Destination Rio de Janeiro, the first travel to the former capital of Brazil.
Entering Rio de Janeiro through the Linha Vermelha, the Red Line to Flamengo and Botafogo.
Day 2, 07.30 a.m.
The sun climbed higher in the sky, and sent its warm rays to heat the earth. Inside the bus, the night chill gradually was replaced by pleasant warmth. The windows of the bus, which were shut during our nightly journey through the mountains between Minas and Rio, were opened one by one. We passed the city of Duque de Caxias and entered the Linha Vermelha highway. This highway would lead us further to Rio, and then deeper in the city itself. The bus driver did not know Rio very well, and had to maneuver the bus over various lanes to keep the correct direction. Unfortunately, none of us – including the driver – had a good map of the city. The Linha Vermelha (Red Line) is a continuation of the BR-040, the highway between Belo Horizonte and Rio. Next to the Linha Vermelha, there is also a Linha Amarela (Yellow Line), leading to the famous Barra da Tijuca, a renowned spa. We passed the building of “O Globo”, one of the biggest media companies of Brazil. It is an obvious building, with the roof that appears being lifted up by numerous pillars.
Then we passed the International Airport of Rio de Janeiro Aeroporto: Antônio Carlos Jobim, in short Tom Jobim, named after the exponent of Brazilian music, who died in 1994. He is considered to be one of the creators of the Bossa Nova. And also the famous “Girl from Ipanema” is from his hand. The airport is built on an island called “Ilha do Governador”. From this location it is about 20 kilometers to the center of Rio. And from the center to Ipanema is another dozen kilometers. A few silver aircraft buzzed above our heads, heading for the airport. At the airport, some tail wings of parked aircraft were visible. Near the center of Rio is another airport: Aeroporto Santos Dumont, named after the aviation pioneer, who made one of the world’s first flights, in Paris. This airport provides regional flights, mainly to and from São Paulo.
University Island and harbor
Just past the airport there was another island, Ilha de Fundão. It is an artificial island, which was created between existing small islands. This island is the base of one of the largest public universities of Brazil: the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ abbreviated (OE-FFE-RRE-Jota). Until the seventies, this island was difficult to access, because the military junta then feared possible revolts by students against the regime. The island was not very visible from the highway. More visible was the port of Rio, just past the long bridge to Niterói. The port was easily recognized by numerous cranes and stacked shipping containers. Containers with names of well-known freight companies, and many containers originated from China.
I was cautious with the use of my camera. I did not reveal the camera too often. After each picture I hid it from sight. Because we drove slowly, we were in a morning rush hour. Between the rows of vehicles, mobile vendors walked and cycled with bottled water, small snacks, and morning newspapers. Most of these vendors may have good intentions, and will have no interest in the property of the passengers. But a few would be interested, and they might snatch your belongings with a sudden and rapid movement out of your hands. I received this warning from a fellow traveler, who knew Rio very well. The others were also cautious and hid their belongings.
A truck drove next to us. One of the many. But this car had a octagonal-shaped sticker on the cargo hold. With a clear text indicating, that this vehicle is monitored by GPS, and that the driver has no influence on changing the planned route. Any deviation from his route may alert the highway patrol to take action. This advanced protection is intended as an effective weapon against truck thefts. An expensive but apparently practical solution.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom © 2007, 2015