Jesus Christ the Redeemer during sunrise in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro - You can't come all the way to Rio de Janeiro, and not go up to pay homage to Cristo Redentor, better known as The Redeemer.

For a tourist, it's like death and taxes. As we found out on Saturday, you eventually feel like giving up on redemption, given the human traffic that winds up the Corcovado mountain face, to Brazil's iconic symbol.

A clutch of South African journalists rose on Saturday morning, and coincidentally found ourselves in the same queue.

It felt like a reunion, and a bit like bunking school before we headed to the Olympic Stadium for Luvo Manyonga's extraordinary night.

So, there we were, four Saffers, joined by an Irishman travelling through South America for his student holidays. Paddy came bearing stories of mischief and mayhem, and he held a phone lent from a mate at the backpackers he was calling home for two weeks. Paddy is harsh, actually. His real name was Andrew, and he was a terrific lad, the fiery mustard to our quartet of Mrs Ball's chutney servings.

Andrew's phone had been Rio'd the night before. A Brazilian stunner had sauntered up to him, on Rio's famous Lapa stretch of bars and nightclubs.

The poor bugger thought the luck of the four-leaf clover was all over him and his manky beard, as the senorita fluttered her lashes and whispered, “I want to kiss”.



Andrew pulled in for all he was worth, convinced that The Redeemer had forgiven him for all his sins, and was providing just reward for his sleepless night on a bus in Bolivia, surrounded by predators waiting for him to nod off.

Alas, the young lady urgently excused herself after the tongue twist, and our Andy thought it was an opportune time to tell a mate. A pat of the Paddy pockets revealed that he had just been rumbled. Phone, cash and “even the forking lighter” were all gone.

He recounted all this, and infinitely more, over a wee pint, as we waited for over two hours to get on our transit to the statue.

What had started out as a belter of a day, cloudlessly pristine for pictures of a lifetime, had started getting rather nippy, and Rio's version of the table-cloth had suddenly ensconced the man we came to see.

As we got up there, the cloth became a duvet, and the jaw-dropping view on the pamphlet was nowhere in sight. I snuck in a hazy selfie, but the boys were bleak, and understandably so.



A photo posted by Cameron Moore (@the_cali_producer) on


The gamble hadn't quite paid off, even if we'd found a friend and had a few drinks at the bar, ahead of our ascension. “Jesus! I've lost my phone and now Christ has deserted me,” Paddy moaned, as we headed wearily back to reality.

He went back to Lapa, to see about a lighter, and we hot-footed it to Luvo's incredible leap.

The next morning, after a frenetic night, we looked up from the bus heading to the athletes' village, and there The Redeemer was, lording it in perfect sunshine. So much for the luck of the Irish!

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