014

Brazil 2014 - Day 12 (6/24/2014) - Corcovado, to Porto Alegre

We got a bit of a later start than desired, as we ideally wanted to be at Cosme Velho by 8:00 when the first day-of tram tickets went on sale.  We quickly ate breakfast in the apartment (our host kindly had breakfast out early, though we told her it was not necessary) and were downstairs and outside around 7:40.  We were lucky to catch the 583 bus immediately, which the girl the day before told us terminates at Cosme Velho.  We reached our destination at 8:15 and lined up for tickets.  The earliest tram we could get on was 11:20, so we bought that and then needed to kill some time.  We walked down the street and around the area for a while, before returning to the Museu Internacional de Arte Naif do Brasil next door.  We were there a few minutes before they opened at 10:00, so we bought a couple of drinks at their cafe.  I initially was not going to enter the museum at all (I was going to chill outside while Raj checked it out), but Raj found out that they were offering a 2-for-1 deal with tram tickets, so it was only R$6 each.  I'm glad I went in, as the museum turned put to be better than I expected.  Not amazing or anything, but probably worth the reduced entry fee.

After the museum, we headed next door to the tram station at 11:00, as we had been advised.  The tram ended up departing about 10 minutes late, closer to 11:30.  The ride up to the top of the Corcovado took somewhere around 25 minutes, and it was quite crowded up there (as expected).  We stayed up there around 45 minutes, taking pictures and trying to enjoy the view as much as can be allowed with so many people there.  The line for the tram down seemed lengthy, but that was only because it moves a couple hundred at a time - so we didn't wait too long.  The first leg of the ride down included some entertainment from a street band.  After leaving the tram station at Cosme Velho, we were again fortunate to almost immediately catch the 584 back toward Leblon.

We went back to the apartment to get our things and "check out" of the apartment.  Our host suggested a by-the-kg buffet called Grill Inn a few blocks away (she said only 2 blocks, but it turned out to be more like 5) for a quick lunch, so we walked there.  We hurriedly ate some of the vegetarian options that we could decipher, paid, and then caught a taxi outside the restaurant at 3:30.

The traffic getting to the airport was ridiculous.  We were basically in a parking lot for about 30 minutes.  It seemed to have to do with a bunch of different major roads merging together before the Túnel André Rebouças.  Once we got past the tunnel, things cleared up for the most part.  However, we were still cutting things super close, as we approached the airport around 4:40, about 40 minutes before our flight was to depart (5:21).  Things took a turn for the worse when out taxi driver accidentally turned into the garage parking for terminal 2, instead of heading to the departures area.  He apologized and asked us (as far as we could understand) if we wanted him to go back around or go in through the garage.  We chose to go in, as we were super late, and he dropped us off by the stairs.  We quickly paid and half ran up the stairs.  Then we found out that we were at the international arrivals area.  So we half ran over to the escalators and up two levels to domestic check-in.  We found an automatic kiosk and checked in there, indicating that we were fully qualified for the exit row seats it put us in (even though we didn't speak Portuguese) so as not to be slowed down.  By now the departures board showed our flight at final call.  Then we ran over to the security checkpoint, where luckily the line was essentially nonexistent.  We quickly went through (we had already prepped most of our gear, e.g., our belts, while in the taxi, and we thankfully didn't have to separate liquids or take off our shoes like in the U.S.) and found our gate about 3 or 4 down.  It had taken us about 8 minutes from check-in to the boarding gate, and we ended up having plenty of time to spare - there was still a line of about 20 people when we got there, and at least 20 more boarded after us.

We had a 2+ hour layover in Curitiba, where we snacked on pão de queijo in the airport.  The quick flight to Porto Alegre was bumpy, with the flight attendants even ending refreshment service early.  After arriving at the airport, we hired a taxi at the stand, and took that to our Ibis Moihnos de Vento hotel.  It was raining pretty heavily, and some of the streets were partially flooded.  We hoped that the rain wouldn't continue through the match the next day, but the forecast didn't look good.

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