In Moonraker (1979), James Bond (Roger Moore) was attacked by Jaws (Richard Kiel) in a cable car that was riding toward the Sugar Loaf Mountain, in Rio. The mid-air epic battle lasted three minutes. Jaws’ car crashed into the Sugar Loaf station building. A 7-UP sign fell onto the crowd having lunch. Do you remember?
The Sugar Loaf (Pan de Acucar) Mountain is located at the mouth of Guanabara Bay. It is 400-meter tall, and it gives you a 360-degree panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro. After taking that ride, no one will ever deny the awe-inspiring display of the city. On top of the mountain, there is a restaurant, along with several features for fun and entertainment.
After a two-hour visit to the landmark, the Group completed a city tour that included:
– The Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian (magnificent)
– The Selaron Stepway (unique)
– The Carioca Aqueduct (historical)
– The Olympic Village (proud)
– A guided tour of the Maracana Stadium (amphitryonic)
It is a pity that, due to traffic and time constraint, the Group could not reach the Apotheosis Square, or have a last dip in the Atlantic Ocean at Tijuca, reputed for its calmer water.
The ride to the airport was easy. It took less than an hour to the two-bus caravan to reach Galeo International Airport (GIG), from Copacabana.
With tears in (both) eyes, we, “boys and girls” said goodbye to our lovely guides, Fabiana and Ursula. In the Brazilian way, they hugged and kissed everyone goodbye, promising a visit to the US. Fabiana will be in New Jersey in June. Ursula has yet to decide.
Half-an-hour beyond schedule, Avianca Brazil, flight #066226, left Rio at 45 minutes past midnight and landed in Salvador da Bahia one-and-half hour later. Franco Anselmo, from Tour Imagem, a thin and svelte Italian, was waiting with his perpetual large and gentle smile.
Around 2:00 AM, we checked-in at Fiesta Bahia. Barely, 20 hours earlier, in the middle of the night, we received a call from the agency informing us that we could no longer lodge at Pestana Bahia, the most luxurious outfit of the city. The hotel had a major AC problem, that could not be repaired before a couple of days. The agency and the Bahia providers made a miracle to transfer the whole group and re-settle the entire program at the Fiesta Bahia, in less than one day.
The members of Travel-O-Ganza felt welcome in Black Rome.
(O. Robert Jeanlouie, Tuesday, March 12, 2019)
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