Well, we said our goodbyes to peru and got the flight to Sao Paulo in Brazil which went smoothly. Arriving in Brazil was a bit of a shock being hit with portuguese as it sounded nothing like Spanish and we stupidly thought that they would be able to speak either spanish or english but no! Apparently not. They dont speak either, jst portuguese so we were screwed from the start. After a few stressful hours of language problems and bank machines which only allow you to withdraw 20 quid between 10pm and 6am for security reasons, we were on a flight to Rio de Janeiro.
We stayed in Ipanema, a really nice area jst down from the Copacabana. We had booked into a b&b and to our surprise when we arrived, the b&b was actually a room in this portuguese familys house which was awkward as the mum and dad didnt speak any English but their sons did so we got by. We felt bad as the family were crowded into one room while they rented the other rooms out to guests. But, the family were nice and the breakfasts were splendid so we managed to settle in.
rained for the first few days and Rio jst seemed like any other city in the world, wet and busy. Then, after two days, the sun came out and along with it came all the brazilians playing their games of football and volleyball on the beach while drinking caprinhas and suddenly the Rio that we knew had arrived. The beaches were beautiful, the sand was so white and the water was bright blue. The sea is also dotted with lots of little islands which make it seem very tropical and exotic...
We took the train to Corcovado to see the famous Christ the redeemer which can be seen from all over the city. The statue was massive and to get it in the photo, we had to lie on our backs on the ground. Ofcourse, there were hundreds of tourists there all doing the same thing and trying to get the same photo standing in front of the statue with your arms out. Anyway, the views were spectacular and Rio is massive. It really is a beautiful city as it is nested among lakes and rivers and has islands dotted all around it and from this angle, it really
We left Christ the Redeemer and headed to Sugar Loaf mountain as the views from here at sunset are also supposed to be amazing. We got two cable cars to the top which cost us a fortune...Brazil really is a joke for tourist sights, they tip you upside down and empty your pockets out. Even the restaurants are so expensive. We arrived at the top and the view here was evn better than at Christ the redeemer athough you see a different angle of Rio. Again, it was lots of water, the sea, beaches, rivers and lakes and then skyscrapers nested in amongst it....at night, it was beautiful with all the city lights reflecting on the water.
The following day, it was Davids birthday...a BIG 23!! We spent the day at the beach with an American couple, Lauren and Clay, people watching and catching a tan, drinking some beers and buying disgusting snacks off the vendors which looked nice but tasted horrible. There was so much going on on the beach between, surfers, sunworshippers, games of volleyball, football, vendors, posers and fitness freaks doing all sorts of weird exercises on the beach. We left the
beach, and back at the apartment, the portuguese family had very kindly bought David a cake and buns for his birthday. So, we had a mini party, stuffed ourselves with cake and headed for the Maracana stadium to see a match between Fluminese and International. The stadium really was huge and had no organisation about it at all. No seat numbers, no designated entrances, jst a free for all. You buy a ticket and that lets you into a coloured area but you can move about in that coloured area as much as you want. At half time, you can even get up and move to the same coloured area at the opposite end of the stadium provided there are seats available. Anyway, the Brazilians are crazy! This wasnt that big a match so the stadium was just about half full, maybe only a third full but the Brazilians still made enough noise to make you think that the stadium was packed. They are so passionate with their smoke bombs, drums, gigantor flags, banners, singing and chanting. They also lob cans and apparently on big matches, cups of urine at the fans of the opposing team at every opportunity. They
sang from the very start right through to the end and hurled abuse at the fans of the opposing team so I cant imagine the atmosphere at a big game...could have your life in your hands Id say.
After the game, we went to get something to eat. As it was Saturady night, some of the restaurants cook this traditional Brazilian meal so we decided to be cultural and try some of the local cuisine....interesting! I think it was called "feijoada". Originally made to feed African slaves, it consisted of different odds and ends of meats (and I mean sausages, pork, beef, even eyes, ears, tongue, snout, trotters and some other bits that I couldnt make out in Portuguese). Of course, we asked for these bits to be left out, whether they did or not, I wasnt convinced. It was served with rice, orange slices, breadcrumbs, pork rind, spinach and a sort of mini roast potatoes. For starters, it was a bean soup with a very spicy sauce and a very strong alcoholic lime drink. Anyway, it arrived at the table and looked like a bowl of floating bones in dark brown, bubbling refried beans.....mmmmm....delightful. Anyway, bravely, we slopped
the bubbling bits of animal meat onto the plate along with some of the accompanying dishes and the parts that we ate, werent that bad. There were however a few dodgy looking bits of meat floating about which we carefully avoided. I couldnt quite get what was to go with what, the oranges, pork rind and breadcrumbs didnt seem to fit in but it was a fun and interesting experience, definitely to be tried only the once. : )
That was our last night in Rio and the next day, we were off to Foz de Iguazzu to see the spectacular Iguazzu Falls.
Thankyou for all your birthday messages and hope everyone is well at home...keep the messages coming!
Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil overcame more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of t...more history