Eep, it’s been a while between posts… Did you think I’d been mauled by another muddy-pawed puppy? Or mayhaps that my tummy exploded after eating too much mango (or mebbe drinking too much cerveza)? Or that our ‘friend’ at the airline-that-shall-not-be-named tracked us down to our abode in Rio to send us back to Miami to spend just a little bit more time in the airport, standing at her check-in counter, while she did the thing with the eyebrows?
Relax, it’s all good. Except that I slipped into a bit of a laze when we got to Rio and had a little bit of trouble firing up and being a normal human being. In the city of colour and no rules and G-string bikinis and music and food, I spent a fair bit of time indoors reading books. What a bore! But you see what I mean? Trouble firing up…
That said, adventures were had. Even if I didn’t quite realise it at the time.
Last Tuesday, after a lazy start to the day, Rich and I decided to take a short stroll around Santa Teresa, our Rio DJ hood. Santa Teresa (not to be confused with the Santa Teresa we bunked down in in Costa Rica just a few days prior) is a luvverly, rambling ‘burb, perched high on a hill, with winding, steep cobble-stoned streets, and dilapidated (yet STUNNING) paint-peeling mansions with sprawling gardens, and high, vine-covered fences. Lots of little restaurants and outdoor drinking holes and a bookshop and a cinema. Twas a nice place to base ourselves…
Anyhoo, we wandered around the main street and looked in shops and had a coffee and then decided to go a little further afield and follow the trolley-car tracks up the hill, towards Corcovado. AKA the national park that’s home to that O so prolific statue, Christ the Redeemer (note: every time I see “Christ the Redeemer” in writing, or write it myself, I always think it says “Christ the Reindeer” and I imagine the big Jesus with antlers and a well-lit red nose….).
So off we went, up the hill from Santa Teresa, following the trolley-car tracks. It was a warm day. It was cloudy. It was pretty muggy. It was a perfect day to build up a sweat in a matter of minutes and develop a bad mood. Yes. As with previous bad moods described in this here blog, and pretty much every BM of the past few years, it’s something I’m not proud of, but this particular BM is actually pretty laughable in hindsight.
Due to the mugginess of the day, and the fact that, although we could see Christ the Reindeer, we didn’t really know how far away it was, the BM flailed wildly out of control in a matter of minutes. As Rich strolled ahead, calm and happy, I kicked and huffed my way along the road like a petulant child.
You know what you would think might get Wembolina out of a BM? Maybe seeing a cow curled up on the side of the road might do it? A road that is well traversed by cars and buses and is set in the middle of the jungle (with steep hills on either side), as if the cow had inadvertently entered Dr Who’s TARDIS and ended up here, in a place with, seemingly, no other cows in sight?
No, not even the random placement of a docile (yet kind of terrifying) bovine could do it. Rich laughed when we saw it. I huffed a little more.
Finally, after an hour or so of the twisting, turning trolley-car route, we made it to the entrance to Corcovado.
“We’re nearly there!!” Rich happily declared. I felt my spirits lift (marginally) but they were instantly deflated when we passed a sign announcing it was another 2.5kms to the top. ARGH!
And THEN (and this was the worst/funniest moment of the ‘adventure’) when we were halfway up a particularly steep stretch of road leading up to the carpark, I was struck with a searing, stabbing pain in my ankle, caused by a mother-flipping-GIGANTIC ant that had attached itself to my Achilles and was joyously jabbing its monstrous pincers in and out of my soft and squodgy flesh.
“AARRRGGGHHHH!!!!” I screamed, “GET IT OFF ME!!!!!”
Rich, a few metres away, instantly thought I was being attacked by a rabid monkey (or another orange puppy), or was perhaps being squeezed to death by an enormous boa constrictor. He raced over, eyes frantic, “What is it? What’s wrong??” I pointed down at the big black ant on my foot and cried (with actual tears) “THAT!!!! THAT ANT!!!! GEDDITOFFMEEEEEEE!!!!!”
My knight-in-sweaty-t-shirt-material bravely swiped the beast off my leg with the swiftness of an American football player making a winning kick at the Superbowl.
I cried a bit more (even though it was just an ant, it reeeeeeeally hurt) and then we continued our way up the hill.
You’ll be pleased to know that once we made it to the top and actually saw the majesty of the statue up close (and the view – aye yae yae!), the BM dissipated into nothingness and I was transcended to a state of absolute awe. And I had a big drink of water, so replenished all my lost minerals (read: sweat) in a matter of minutes. And then we saw a weird cat/monkey/tapir looking animal foraging for scraps near a bin and THAT cheered me up to no end too.
In the bus on the way back down the hill, I put my head on Rich’s shoulder, apologised for my torturous mood, and thanked him for getting the gross ant off my ankle. He is one good egg.
When we got back to Santa Teresa later that evening, and after we’d rewarded ourselves with several beers and a big delicious dinner, I did a quick search on Google Maps to see how far we’d walked. I guessed around 6kms. Rich guessed 8.4. We had, in fact, just ‘strolled’ 10.5kms. Good training for the Inca Trail, methinks!!