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Journal page 9

 4/9/96  We spent a long night wending our way from Manaus to Rio de
 Janeiro.  On the last two legs, from Manaus to Brasilia and from Brasilia
 to Rio the flights were pretty empty and we had room to stretch out.  We
 had a nearly three hour layover in the Brasilia airport.  It is more modern
 than any airport we have seen anywhere in the world.  It is pretty but the
 carpets are destroyed by many cigarette burns.  We were supposed to stay in
 a round holding area with just a little bookstore and coffee bar.  We snuck
 out to check out the airport shopping and find a money machine.  The ATM
 gave us a choice of American dollars or Brazilian reals.  This was the only
 ATM we found in Brazil that accepted US ATM cards.  A woman at Citibank in
 Rio told us that the banks were working on the computer programs they need
 for this and they expected them to be working throughout the country this
 Summer.  The shopping was not great.  The best airport shopping in Latin
 America was at the Bogota airport.   
 Coming into Rio was one of the most awesome experiences.  After endless
 miles of jungles, then plains, huge oddly formed mountains rise from the
 plains.  The airplane gained altitude to go over then then banked sharply
 and swooped into Rio.  The shoreline bends and wanders.  Lumps of mountains
 burst up here and there and islands cluster near the shoreline.   It is a
 city of great geographic diversity.  The huge signature statue of Christ
 the Redeemer is easily visible from the air.  Unfortunately, the city is
 blanketed with smog. 
 On arriving in Rio I got a phone card and called the Copacabana Pria Youth
 Hostel.  They have a kitchenette room available, but it is $35/night.  One
 of our bags didn't come out right away but we found it in the Varig holding
 room.  Whew!  We took the air conditioned bus which dropped us off at the
 beach road about six blocks from the hostel.  We passed huge modern
 buildings, beautiful old churches and auditoriums and ghettos.  Because of
 our backpacks and the oppressive heat we decided to take a taxi for that
 six blocks.  The first taxi driver we approached did not know the way to
 the address we showed him in the travel guide.  The little Portuguese we
 studied was not working at all.  We felt the Spanish speaking South
 Americans were much more accepting and good humored about our efforts to
 speak their language than were the Portuguese ones.  The next taxi driver,
 using the map and asking directions from a hotel porter, still got lost.  I
 kept saying, "no Senor, aqui!" and pointing, but he ignored me.  Lost will
 always remind us of the taxi drivers in Rio.  This seemed to be a recurring
 problem here.  As a tourist with a very  basic little map in my Lonely
 Planet guidebook, I was much more aware of where I was going than the taxi
 drivers.  They would look at the map and where I was pointing, or the notes
 from the hotel clerk, nod understanding, then drive off to Never, Never
 The hostel appears to be clean but we saw a couple roaches in the kitchen. 
 I rewashed all the dishes.  I then walked to find a doctor to see about my
 rash.  I was directed to a local clinic where I was treated promptly (I
 think ahead of others who had been waiting--but by now, the rash was pretty
 impressive...huge red spots, pox like, covering my arms, legs and moving to
 my torso.)  The doc prescribed three shots of cortisone to be
 self-administered each five days, daily tablets and cortisone cream.  He
 refused to charge for the visit, but the medications cost about $70. 
 I went grocery shopping where prices were comparable to the US.  Milk is
 classed as A, B and C...whole milk to skim in that order.  It is packaged
 in plastic bags.  The steak was tough but good.  
 We feel very safe walking on these streets.  There is a park across the
 street from the hostel where old men play cards and children play while