John and Gerry reach Brazil - South America


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Statue of Christ on top of Corcvoado Mountian

Statue of Christ on top of Corcvoado Mountian

It was our plan all along to fly into Rio but there was no direct flight into it so we settled instead for São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city which lies only a few hundred kilometers south of Rio itself. We also choose it with the intention of riding up to this famed city once we landed. Incidentally for your edification, Rio is seemingly pronounced Hio in Portuguese. Not alone is there not a direct flight to Rio from Cape Town but to even get to São Paulo we first had to take an internal connection flight up to Johannesburg. Leaving Cape Town at 5 in the morning Table Mt. looked fabulous in the breaking gray light and the distant mountains looked like dark clouds set against a steel blue horizon. Our flight up to Johannesburg took 2 hours and coupled with the flight across to São Paulo, which took 9 hours, it made for a long day in the plane. Flying West over Namibia the desert below us looked descriptively beautiful from such a height and no doubt is beautiful on the ground to until you get lost in it. As we crossed out to sea the coastline forms an endless line of sand with a white and inhospitable landscape which must have looked terrifying to Da Gama and his crew as they ventured south along these shores, and yet again from the plane it was a fabulous sight. Doubtless God’s view is plain too. Whatever about the question of the beauty of Namibia’s coastline there can be no argument over Brazil’s.

Anna at san paulo airport who helped us to clear customs 30 11 02

Anna at San Paulo airport who helped us to clear customs
beach near Ubatuba on coast road to Rio de janeiro 11 02

Beach near Ubatuba on coast road to Rio de Janeiro

coconut stall on copacabana beach 3-12-02

Coconut stall on Copacabana beach
15copacabana beach 3-12-02

Copacabana beach

16copacabana beach rio 3-12-02

Copacabana beach Rio
17largest football stadium in the world in rio

Largest football stadium in the world in Rio

Hitting the coastline north of Rio we flew south over this fabled bay with its Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana beach but for me the surprising revelation was the unexpected and fantastic shoreline to the south down to São Paulo, which consisted of an incredibly winding coastline of bays that snaked in and out through forest covered hills and off shore there were numerous islands. As we flew into São Paulo itself it struck both of us as one of the most extensive and densely populated cities either of us had ever seen with a population of at least 20 million and being Brazil’s largest city this of course is not altogether surprising but it still leaves you unprepared for the sheer size of it as you approach it from the air. At the airport we arranged for a hotel in the nearby suburb of Guarulhos with the intention of picking up our bikes the next day. Four days later we are still here as it has proved very complicated to get a bike into this country as it is Friday today it will be at the very least Monday by the time we get access to them, if at all, as there is still a question mask hanging over the whole thing. After our experience in Cairo I remarked to John that we could meet worse and he was very doubtful about my remark. Whereas everybody here couldn’t be more sympathetic and everything is above board it nonetheless is a far more difficult situation than Cairo. For my own part I don’t mind as these long days hanging around have afforded me time to catch up on writing this internet report which I have as ever neglected for a period.

18rio beach 3-12-02

Rio beach

Rio beach

The people here in Brazil strike me as very friendly and there is a refreshing attitude to race with everyone here mixing irrespective of ethnic background though perhaps wealth and poverty are the black and whites of this continent. Having avoided the rain for so long by staying ahead of it in Africa, our flying back up north of Capricorn has flown us back into the rainy season. The climate here in São Paulo is in the 30’ and humid at this time of the year. The first night we arrived the heavens opened with thunder and lightning and as we drove out to the airport in the morning the muddy conditions of the side roads made them look like a quagmire and made us hope we won’t be going off road here. By 9 o’clock the roads had dried up however. The pattern here most days has been glorious clear sunny skies in the morning with a build up overcast muggy conditions by evening with lightning and thunder lightning up the sky at night often without any rain since it might be 30 miles distant. Yesterday morning however we were in São Paulo center and on the way out I remarked to John how dark and heavy the clouds were to the south. By the time we reached Guarulhos which is about 20 kms out the evening news reports were showing the whole center of the city completely covered by flash floods with cars stranded and rivers overflowing their banks. This morning again it’s beautiful and sunny and so it goes.


21view of Rio 4-12-02

View of Rio
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