Black Girl TravelSolo TravelSouth America

Not So Lonely At The Top

It’s Sunday and it’s hot, hotter than the Brazilians playing on the beach down below me. I’m in my studio apartment with the AC off and windows open inviting the sounds and scents of Copacabana inside. Umm should I call my friends and go out? No, no friends today, today I’ve decided to spend time with myself so here I am undecided and hot in my room.


It’s hot in the taxi. “Por favor, yo tengo calor”, while fanning myself. The driver looked at me weird but unknown to him, I’ve been using my sketchy Spanish to compensate for my lack of Portuguese language skills while living here in Brazil.  Despite the language barrier, he got the message, finally I’m cool and he began playing tour guide, in Portuguese, while I alternated between a blank face, a few ahhs and yo comprendo! I love taking taxis in Rio, English is rarely spoken by the drivers but with the low Brazilian Reals exchange rate and the low cost of the taxi rides, one could go just about anywhere for under US$10! Where am I going you ask? I’ll show you…

So here I am at Sugarloaf Mountain and as I got on queue for the lift I vacillate with my decision to go alone. All around me are groups and couples yet here I am by myself. Come on, you don’t need friends to have fun- you see I was that person who would stare and wonder why anyone would go to the movies alone- I just couldn’t do it. But somehow I convinced myself to spend this Sunday in Rio, actively outside doing something fun. Am I having fun? No not really, well not yet anyway, it’s too hot and the line is too long and I’m feeling a little self conscious as people stare at me possibly wondering why is she here by herself? OK, that’s interesting, people are interesting and so I re-decided, if that’s a word,  that I was gonna enjoy this day.

Finally I’m in the packed cable car, camera ready, feet shoulder width apart, aim. Blown away, so much so I forgot to snap! So you have all seen the pictures of Rio, I’d been there two weeks already but hadn’t gone on that group hike (like seriously? Hiking at 6 am after the night we had in Boto Fogo?) so this was my first time seeing it from this vantage point. It was truly breathtakingly beautiful. The greens and blues, the islands and ‘mountains’ in the ocean just took my breath away. The cable car ride lasted about 10 minutes and once on Sugarloaf mountain I got a 360 view that was worth the sweltering  heat. Many, many pictures later, a few selfies and a few ‘where are you from?’ and other socializing, it was time to head back down the mountain and as I waved goodbye to Christ the Redeemer (visible from here but totally worth the trip so do both) I was so in awe of myself, I overcame myself today.

I spent an amazing remainder of the day exploring Copacabana and capped it off with dinner at this cute but pricey restaurant- I made that waiter’s day though! But that’s a story for another time.

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