So, 8 days in, some bad experiences and lots and lots of good ones. Considering in our last entry we really weren´t sure of Rio, we can definitely now say that we like it a lot! Over the last few days the entire feel of Rio has changed, it´s a city which changes with the weather. Since the sun came out, there has been a very different feel. More Cariocas (people who live in Rio) on the streets, drinking, eating out at night. Rio is definitely a city which is better in the sunshine!
On Tuesday night we had a breakthrough with the food situation. Thanks to Lonely Planet, we tried a ´kilograma´ restaurant. You get a ticket, fill your plate from the buffet (wow, salads, salsas, chicken, beef, rice and more), you then get it weighed (strange yes!), choose a drink and tuck in to some good food. It worked out at 10 quid for the two of us, it would have been a lot cheaper, but a waitress came over with a tray of desserts. She reeled off a load of things we blatantly didn´t understand, so Neil opted for a soggy looking cake, which turned out to
Rio de niro
Doesn´t look much like a sugar puff to us?
be a very soggy pistacio and walnut and unknown liquor cake! He won´t be doing that again in a hurry!
Again, now the weather has improved everyone is on the beach and very active. The cariocas are very active people (maybe it explains the cycling shorts) they are always jogging, powerwalking and playing footie or volleyball. Ipanema beach is much nicer than Copacabana. It´s a lot wider, but the ocean is FREEZING! The surfers don´t seem to mind though (yes the waves are THAT big). Donna had ventured into the ocean to mid-calf depth and ended up running out squealing like a little girl...not very Brazilian! There are so many posers on the beach...note the pics of the tiny bikinis - these were taken by Donna (so it didn´t look too pervy) for her dad´s workmates!
On Wednesday night we decided to walk the entire length of Copa beach, something we hadn´t done at night yet. At one point we had to almost squeeze past a dodgy looking bloke and a bin he had deliberately positioned on the pavement. A bell seemed to ring in both our heads, he gave us both a good look up and down.
Rio de niro sugar puff mountain
Do you think the honey monster is at the top?
2 seconds later 3 American guys walking the opposite direction were mugged by the same bloke. The American went legging it after him with no luck. Maybe we looked too poor or maybe we stopped talking at the right time so he did´t know we weren´t Brazilian. Who knows, but hey, we´d rather witness a mugging than be mugged!! Incidently we are being mistaken all the time for Brazilians!
Later that night we found the best beach side hut on Copa beach which had fairy lights up. We tried the world famous Caipirinha and loved it. After that we shared a huge 600ml bottle of beer and the bill only came to 2 quid! We also had entertainment in the form of a couple in the posh hotel opposite stripping off without realising we could all see them...not a pretty sight!
On Thursday we decided to see the Sugar Puff...erm..Sugar Plum...erm Sugar Loaf Mountain. As you can see from the pics it is pretty spectacular. To get there we had our first experience of Rio´s buses. They are ruthless, so fast and don´t get us started on the breaking and pulling out on people! We did arrive in
Copacabana beach view
The honey monster wasn´t at the top.
one piece though only for Donna to get jittery about the cable cars (although Neil reminding her of the one that got stuck and the one that crashed didn´t help!). The urge to be at the top of Sugar Puff won in the end and it was a great experience. We were just expecting a concrete viewing platform at the top but there was a huge ecological park too which was lovely to walk around.
After we had done the Sugar Plum, we walked about 1km to Botofogo, had lunch and then walked 6km back the way we had come to find the Rio Sul shopping centre (the biggest in Rio apparently), although last time we went out of our way for a shopping centre which was billed as ´the biggest´ in Vancouver, we were disappointed! This one was all right though, Neil was happy as he could get an ice cream from Bob´s (the Brazilian McD´s). We then decided to walk the last 4km home, through a strange tunnel (pic taken for Donna´s dad!) which needed a lot of maintenance (anyone know a tunnel maintenance electrician?). We were knackered once we got back at 5:30pm (we left at
The big bamboo!
Or so we think?
10am!). It was a brilliant day out and the walking is all good practice for the up and coming Inca Trail!
Just a word on the TV here...it is so strange. We switched over one night to a cow auction, with videos of cows (with big baggy wattles and udders flapping away) running round, the prices weren´t bad, but we didn´t think we could fit one into the backpack! There are other programmes on from America like America´s Next Top Model, but everytime the announcer says it it sounds like America´s Next Chris Waddle...has us laughing everytime. All the announcers sound like the ´scorchio, chris waddle and boutros boutros ghali´ sketch from the Fast Show. They are fascinated with shopping TV, selling George Foreman grills (with special free brushes to brush the meat!), body corsets to make women´s bellies look smaller (which don´t actually work!) and crappy jewellery!
Decided to splash out on a restaurant meal last night. We had fillet beef stroganoff and chicken risotto with two Brahma lager chopps. When the meal came we were shocked to say the least at how large it was. Wish we had the camera..honestly....the cow from the tv auction must
For Donna´s dad
No everyone he isn´t a tunnel fetishist!
have been on Neil´s plate and the risottowas on a plate the length of the table. The price for that was 15 quid but we felt very sick last night so next time we will share!
Off to the Corcovado tomorrow, some more sunbathing then we catch a bus to Sao Paulo for a flight down to Argentina. Will make the next entry there.
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