Published: March 2nd 2009February 26th 2009
...Christ the Redeemer
And so, this is it!......The final destination of the dream year!
A few hours on our final bus ride and we arrived back in Rio de Janeiro on the final day of Carnival. We checked in to our stupidly expensive hostel, where we were dumped our bags in the shoebox containing 5 beds (2 bunks, one of them 3 stories!)....this place was over twice the price of the lovely family home we'd just come from and was a little bit of jault back to the reality in which we'd become acustomed in the last year! Anyway, we weren't there for the room and so headed out to catch the last few celebrations.
First stop was Ipanema beach a couple of blocks away - a writhing mass of half naked bodies, all fighting for a patch of sand! I never imagined a beach could get so busy, there wasn't even room between the groups to walk through to the sea and we ended up following a couple of locals who charged through, tripping over deckchairs, ducking under umbrellas and hoping over towels.....just as we caught sight of the sea and thought we'd finally made it to a bit of space
a football whizzed past inches in front of our faces and we were objected to the task of dodging all manor of flying objects!....we were now in the games strip, a narrow section of sand between the mass of bodies and the huge waves lashing at the shore! It was clear we weren't going to get our relaxing stroll along the beach and feeling quite claustraphobic we were intrigued to hear a lively procession moving along the main road and so faught our way back through the crowds to find out what was going on!
A samba-ing crowd, whirling dancers, drummers and a fantastic atmosphere awaited us, all followed by drinks sellers pushing ice cold crates of beer and mobile draught beer pumps! We grabbed a drink each (well it'd be rude not to take advantage of the services!) and joined in with the procession, desperately trying to wiggle as fast as the others!
Dan - So the night finally fell upon us which was time for the real party!!! Last day of carnival and last chance to party hard, Brazilian style!!!!!!!!! The streets were packed with parties, sound systems, mobile cocktail bars, and an electrifying atmosphere.!! Naturally
we got slaughtered on their stupidly strong cocktails, but we were following my Dad's orders from a message that he sent us which said: "Listen up people, make sure you paint the town red when you get to Rio. No quarter, no prisoners, have a terrific time." I think we fulfilled our orders pretty well and barely made it back to the hostel!!!.
When we finally pulled ourselves out of the stinky bunks that we'd paid so much for, we decided to spend the day checking out the famous 13 stories high 'Cristo Redentor' - the Jesus statue on top of the hill overlooking the city. We arrived just in time to take a few photos and admire the view before the haze moved in and we were enveloped in cloud. The ginormous statue is mighty impressive despite the crowds that huddle below - half of which were posing for photos with their arms outstretched....Original ey!!...and the views of the city, it's coastline and many islands below were outstanding.
Only thing left to do really was to check out the city and it's many charms - a slightly daunting task when you're still hanging from the night before!
We jumped on a bus which scooted us around the outskirts of town where we caught sight of a tourist in a losing race, chasing a speedy tearaway who was clutching a big posey camera.....immediately we felt a bit nervous and clung to our own posessions!
Nic - We had a quick look around the city centre where we found many beautiful buildings, several almost deserted streets and a few dodgy characters, and desperate to make it through the trip without any mishaps, we headed back to see what all the fuss was about for Copocabana!
A stunning beach and fortunately a heck of a lot less people than we'd encountered yesterday - it's as if people just leave as soon as the carnival finished and the cities population had almost halved! Still a really happy and friendly atmosphere though and a nice place to wander, and relax for a while.
Our last day - and the final one of our year away (boo hoo!) was spent lying on the beach and working ourselves into a nervous frendzy! We were sooo excited to be going home to see everyone again, but stupidly nervous of what else may
await us - namely "Normality"!
Dan - ......Plus that thing that these 'normal' people do, where they awake at the same time every morning, to a device that, let's face it, is designed to piss you off!!.....which is then followed by a 'journey' to some place or another, in which you are imprisoned for 8 or so hours....Think we vaguely remember it......Can't wait!!!
We will let you know how the home-coming goes.........when we feel rehabilitated enough to leave the house and face the "Real" world!!
There are more photos below