13TH APRIL 2004

We met at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday 13th April.  Twenty one of us on a trip run by John Wright, coaches to shows.  We were soon on our way to sunny Rio!!

Arrived at 8. 15 am to lovely sunny skies and heat, a short trip to Hotel Rio Copa on Copacabana Beach area, coffee, check in room then quick change and hit the beach!

Copacabana beach is 3 kilometres long, white sand and path, sports go on all day and night.  The beach is in line with kiosks, bicycle path, sports go on all day and half the night.  The military forts at each end are open to visitors and offer panoramic views.

Shops are varied and reasonable and there are many markets which last late into the night.  Bars and open-air restaurants are open till the small hours and are very inexpensive and helpful, service is very good.  We ate in one of these most nights for about 10 for two including drinks.

Day two. A full day trip cruise around the tropical islands, lunch on one.  Another wonderful day, bus to the boat nineteen of us went all in holiday mood.  A Samba band came on board with us to play and sing to us all day, a guy was also doing a video for us to purchase later of events.  We all had great fun and plenty of pina-coladas.

Day three trip to Ipanema beach area, posh jewellers and local shops, free taxi by jewellers, free gifts, drink etc.  We did not buy from them but nice to look and see workshops and showrooms. Another glorious beach lined  with palm trees the sea here as in Copacabana has huge rolling surf, very clean and lots and lots of guys showing off their neat bodies exercising etc, made for interesting viewing.  We met a nutty guy who struck up a conversation with us and told us he was related to ROBIN HOOD would you believe !!

Day four,  trip to Corcovada, city tour and sugar-loaf.  A slight problem we missed the bus, not our fault we were told the wrong time.  Six of us in all the others included Florence Fahey and Joe Shires Bentarsna Lhasa, who were also on the trip.  After a phone call it was arranged that the tour would pick us up 12 '0 clock take us to the lunch and the rest of tour, we headed off to the market & internet cafe to e-mail Lyn Horton, Clair's mum (she never got it).

City tours was interesting but Sugar-loaf was wonderful, cable car up to the first views of endless beaches lush Atlantic forest, Santa Cruz fort and miniature palace on Fiscal Island, great.

Back to the hotel quick change then off to dinner and show trip.  Dinner was at a traditional Brazilian restaurant lots of salad fish and hot meats carved off big spits at table, with of course a few Caipirinhas.

The show was a parade of luxurious fabulous costumes and demonstrating the most important  events in the history of Brazil, bright vibrant music and singing featuring Capoeira folklore dancing and Macumba rhythm's and   Samba.  This lasted a couple of hours about 15 of our group had gone this night so it was great fun, Alan one of the group is back in UK "Miss Rose Garden" The Drag Queen, he kept us amused a good deal of the week !!

Day five.  We finally made it up to see Jesus the Redeemer on top of Corcovada hill, went up on the cog railway through the rain forest with stunning views of Rio on the way up.  When we got to the top instead of having to walk up loads of steps they have come into the twentieth century and have lifts and escalators right up to the top.  Jesus towers over  the city and has lights on him at night, looking down over Copacabana and Ipanema Leblon, from on high, very impressive and the views outstanding.

THE DOG SHOW. We finally thought we ought to try and go to see it in the after-noon we had been told it was not up to much and they were right.  After a horrendous journey with dreadful taxi driver who got lost and it took us twice the time to get there, in fact after going through several red lights we did wonder if we ever would!

The show was over four days the first two days International show the second two days The World Show, only about 2000 dogs entered. nine Apsos and seven turned up, we saw five one was a tiny puppy about three months old.  We got to the show at 2.30 pm judging for breeds was over and groups were starting at 3'oclock so we went for a wonder to find some Apsos.  Off the four adults we saw three were gold , one black, which turned out to be Best Veteran, who was in full season no one had noticed and the Best of breed dog was trying to mate her.  We managed to attract the owners attention to avert an accident, since they did not speak English and we did not speak Brazilian not too much conversation was possible.  None of the Apsos did anything in the groups.  We watched most of the gundog toy and utility groups and some of the working before boredom set in.  Judging seemed to be very little touching of the dogs a lot of flamboyant walking and generally the dogs that had got biggest cheers from the crowed won.  As you will probably know the Pugie as they called it won eventually and was booed we were told, we had gone.

The trade stands were sparse about seven, three dog foods, Pedigree, Purina, and their own brand.  Dog baths, dog deodorizer stalls and two tiny stalls selling brushes,leads,teeshirts and bags.  So we bought nothing except food  It was very hot at the show, dogs all had fans on them, there was no air-conditioning!! Apparently the group and Best in Show went on till about 8.30 pm.  We went, sorry to say back to the hotel for a much needed shower. 

That evening we went for usual stroll on the promenade found a nice restaurant and walked up the artists market and bought some very reasonable oil paintings to take back home.

Last day we flew out at 2.30pm seven of our group stayed on for another few days we wish we had arranged this as there was loads we would have wished to have gone and seen.  We did go to dog shops and vets, over there you can buy a lot of stuff we get from the vet here very cheaply, we bought front line etc. We spent up the last of our Brazilian Ruals we got almost three to a dollar in exchange.  Over there the people dress up their dogs in hats and clothes and stroll out with them.  The shop owner was amazed that we didn't.  We saw lots of dogs in the morning and late at night being walked, all looked loved and well looked after one of which was a beautiful Lhasa Apso in full coat, we saw her often by the hotel.  we didn't see any stray dogs near our hotel but it was in the better areas of cause.

So there you are Rio well worth a visit, I would like to go back a big city of eight million people with large rain forest in middle which according to the guide once even had jaguars in it.  Beautiful beaches friendly people, inexpensive hot and sunny even at night.  Dog Show rubbish, food good plenty served with great service, cigarettes very cheap, about a 1 for twenty if you smoke, lots and lots to see, great trip.