Nov 25:  Rio de Janeiro

I was awakened by Eli and Becky with some talk of hang gliding, but I think Eli just slept in.  I ultimately awoke at 11am.  Didn't feel as bad as the day before.

I think we were overly fearful of pickpockets, because I didn't have any trouble.  However, the 6 condoms in my sock and the one I was wearing were all gone.  I didn't use them.  And the camera?  Let's just say it was destroyed.  (Thanks to Lance for laughing at this 2-day joke.  Others didn't have the same reaction and I'm hoping it was just the delivery, so I'm putting it in writing here so you can think about it.)

We checked out of Mellow Yellow and transferred to the Hotel Santa Clara, where we were to rejoin the group.

Eli said I smelled of alcohol, so it must have been a good night.

Eli desperately needed money.  HSBC is her bank and we knew where one was in Ipanema, so we took a taxi down there to figure out why her card wasn't working.  But the HSBC was closed on Saturdays.  So we went to an Internet cafe that had phone booths.  It took an entire afternoon of walking back and forth between the Internet cafe and numerous ATMs, and three phone calls to HSBC that cost R$80, before the problem with the card was straightened out.  What a relief when the ATM finally made a different sound and starting dealing out cash.

In the Internet cafe in Ipanema, guess what song came on the radio?  Yep, "Copacabana".  Like when the Simpsons were back to normal except for lizard tongues:  "eh, close enough".

We walked back from Ipanema and got pineapple juice (like the coconuts, it was more refreshing than flavorful).  It was late afternoon and we hadn't eaten all day, so we went to that pizza place on the beach again and had the same things as before.  Heading back to the hotel we saw two precious 2-month-old puppies for sale in a box.  I let one of them lick my hand, which I realized was covered with pineapple juice that had spilled.  I commented that I'd just given him the best treat of his short life.

Although I hadn't had my pocket picked, when I awoke in the morning I couldn't find whatever was left from the R$75 I took to the street party.  I would have stuck it in my shoe when I went to bed but it wasn't there.  No big worry, but it had me wondering if I'd spent it all.  But at the hotel I put on jeans to go out to dinner and found R$49 in the pocket.

We met up with the group, who had now arrived in Rio and checked in, and prepared for our farewell dinner.  It was at a decent restaurant, where for R$22 you got all you can eat plus pizza slices brought around like in Iguassu.  Problem is we'd just eaten pizza on the beach and I wasn't very hungry.  Plus I was "off" all day due to the partying and didn't have much of an appetite.  But at least I had the fried shrimp I was craving.

The entire group, one final time.  John looks very tan and sweaty here so I wasn't the only one.  Oh yeah, there was a power outage during dinner and when everything came back up the air conditioner kicked in full blast.  It was frigid but at least we could evaporate.

Holy crap!  This is why I always try to get a haircut right before I travel.  The hair is all poofy and dry from the shower, while the rest of me is somewhat sweaty.  And I couldn't shave because of the humidity.  I don't look my best in any of these photos.

After dinner, 8 of us went to the Mellow Yellow bar.  If you weren't staying there you had to pay R$10 to get in, but for that they gave you R$10 in fake money, which you could use to buy drinks.  So we go to buy drinks and the bartenders had no idea what this fake money was about.  They had to call downstairs to find out.  I spent only the R$10 on two 600-mL Antarcticas.  Most of the group was going out afterward, either to a club or Lapa, but Eli and I had had enough the last two nights, and went home around 12:45am.