Mar 12 2024

Sugarloaf Mountain trail

Av. Pasteur, 520 – Urca,
Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22290-240, Brazil

… more pix and videos on Google Maps.

Will return.

Either hike up or take the cable car up, this is a must go.

After a few drinks at Clássico Beach Club, we hike the downward spiral trails that are heavily shaded. One side is the gleaming water and one side is the green hill: tranquil and refreshing.




Feb 13 2024

Uber in Rio

We used Uber to get around in Rio de Janeiro. They’re not always cheaper. Once we took the taxi at the half cost of Uber, which was also a long wait. Waiting around for a Uber is the downside of it. But it’s convenient: just open the app and you don’t need to stick out your credit card.

~ The Rise and Fall of Uber 2021.4.08

Bloomberg News reports Uber has a banner quarter, up 30%, while Lyft is down 80%, which has very limited worldwide presence. My last encounter with Lyft was horrible, from both the driver and the company.

The location service is spotty in Rio. Many times, the drivers couldn’t find us. One time at the beach, the driver of a Black Fiat (lic ending I33) drove away from us, that was a terrible experience. We would spend next 30 minutes waiting for another car. It drained my battery as well. If I were to cancel it, Uber charges me a cancelation fee. It doesn’t seem fair.

On our trip to the GIG airport, the driver has a yellow tank in his truck. What is it?

One interesting thing to note: many Uber cars in the airport are mini, without a truck! We put our two carry on in the front passenger seat.

As of now, I still haven’t figure it out how to tell Uber the number of passengers, other than myself.

Above my pay grade topic. Uber 的季度业绩表现出色, 增长了 30%; 而 Lyft 则下降了 80%, 在全球范围内的业务非常有限.
几年前在旧金山Lyft 的司机无缘无故说我的狗在他车里💩了 加收$80. Lyft不调查 (照片的meta data was striped …) 说收的对… 当然我赢了. 这么烂的公司 简直了.

今天Uber 小哥看俺在照相 好心提醒俺 “… 小心 不要被人抢手机…”
这是来后第一个提醒. 俺觉得Rio 挺安全, 虽然最好的酒店都有些惨不忍睹 周围环境本应该高大上 但也就是New York 23 街的感觉.
满大街卖冰/水的小贩们 人手一个收银机. 在这个背后 不知道信用卡公司的努力
相比之下 德国🇩🇪小商店都还是现金…



Feb 13 2024

Amex @ GIG: Plaza Premium Lounge

Third floor at T2 @ RIOgaleão – Tom Jobim
Rio de Janeiro

… more pix at Google Maps

This airport lounge is pretty good, especially when our British Air flight is delayed.

The cream of wheat is wonderful. The coffee barista is efficient.

However, they don’t have bottled water, from the tapes only.

Feb 12 2024

Praia Vermelha: Bed Beach

Rio de Janeiro

… more pix vid on Google Maps

Out of cable car, turn right, we walked a few steps to the Red Beach.

The scene from the beach is beautiful: with Babilônia Hill to the right and Sugarloaf lording over on the left. It reminds me of  Sand Beach in Maine

It’s probably their local beach, small and dirty, compare to Copacabana beach, in size and cleanliness. And very crowded during the holiday.

The water is calmer than Copacabana beach but the swirls of garbage turn me off.

Our Uber came but drove off without stopping – not a nice thing. We then waited for 30 minutes for the next Uber to come.



Feb 12 2024

Parque Garota de Ipanema

Av. Francisco Bhering, 2-224 – Arpoador,
Rio de Janeiro, – RJ, 22080-050, Brazil

… more pix on Google Maps & TA

Parque Garota de Ipanema means Girl From Ipanema Park. Girl From Ipanema  was a song that won a Grammy in 1965.

We entered that park from Rue Francisco Otaviano street, where it has a few horses and more inside the park, with the police.

The park has direct access to Arpoador beach and Diabo beach. It was their holiday and we didn’t stay long to explore, other than to the beaches and soon left: both were so packed!

Feb 12 2024

Arpoador beach

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

… more pix on Google Maps & TA

A smaller beach, west of Copacabana Beach with great sunset view. It’s an easy walk from Copacabana Fort.

We went there from Parque Garota de Ipanema, and walked a few steps east to Diabo beach.

It’s their holiday Monday, the beach is jammed with people. The waves are pretty strong to swim.



Feb 12 2024

Sugarloaf Cable Car 

Red Beach & Copacabana Beach

Av. Pasteur, 520 – Urca,
Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22290-240, Brazil

… more pix & videos on Google Maps, TA

This is a must go: high atop the Sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar), which is the small hill on the western side of the ocean/bay mouth. The mouth is nearly a mile wide mouth, the Atlantic Ocean to the south and the Guanabara Bay to the north.

To the west, under the Cristo Redentor / Christ the Redeemer’s feet, is the city of Rio. SDU airport, light colored buildings, shanty towns on the dark green hills, white beaches, little islands – the Bay is dotted by more than 130 islands. All are surrounded by gleaming waters, making it picturesquely enchanting.

The cable car has two stops: the first one is at Morro da Urca (elevation 722′ or 220m), and the second/last stop is at the summit, Sugarloaf mountain (not sure mountain is fitting here), with 1,299′ (396m) elevation.

The cable car operation opened in 1912. The four gondolas we were in, have no a/c.

The cafes at both stops have great views as well.

We left our hotel at 8:30, and again, seeing dressed up (or early dressed) crowds – the carnival is raging on. Many roads were closed. Heavy traffic jam made the drive an hour long ordeal.

We finally arrived at Praça General Tibúrcio / General Tibúrcio Square, where the entrance to the cablecar is at. There wasn’t any lines, both to the gondola and ticket window. But ticket pick up was a long affair, when they demanded our ID. For Pete’s sake, why selling online but not issuing digital ticket? Secondly, on the ticket site there wasn’t any warning that ID is needed for ticket pick up.

Once the physical tickets in hand, we got up quickly.

Stop 1 @ Morro da Urca

To my left shoulder, it’s Praia do Flamengo beach.

Stop 1 has Augusto Ferreira Ramos (1860-1939) statue, the engineer who dreamed up this project in 1908. Behind him is a hallowed Love sculpture. The helicopter tour starts and ends here too.

There are trails to Morro da Urca and Sugarloaf, if you prefer to hike, instead of paying for the cable car.

We’ve our breakfast here, watching a few planes land at SDU.

The bottom right corner is Urca. Top left is Praia de Botafogo beach.

Urca is a 7,000 resident neighborhood, traditional and wealthy. It was the first Portuguese settlement, established in 1565. The French came 12 years after, in 1577. Many hikers climb the 2.3 mile out-and-back trail that lead to the Stop 1 at the cable car.

The helicopter pad, with the Christ the Redeemer statue (we chose not to go) in the background. SDU is to the right in the middle of the photo.

Stop 2 @ the summit Sugarloaf Mountain

After breakfast, we slowly made our way to the summit. Again, no queue at the cable car station.

We’ve drinks at Clássico Beach Club and hike the heavily shaded downward spiral trail.



Feb 12 2024

Classico Beach Club – Urca

Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro

… more pix and videos on Google Maps, Yelp, TA.

Def will return.

Killer views of Copacabana Beach, Red Beach and beyond.

Good but slow service, which is fine for us.

We just had our breakfast at Stop one, could only have some drinks here.

  1. capuccino – coffee
  2. mate da casa – herb tea
  3. chopp sul Americana – draft  beer

People don’t mind sharing tables. As we wee about to leave, the young boy came after me, and pointing to us and then to the table. We’re grateful. They left shortly after.

Compare to our breakfast at the lower level, which was tranquil. Here is in constant motion, from the staff and customers.

It’s a free for all, in a sense that many freeloaders come by and take pictures and videos. Some linger considerable time – especially an Asians . I did ask one of them, who posed, changed head gears, sun glasses … “did you take may good picture? Not ordering any drinks?”
A young man in the group caught up quickly, “does that bother you?”
No it doesn’t. Why do I refuse a freak show?

Feb 12 2024

Diabo Beach

State of Rio de Janeiro

Praia do Diabo is a small beach, near the southern end of Copacabana Beach, or the Copacabana Fort. A stone throw away, however, the water is colder.

… more pix n videos on Google Maps

We went there from Garota de Ipanema, and Arpoador is to the southern tip, or at the bottom of the V. Monday is their holiday, at 5pm, it’s still packed solid.

We dip into the water and left, to Cafe 18 do Fort.

Feb 12 2024

Chon Kou 中国餐馆

Av. Atlântica, 3880 – Copacabana
Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22070-002, Brazil

Will return.

… more pix on Google Maps, Yelp & TA

How did we end up here: we planed to have lunch at Emile. Google shows it opens 24/7 but when we got there at 2:50 – spent too much time at the top – Sugarloaf and Praia Vermelha. They said come back at 7.

So we walked toward south a few steps and saw a Spanish and Chinese restaurants. We picked the Spanish, oh how I would love to have paella. But the young maid said to me in a low voice: “just you know this is a Spanish, the Chinese is next door.”
So here we’re, the unwanted guests -:)

The location is excellent, on the second floor, looking out to the Copacabana Beach. A silver of Hotel Emile can be spotted from the windows.

The decor is 1972, the year they started in business.

The service is good, other than messed up order. My best guess is the language barrier – me not speaking Portuguese. Does Irene speak anything at all? Not really -:( …

We’ve pickled cucumbers, mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐and eggs with tomato 番茄炒鸡蛋. They totally forgot the cucumber and eggs tomatoes became eggs and ham. Their food is so much better than Canton. And this is the only meal that we finished everything, a small feast.

They’re kind enough to charge our phone – thank you.