On November 1, we flew from Traverse City to Chicago, and then on to Miami. The only glitch occurred about two miles from our house, when John realized that he had left his passport and money on the dresser at home. Not a problem – Marcy & John had picked us up early enough so that we still arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. The first flight was a bit late, and there was no issue catching the next one at O'Hare. Naturally, the walk was long, but walking in airports was our only exercise that day.
In Miami, we had a six hour layover, and utilized some of the time to attend a five minute interview with the folks from Homeland Security, so we could get our Global Entry passes. Otherwise we walked a lot, and also spoke to some friends and relatives.
The next leg of the trip was 7½ hours to Rio de Janeiro, leaving at 10:40 PM, arriving at breakfast time in Brazil. They fed us dinner, and everyone tried to sleep. It was very quiet, but I never get the kind of rest in an airplane seat that I do in a real bed. We had paid extra for economy comfort bulkhead seats, so we had footrests, and nobody passing by us, but it still isn't that comfy. Both of us took short naps today to catch up on a bit of sleep, so we are fine now.
Rio is one time zone east of Eastern Standard Time, and they will also go off Daylight Savings Time this weekend. Going through Brazilian immigration was a snap, the luggage came quickly, and there was a short wait to send our bags through scanners again, but we were out and with our guide, Eugenio, within 40 minutes of landing. Most of that time was walking from the gate to the main terminal.
Eugenio drove us to our hotel, pointing out a variety of sites along the way. We will be here for four nights, at the Copacabana Palace, where our room faces the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. It's a ninety year old building, but extremely well kept and renovated, so we are happy. Many notable people have stayed here – like the Queen of England and the Rolling Stones. One corridor off the lobby has a photo gallery of famous former guests. Our room is lovely, though I imagine that the Queen must have stayed in a royal suite. The service is superb, we were able to get into our room right away, and we had an excellent breakfast buffet after we dropped off our bags.
Then it was off to explore a bit. We crossed the street to walk for a while along the mosaic sidewalk fronting the beach, and then took off our shoes to head down to the water. Today is a holiday, so there were a lot of families out enjoying the water and wide expanse of sand. See the photos. The city has closed off half of the highway for pedestrian use, so it's not crowded at all. There is also a good-sized bike lane that is well-used, both by locals and tourists. We have a free day on Monday, so perhaps we will rent some bikes and tour a bit further. The weather is humid, but not oppressive, and today it went up to the high 70s. There were some people swimming, but apparently many locals think it's not warm enough to hit the waves.
As we headed back towards the hotel, we noticed a big crowd on the sidewalk across the street. We went over to investigate, and found lots of folks in costume, with numerous makeup artists doing up others to look quite ghoulish. I asked a local what was going on; apparently a "Zombie Walk" was about to take place within the hour or so. It's still Halloween in Rio!