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Tony Gavilanes / Lacy Sarco

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"Rio de Janeiro"
(episode 15)

Can't see the movie? Click here to download Quicktime

So we arrived in Rio de Janeiro after sixteen days of luxury cruising. After much whining and pleading Tony finally convinced me to pack my backpack and disembark the cruise ship that had become our home- the M.S. Amsterdam.

Peggy, Tony, and I all disembarked the ship and started to weave our way through the terminal. Once we found ourselves outside we searched the hundreds of signs held up by taxi drivers, tour operators, and chauffeurs. “Peggy McNeil” was nowhere to be found so we sat down and waited, and waited, and waited. We began to feel antsy so we decided to call the Rio Guesthouse, which had organized our pick-up from the terminal. Turns out the driver hadn’t left yet so we were told to hang tight and he would arrive soon. After two hours of waiting outside of the terminal, seeing all the passengers disembark AND all the new passengers embark, our driver finally arrived. We were on our way to Copacabana….

A lengthy drive found us at the Rio Guesthouse. A beautiful two-story house with nice rooms, comfortable beds, delicious breakfasts and an amazing deck overlooking the beachfront. The owners, Marta and John, were thoroughly welcoming and hospitable.

After settling in, there was only one thing to do – hit the beach!! So we threw on our suits and walked across the street to Copacabana Beach. We had a great time people watching, swimming, tanning and relaxing. After a few hours we decided to head back to the Guesthouse. We took the elevator up, to the tenth floor, and waited for Tony to find the keys – but he didn’t have them. So we waited for Peggy to find the keys – but she didn’t have them. The keys were gone. God knows where they had gone but they were not with us…. After some time we were let into the Guesthouse. We all apologized to Marta. Luckily, she forgave us and gave us another set of keys.

The next day we decided there was only one thing to do – hit the beach!! So we threw on our suits and walked down the street to Ipanema Beach. The beach was beautiful. The landscape was breathtaking and the waves were ridiculously huge. We spent hours laying on the beach. When we would get tired of the sun and sand we would go to the Cabana for some delicious, refreshing beer. When we would get too hot sitting at the Cabana, we would head back to the beach and jump into the Atlantic. At one point that day Tony was teaching me how to ride the waves like a pro. After awhile I looked back to see how Peggy was doing, she seemed to be a little frantic so I ran back to the shore. Turns out she was laying there with both bags (ours and hers) under her head and when she sat up to see how we were doing she realized that our bag had mysteriously disappeared. The straps of the bags had been knotted together, her head was on top of them and there were people all around her, but somehow someone had stolen away with our bag. Fortunately they did not take Peggy’s bag, which consisted of her camera, our camera, and her wallet complete with credit cards, I.D., and a whole lot of cash. All that was in our bag was my shirt, Tony’s shirt and his pants complete with credit card, pepper spray and our new set of keys….

So we made our way back to the Guesthouse and after awhile we got let in. We explained to Marta what had happened and apologized for losing our second pair of keys. She was understanding but also a little worried because that was the only key to Tony and my room. So until a locksmith could come all of our stuff was held captive inside the room. But we had other things on our minds, like the fact that our credit card, with all of our travel funds, was in the hands of some Brazilian thief. So in nothing but our bathing suits we made our way to a cabina, where we could call the bank and cancel the card. Unfortunately, the cabina we chose had a very strict “no shirt, no shoes… do not even think of coming in here” policy. We tried to explain to them that Tony’s shirt had just been stolen and we did not have access to any other clothes at that moment, but they were not having it. We stepped outside and shook our fists in their general direction. Then as any loving Mom would do, Peggy offered Tony her over shirt, and he graciously excepted. So with his new styling lace tank top Tony strode back into the cabina and asked politely for a phone. After quite awhile on the phone explaining our situation to the costumer service specialists at Washington Mutual they proposed to have a new card sent to the Guesthouse and explained it would arrive in meager two days. We were impressed!! So with the card cancelled and a new one on the way our worries were alleviated and Peggy decided it would probably be a good idea to get Tony out of her lace tank top and into a new shirt and pair of pants. So she took him shopping.

In general, our time in Rio was absolutely amazing. We were able to do some great sight seeing. One day we made our way 2,300 feet up to the top of Corcovado Mountain to see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. It was an incredible sight; it stands on top of the mountain watching over the whole of Rio de Janeiro. The statue is very important and symbolic to the people of the city. So much so that the city’s futból stadium – the Maracanã – was built so the left hand of the statue points at it directly. Another day we took the teleferico to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain for a fantastic view of the city. Peggy and I also went to the city’s Botanical Gardens to see some Brazilian flora, fauna and wildlife. We also had an amazing steak dinner at the well-known churrasco Porcão and went out to an awesome club called Scenarium. We had an amazing time with Peggy and were so happy to be able to spend time with her in such an unbelievable city.

Oh, by the way, the card DID NOT come in two days we actually had to wait around a good four days after Peggy left to wait for it. After it had been refused by the Guesthouse doorman twice, we decided to take it into our own hands. We took a $50 taxi ride to the FedEx office and thank the good lord it was there. Then we got the hell out of Rio. Too rich for our blood...

POSTED: May 11, 2009