November 28, 2016
We didn’t do much today as far as sightseeing. We started our day like every day here: Making coffee, then sitting in the living room reading and feeling the cool breeze off the ocean. I was very nostalgic and couldn’t stop wishing that we had extended our visas. We’re going home to Midwestern winter and Donald Trump! Not anything to really look forward to…well, there was spending the holidays with our family, which is the best way to celebrate the holidays.
We went to a small café nearby for breakfast.
We also packed and texted Carlenia about transport to the airport. We had flown into the smaller of Rio’s two main airports, Santos Dumont; but for the trip back to the states we had to go to Galeão, the international airport much further away. Carlenia had made some kind of deal with a taxi driver who was the friend of another driver she knew.
Not being in a hotel, we didn’t need to worry about check out times, so leaving our suitcases in the apartment, we went out to enjoy the beautiful, sunny day at Leme Beach. We didn’t wear our bathing suits, which would not have time to dry before we had to pack them. We didn’t plan to swim anyway, just walk along the edge of the water.
Instead of walking on the beach toward Copacabana, we walked toward the eastern end of the beach and walked along the edge of the rock that divides Leme/Copacabana from Praia Vermelha. You can’t walk very far on this rock. If you did, you would find yourself on a rocky peninsula called Arpoador. Some surfers like to go there because the waves are very strong, but it is also considered very dangerous and there have been several accidents there.
We watched surfers and sunbathers and soccer players.
Finally it was time to leave and we had to cram ourselves and our luggage into the tiny service elevator for the last time. When we got to the front, one of the doormen carried our suitcases down the stairs. We then sat and waited for the taxi driver, which didn’t take long. On the way to the airport, the taxi driver said he hated Uber (naturally, they were taking away his business). It wasn’t that, he said, it was because Uber is not regulated here in Brazil, so they are not compensated very well and get no benefits. So now there is pressure for taxi drivers to accept similar working conditions.
The traffic wasn’t too bad and we made it to Galeão sooner than expected. We paid the driver the agreed upon price plus tip.
I could relate to this sign we saw in the airport:
But we didn’t have caipirinhas. Instead, I spied a Ben & Jerry’s – Ben & Jerry’s!! – and I spent exactly every remaining Brazilian real I had buying us two dishes of ice cream, complete with toppings! The server actually gave me a discount because I literally had no more money.
So our farewell to Brazil was eating ice cream from the best (in my opinion) American ice cream franchise!