The harbour at Rio de Janeiro is beautiful and quite distinctive. On one side is the unmistakeable Sugar Loaf Mountain and on the other is Corcovado with the colossal statue of Christ the Redeemer on the summit.

We had two days in Rio so we decided to go sightseeing on the first day and shopping on the second.

The city has some very fine rich looking buildings, but as we  left the city we saw a huge contrast as we passed the shanty towns clinging to the hillsides. Here some of the dwellings appeared to be just corrugated iron sheets hanging together. I have never been back so I don’t know whether conditions have improved over the 40+ years with the improving economy. I really hope they have.

It was lovely and cool up in the mountains and we had a splendid lunch to celebrate B.’s birthday and then went down to one of the beaches (I can’t remember whether it was Ipanema or Copacabana)

Next day S. and I went out on our eagerly awaited shopping trip. The passengers had always been very generous with tips and when we arrived in Rio many of them gave us double tips because they knew how  tempting shops were.

Many of the shops sent courtesy cars to the quayside to convey us to their establishments so we availed ourselves of this service. Once again there were tempting arrays of leatherware, but the main attraction were the Aladdin’s caves of jewellery. Rio is one of the leading markets for gemstones of all varieties, but those I was most tempted by were amethysts, topazes and aquamarines, and it was a wonderful feeling to give in to the temptations!

Although it was late that evening when we left Rio the decks were lined with people taking a last look at the lights of Rio.

After another day cruising at sea we came to our last port in South America, Bahia.

We had only a few hours in Bahia, which was the first colonial capital. It had a quaint “old world” air with some fine houses and churches.

I went ashore with B. who was looking very smart in his “tropical white uniform”. On the quayside there were the usual tables manned by eager sellers, there was also an obsequious man with a gaggle of pretty girls. He slithered up to us and, ignoring me, addressing B. said, “You like to spend the afternoon with one of my daughters?”

B. laughed and said, “No thanks. I have my own lady!”

The “father” eyed me up and down approvingly and asked “How much do you want for her? I give you good price and give you one of my daughters!” 

B. (the rat!) pretended to consider the offer and then declined it!

He didn’t get off scot free though, he bought me a very nice pair of shoes from the nearby market.:)

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