Continued hot today with very little breeze.
No tour today so we planned to go back to the terminal and take the tour of the H Stern Jewelry Factory located near Ipanema Beach. As soon as we got to the H Stern booth, we were led to a comfortable van and headed out. Our route took us through various parts of the city -–there were revelers wandering around and some of the streets had Carnival floats parked on them.
More Carnival Folks
Once you get out of the city center, Rio is very lush with vegetation – almost looks like a rainforest with the tree density on the hills. We passed the huge lake in the center of suburban Rio – Lagos Rodrigo de Freitas. The traffic was not bad and about a half hour later, we were at the H Stern World Headquarters in the Ipanema Beach neighborhood.
We were shown in – I’m sure security was high – and given visitor’s passes. We also got little audio units that would describe what we were seeing in the factory tour. The systems worked well and we saw how the stones go from rocks to jewelry. Although it was a National Holiday, there were plenty of workers and hostesses around for the customers.
There was even a samba couple there for us to take pictures of.
Samba Dancers (H Stern)
The tour took only a few minutes and then we sat down with a rep for a few minutes – very low pressure selling and after downing a complimentary Coke Zero, we started off to Ipanema Beach. The H Stern Headquarters is in a very posh area – full of gated condos and trendy shops – like Rodeo Drive. Today, most places were closed.
It was a very short walk to the beach – probably because of the competing Carnival activities, the beach was not overly crowded. I walked down to the water’s edge to get shots of the beach in both directions and also of Sugarloaf Mountain (FYI: Sugarloaf is a single granite monolith) in the distance. The beach was wide with legendary white sand – it was also clean.
The Girl From Ipanema
On the Beach
Ipanema Beach, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Brazilianos
We walked through the streets of Ipanema for a while checking out the upscale condos and folks in their costumes.
Dash and the Incredibles
Because of the heat, we went back to H Stern for our ride back. We got there just as a shuttle was leaving. The ride back was a different story – heavy traffic, closed streets, crazy drivers. At one point, we were on the street where we could see our ship but the van did not go there. Instead, he drove through a miles long tunnel and had to take another 30 minutes to double back to the terminal. The whole ride took about over an hour – fortunately, the air conditioning worked. One of the highlights was driving past a huge group of Carnival folks in front of a government building.
We had a late lunch – the ship was pretty warm inside but we found a cool place on Deck 6 opposite the Explorer’s Lounge. A good place to read and needlepoint.
Dinner tonight was in the Dining Room. I had pre-ordered Kosher stuffed cabbage but when it arrived, I swapped it out for Fried Sole from the menu. Carrot Cake was a tasty dessert.
Showtime tonight was the 8:30 PM Second Show with Mark Merchant – he brought out his other character - Jose Diego Jones, Mexican Bald Eagle. It was a very political show sometimes cheered by the audience and sometimes not. But it was entertaining.