Destination Rio de Janeiro, the second travel to the former capital of Brazil..
From Copacabana to Niterói by bus, along the harbor district in Rio de Janeiro.
Day 3, 11.00
Day three of my second stay in Rio. For today, there was an interesting trip: a bus travel to a distant beach in Niterói. Niterói is located at the other side of the Guanabara Bay, which is connected though a long bridge. A shorter travel alternative – and probably much faster during rush hours – is the ferry. The ferry station is near the historic center. Since we already were transported by a coach, the same coach, with the same grumpy bus driver, was used to transport us to that beach. We would follow the bridge of almost nine kilometers long.
It was agreed that the bus would arrive at ten-thirty. We had to walk to the bus stop, where we had to wait for more than thirty minutes. Grumpy the bus driver’s mood did not improve, when our leaders asked him when he was about to arrive. Without saying a word he let us enter his bus and departed. It was a long route, along the beaches of Copacabana and Leme, followed by Urca – famous for the Pão de Açúcar -, Botafogo and Flamengo, heading for the historical center. A bit north of the historical center, there was the entrance of the bridge. It was sunny, we were all in a sunny mood. A holiday mood. A bus travel, some hours on the beach. What else would you wish on such a sunny day?
We first passed the beaches of Botafogo and Flamengo. It was very quiet there, it was still early. Moreover, it wasn’t vacation time. It was hard to imagine that these beaches will be really crowded during the season in January and February. The city should then be overcrowded: locals, Brazilian and foreign tourists celebrating carnival, enjoying the beaches. We noticed the hilltops of Pão de Açúcar and Morro da Urca. They were connected with each other by cables of the cable-way. The large gondolas were full. Full of tourists who pay a relatively high fare for the cable-way trips.
It only took a short while before we could see the bridge, but we were still a few kilometers away. We came along the Estação Hidroviário, the ferry boat station. We didn’t see any ferry in the Guanabara Bay. We then noticed a giant cruise ship, the ‘Costa Fortuna’. That ship was really huge! I counted no less than eight decks in this sea monster. Clearly, we had approached the harbor of Rio. Rio is the second largest harbor in Brazil, while Santos, near São Paulo is the largest. Enormous cranes were located along the quay; they appeared to be waiting patiently for their next job that should arrive overseas. There was a railway parallel to the quay. The slogan “Exportar agora é fácil (exporting is now simple) was clear: the Brazilian exports are booming. Also the imports, mostly from China, were increasing. Was it the start of a Brazilian economic miracle?
A but further away, we noticed high piles of containers. Many containers bore widely known brand names. You would see these names in other harbors like Rotterdam or Antwerp. However, a large number of the containers bore the name of a large exporting country: China. Export products, such as giant metal cylinders, formed a neat pile near a crane. The white of the roofs of thousands of orderly positioned cars hurt our eyes. The neat rows of these vehicles gave you the impression that there was some small mechanized army. A ship was anchored near the rows of cars. The size of this vessel exceeded that of the cruise ship. What should be the destination of the cars? Probably the United States or Europe.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom.
- A Foreigner in Brazil (38): DEC 2006 (IV). Rio de Janeiro and Niterói: Beaches, Gardens and Rocks (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- A Foreigner in Brazil (35): DEC 2006, part one. Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012): Contemporary Art Museum, NITERÓI (RJ) (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (39). Sunset At Ipanema Beach (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- COLORFUL BRAZIL: Apartment Block, Rio de Janeiro (RJ) (adrianoantoine.wordpress.com)