Published: May 1st 2011May 1st 2011
Ok I'm about a month behind but it's too hard to catch up. Also they've changed the website so that I can't choose South America on my iPod so might as well call it the Bahamas. We stayed in a hostel in Leblon which is one of the safest/nicest parts of Rio. It was a nice hostel with a bar and the like. The first night we went for a meal at a per kilo restaurant recommended as cheap by an Aussie guy we met but it wasn't cheap at all. The next day we spent on the beach, the weather was a bit cloudy but it was nice. One quite annoying thing about the beach was that the waves are really powerful so it's not easy to just have a swim and just the backwash nearly pulled my trunks off. Apparently it's quite good for surfing though and there's a lit up area so that people can surf at night. I then had the pleasure of watching Tottenham get destroyed by Real Madrid. The next day we did a tour of the city which was really good. We went into the national park which pretty much splits the city in
two which along with the beaches and mountains gives the city an amazing setting. After that we went to the Jesus. The weather was perfect blue skies except pretty much on him so we didn't get to see the statue as well as we wanted but for awesome views of the city we went down to a different point. We then went to the artsy area 'Santa Maria' which apparently used to be rough a few years back. We had a black bean stew lunch where I ate about twice as much as anyone else. We walked through the neighbourhood where there 's the odd sculpture or painting on every corner before heading to the Lapa steps. These are some steps that have been decorated by a Chilean artist using tiles he has made and been sent by people around the world. He was just chilling on the steps when we were there. Apparently they became famous after Snoop Dogg made a video there and they look better now than in the video. We also saw the business centre as we drove through it including a pretty ugly concrete pyramid cathedral. That night we went for some drinks out but the
prices make it so hard to have a proper night out without spending about £70. The next day we walked to Copacabana and spent the day there and on Ipanema. I preferred Ipanema, it seemed to be wider and a bit less crowded with more activities going on. The stereotypes are pretty true, the thong is the favoured attire and age or weight don't seem to matter even though the standard is pretty high. We had a nice fried chicken lunch out (it's very hard to eat healthy here, at least cheaply) before we realised we had really burnt ourselves, our Thai factor 30 had had no effect and it was pretty bad. I think the worst we've both been burnt before and it was pretty much all over. We still managed to go out for drinks with people we'd met that night, avoiding any bright lights and using our drinks to cool our faces. The advantage of hostels is you meet so many different people. We met people wanting to work out there, people on their way moving to Europe from Australia and people on their honey moon. There was an American guy who had made a lot of money growing medicinal marajuana and would spend hundreds of dollars a night and walk around during the day looking confused and telling us about his escapades with prostitutes, all very entertaining. The next day we bought some lotion and stuck to the shadows. I wanted to do the favela tour which was highly recommended by people but Hayley wasn't keen. The weird thing is people come off the tour basically saying it's great that drug dealers run these areas because they only fight amongst themselves and with the police. We've since heard second hand stories of people being shot by accident or wandering into a favela and having people talk about where they should kill them. I think they're having quite a lot of success though , they're trying to sort a lot of places out on time for the world cup and olympics. That night we did a food/bar crawl with a guy from Bristol who knew a bit of Portuguese which helped. We nearly went out to Lapa where all the nightclubs are (apparently where Ronaldo liked to hang out with transvestites) but as we had to get up quite early for our bus it seemed pointless spending loads on a night out starting at 2 in the morning. Next stop was Iguazu which was a short 21 hour bus ride across Brazil. I'd say Rio is the second place we've been where I'd like to live (as well as Bangkok) probably because they're both places that are different enough from the UK to be exciting but with enough comforts/familiarity. You'd have to live in a nice area though which are probably outnumbered by ones where your dodging RPG's all day. I think another reason I want to go back is because I feel like we only touched on it and there's so many things we didn't have time for or couldn't afford and so I really want to go back if their economy crashes or I get rich.