Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar)

It was a zoom at first sight. We landed in Rio de Janeiro under a fine mist.  Thick clouds draped over mountains encircling this lovely and confusing city.  The Sugarloaf however, stood out in the coastal water so clearly that we could make out its baguette like shapes even from the seat of our fly-by-taxi, including the cable lines running between peaks.  Gondolas zipping on these cables inspired visions of ourselves flying high and breezing through the thin air in high altitude.  Were those eagles gliding near the peaks, dashing in and out of an occasional cluster of mist?  Were they eying some unfortunate fish down below?  Or were they amusing themselves surfing the airwaves thrashing among the mountain, the forest and the sea?

It was a love at first sight too.  Though I didn't have time to capture the moment, it was for the best.  Seeing things with my own eyes made the best of all cameras, and the sight bore stronger impressions into my memory.

Harbor / Sea / City view atop the first level gondola ride

I was sure of that as we boarded our gondola on our first Saturday here.  We'd paid the price of endurance in the hot sun (for nearly two hours) besides cold hard cash and then some.  The boy secured a good spot in the gondola with his speed and agility among the sweaty, anxious and pushing crowd, growing in stature and wisdom as he was.  I gave a pat on his back and let my eyes wonder, among mists, shiny white dots made by sale boats under the sun, cobalt blue waters,  white wave lines drawn on pale yellow sand and peoples' faces in various shades of excitement, annoyance, sun worn fatigue, wonder and awe.  At one point and another, I found myself experiencing these emotions as the gondola came closer toward the green mountain wall and then as if by magic, climbed above it to a clear landing area.

The ride was far too short (three minutes!), for the wait, but not for the level in which we found ourselves.  We were now in the company of eagles, as they flew beneath our feet.

Sea / Island view atop second gondola ride


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