Lost in Rio

Today I visited my friend Luiz at IMPA, which is in the Tijuca Forest in Rio de Janeiro, about an hour’s taxi ride from my hotel at Riocentro. After driving up a long winding mountain road the driver dropped me off.

The view was breathtakingly beautiful — it seemed to be a very popular spot for tourists. Also, just around the time the taxi drove away I realized I was in the wrong place.

My Google phone has no reception here in Brazil, and I had a moment of panic. But then I realized that tourists have phones, which meant I could try to rely on the kindness of strangers.

Fortunately I knew just enough Portuguese to explain my predicament. A kindly Brazilian tourist with a cellphone called my friend Luiz for me.

The two of them were still talking on the phone when, to my surprise, my taxi driver walked into view. He gave me a happy smile and a friendly wave.

I gestured the driver over, and explained to the astonished tourist with the phone that this was the very same taxi driver who had dropped me off not ten minutes earlier. Apparently the driver had decided to park his cab down the road so he could take some photos of the great view from the mountain.

The tourist promptly handed his phone to the taxi driver so Luiz could give the driver proper directions to IMPA (it would end up taking another hour to get there). I profusely thanked the kindly Brazilian tourist, and we were off.

The good news, as you can see from this photo I snapped with my phone, is that it really was a spectacular view.


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