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NDRB

Photos from the 3/31/05 HAL Amsterdam sailing

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Just in case anyone wants to see them, here are a few of our photos from our recent sailing on the Amsterdam. The best way to view is to click on "slideshow..."

 

It was a wonderful itinerary with great people...

 

Just don't go onto the Copacabana beach in Rio after sunset (first two hours after sunset seem to be the worst)- muggers are rampant and the police won't do anything about a very obvious and continual problem....

 

http://community.webshots.com/album/338165956stGETz

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NDRB,

 

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photos with us. I cannot wait to see all this in January, 2006. I was sorry to read that you were mugged. Would you mind telling us about this as we will be staying at Copacabana beach for 3 nights pre cruise.

 

Jennie

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NDRB - Spectacular photo's, hope the mugging in Rio wasn't too expensive for you, hope you weren't hurt either. My hotel in January is supposed to be on Copacabana, I'll just stay indoors I think.

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Thank you so much for sharing your pictures - we really enjoyed the preview of our cruise with Aussie Gal and Hemi001 next January!

 

Julie

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Nina: thanks for the fabulous photos! I specially enjoyed your Rio and Cape Horn photos! When we sailed around Cape Horn, it was sunny and flat seas-kind of a disappointment of sorts (yes, I know I'm weird)--your weather/seas is more like what I had expected! It looks like you had a fabulous time and good weather where it counted!

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NDRB--Great photos. Thanks so much! It gets me excited about our trip around the Horn in Jan. 2006.

 

Bill, when did you take your trip that you had calm seas at Cape Horn? Don't worry, you're not weird. I also hope we have some exciting sea conditions for that part of the trip. :)

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Hopefully Ipanema is safer than Cocacabana beaches. That is what I have read at least. We are staying at Ipanema. I think I remember reading about your mugging, at the time, would you mid telling us about it again? Sorry it happened and thanks.

 

jc

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Thank you all for the very nice feedback about our photos!

 

Regarding the details on the mugging:

 

We had been to Rio 22 years before and hadn't been very favorably impressed (apart from the scenery!) and had been very much on guard for theft...

 

However, we had been picked up very efficiently by our very nice (pre-arranged online) taxi driver ( Leandro Braz: cbraz@openlink.com.br- we highly recommend him), we found our hotel (Excelsior Copacabana) to be very pleasant and well-situated, had a nice enough dinner at a restaurant (Bar Maxim's) immediately adjacent to the hotel (we had a wonderfully solicitous waiter who didn't speak a word of English) and were beginning to reconsider our rather negative views on Rio.

 

It was all of 7 pm- the sun had just set (the streets were filled with people) and, before getting to bed early after our long flight, we decided to quickly walk down to the water (right across the street from the hotel ) to check its temperature in the hope of spending part of the next day on the beach. There were lights on the beach and while there weren't too many people on the actual sand, it looked pretty much like a beach anywhere in the world just after sunset.

 

We were starting (somewhat apart) back up the beach from the water (we had been on the sand all of 5 minutes) when two running boys approached and yelled at us to give them our money- it was very much like a dream, as we had been fearing just such an encounter but were still in a state of total disbelief.... Frank threw his wallet far away on the ground and his shoes at one of them and began to run back up to the street, but I wasn't in a position to run away and wasn't about to give up my bag with my two cameras in it (yes, they were hidden inside)- I yelled a profanity at the other boy ( about 20 years old) and said "No" and threw my shoes at him, as I saw no evidence of a gun. He said,"No?" and tackled me to the ground and took off my watch. I was a bit concerned that he might have a knife (which he fortunately turned out not to), but I was so angry that I bit his wrist REALLY hard as he was taking off my watch- I would have punched him or kicked him, but I was wearing a long skirt and also didn't want to relinquish my grip on the bag with my cameras (which I was wearing across my chest). After I bit him, he got up and ran off with just my watch.

 

Frank saw him take off with his buddy, and ran down the beach about a mile chasing after them- he thought they had taken my bag with the cameras- but wasn't able to catch up with them before they disappeared onto the street.

 

Well, once we found each other again, we spent the next two hours with the police filing a report- while we were in the little police station, SIX other (tourist- various nationalities) people came in to file robbery reports (and two very upset Italian men were with the police on the street when we were returned to our hotel- they even had their passports stolen!).

 

It is apparently a very routine racket for the boys to come down from the slums on the mountainside and attack tourists on the beach (but weapons are rarely involved). In fact, Frank went up to the hotel rooftop the next night at sunset with his binoculars and watched three similar tourist muggings take place (it only seems to go on for about two hours after dusk/sunset). Why the police don't do anything about it is beyond us- they have little kiosks in place, but the kiosks are across the four lane highway from the beach, and the police don't patrol the beach at all... @#@*#&$@#*

 

It really does make one furious! Frank thinks the police turn a blind eye to it as the kids don't seem to target locals and the local government could consider it as a kind of (freebie from the foreigners) welfare system for their poor. At any rate, we were unhurt and apart from my watch of which I was very fond, we only lost Frank's shoes, wallet, Visa card, and $40, so it could have been FAR worse.

 

So, do NOT go out on the beach at night unless you are in a group of more than four people and unless you have absolutely NOTHING of any value on you (and that means no watch and jewelry of any kind)...

 

We were very hesistant to even venture out of the hotel the next day, but we decided that we were not going to let the muggers get the better of us and did our planned tour with Leandro. We felt safe enough (taking usual precautions) touring Sugarloaf and Corcavado and walking the streets around H. Stern, but for the rest of the trip we felt VERY skittish whenever we were relatively alone (I'm not even talking about side streets or alleyways) and had a (local) man approach.

 

It was a HUGE relief to get on that ship and very cathartic to discuss our experience with other passengers. We did learn a couple of things:

 

(1) That two South African crew members had been similarly mugged in Rio- they chased down their muggers, caught them, beat them up, took them over to the police, who -GUESS WHAT- wanted to arrest the South Africans for assaulting Brazilians!!!! The crew members eventually had to bribe the police to let them go so they could get back on the boat, and the wretched police let the muggers go!

 

(2) That a woman on our cruise had her belongings stolen in broad daylight on Copacabana Beach- she had her things right next to her while she sunbathed, her husband stepped a few feet away from her side to take her picture, and a robber made off with her belongings....

 

I would be VERY careful at any time of day anywhere in Rio (women should wear bags across their chests and walk well away from the street, wear only $10 watches and no other jewelry, men should have their wallets in their front shirt pockets and put all but a few dollars in a concealed money belt or even inside their socks), but especially on the beach. (Buenos Aires has its problems, of course, but really felt like a FAR more civilized place....)

 

It would be a terrible shame not to see Rio's sights, but just don't go out with anything you wouldn't be prepared to lose....

 

Nina (who has absolutely no plans to ever return to Rio)

 

Another interesting thing- at the airport, the Brazilians only fingerprint and take pictures of AMERICANS (but only those who are not obviously pregnant, disabled, elderly, or under 12).....

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Nina,

 

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. We will be certainly be extra cautious when in Rio and will definitely not go near the beach at sundown. I have read that when you go to the beach just take a towel and nothing else so perhaps that is what we will do. We will be staying right opposite the beach at the Sofitel. It is scary but I do want to see this beautiful and confronting city.

 

Jennie

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Sailsalot: Sorry for the delayed response---we were out of town for a few days last week. We rounded Cape Horn on December 26, 2003! It was a beautiful day and rounding Cape Horn is a lifetime memory, regardless of the weather and seas! :)

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