On Thursday morning we woke up early for our ride back down the dirt road to go into Fortaleza. We ate breakfast and said our goodbyes to PRECE and our new friends, then started driving. With most of us asleep and unaware, apparently a rock got trapped between the tires of the bus causing it to pop and forcing us to stop to get a replacement. We all got out of the bus and are stood outside a tire shop in the middle of Pentecoste.
Finally we made our way to the Fortaleza airport and headed for Rio. Once we got to Rio we were greeted by the grandfather of a Pace 3rd grader and his students from the south!!! It was a complete surprise! They welcomed us with Brazilian soccer Jerseys with our names and Pace on them. This, naturally caused us to stand out like Americans…or a Brazilian soccer team. We couldn’t decide. Either way, we loved the feel and look of the shirts! And, how fun to meet another group of students! After such a warm welcome we got on the tour bus and headed to the hotel. Once arriving we all took the first warm showers of the trip and finally got to see ourselves in the mirror!!!
We went to dinner at a Brazilian Steakhouse with an all you an eat buffet. We all got stuffed off beef then headed for a dance show of Brazilian dances around the country and throughout history. While participating and watching half naked dancers, we all had a great time. Late that night we went to bed and prepared for our last day.
We all packed up and ate breakfast early in the morning. Piling all our bags into one room, we all checked out. We got into the tour bus to head to Corcovado- the Christ Redeemer. As we headed up the mountain on the train we instantly felt the temperature change while going into the clouds. We came back down and drove to the Maracana stadium that hosted the World Cup, and we learned some history about the Brazilian soccer teams. We then went to lunch at a buffet style restaurant where we were able to try different types of pork and chicken dishes from around Brazil. After lunch we went to see murals representing 5 of the contents that had been painted on Olympic Boulevard. Then we went to the Sugarloaf gondola, hoping to go up the mountain to get a different view of the city. However, we never made it up due to a shootout between police and 2 nearby gangs. So we decided to head to the beach to walk around. We went to Ipanema beach for some pictures then back to the hotel for some shopping and getting ready for our departure.
Late on Friday night we boarded our last flight of the trip!
- Ben C and Davis