Had a great time in London, and it was good to have a catch up with the lads. On the Saturday me and Rammo went to Upton Park to watch West Ham beat Portsmouth 4-3 while Rob played his footy match (although neither of us support those teams was still a good game to go to). That was followed by a quality night out around the Clapham area with loads of laughs and banter flying around like the good old days.
Rammo who had intended to get his train back to Manchester around 12 on the Sunday ended up staying the whole day with us at Rob’s as he thought it was a good idea to rip up his train ticket at 5 in the morning just for a laugh (typical Rammo haha). After a slightly disturbed night on Rob’s sofa due to someone letting off fireworks in their back garden at half 2 in the morning I said my goodbye’s to Rob and his housemates and made my way to Heathrow.
Rio de Janeiro....need I say more??
Im now in Rio and loving it, spent my first day walking the whole stretch of Ipanema beach and taking it
all in, the view was breathtaking and felt quite surreal to be there, the sun was beaming down with the skimpy bikinis and speedo’s out in force. After only a few minutes walking I soon noticed that I was not only wearing more clothes than anyone else with a t-shirt and shorts but I was also the felt like I was the laziest as nearly everyone around me was either running, working out on the gym stations, playing volleyball, football, or doing circuits on the sand which would put pre-season back home to shame! After a few hours on the beach and my first coconut water I wondered back to the hostel and booked a city tour for the afternoon. I decided it would be the best time as the weather wasn’t looking great for the next few days and it would be a great opportunity to meet some new people.
The tour included seeing the ‘Pilon’ as Karl Pilkington puts it, Santa Teresa, Lapa steps and the Sugar Loaf Mountain. With not a cloud in the sky the views from Christ the Redeemer were amazing and the pictures can’t really do it justice, the statue is 130ft tall
so that is quite a few Peter Crouch’s and major neck ache if you gaze for too long. The big man on the hill was our first stop so we then went to Santa Teresa which is set on a hill overlooking the city it has cobbled streets and some really good artwork on the walls due to the many artists that live there (apparently Amy Winehouse had stayed in the hotel in Santa Teresa just a few weeks before she passed away) unfortunately didn’t get a chance to take a ride on the famous tram as it is out of action due to the accident recently. We then made it to the Escadaria Selarón (Lapa Steps) which are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claims it as "my tribute to the Brazilian people". When we arrived we met Jorge and had a photo with him while he did his famous pose with his tongue out and everyone looked around for their home town or country on the tiles seeing as there are 2000 tiles from 60 countries across the world…Guernsey was definitely not there so I couldn’t join in with the excitement of finding a tile from
my homeland. The final stop was at the Sugar Loaf Mountain when we arrived there was only 1 cloud in the sky and it was typically wrapped around the top of the mountain so when we arrived at the top via the rapid cable cars there was no view to admire and felt like were in England more than Brazil! In the night most of the group from the tour went out and we had a great time eventually ending up in a Samba club called Melt where myself and Jeff from Ireland (also everyone else but I think me and Jeff had the most to learn) attempted to impress the Brazilian ladies with our smooth moves (I will let you believe they were smooth moves but I wouldn’t want to see a video of my attempts haha). All in all it was a very good 1st day, met some really cool people, saw the sights and had a lot of sunburn for my efforts.
The weather on my 2nd day as predicted was pretty dull the temperature had dropped and it was raining off and on proving the decision to take the city tour the previous day was
definitely the good choice. Myself and Paul decided to have a wander around the areas we hadn’t seen yet so we started by walking the Ipanema beach stretch then onto to the Copacabana we then decided to go in land in an attempt to find the Maracana football stadium….after a total of around 4 hours walking we thought it may be best to check how much further it was to find out it was another 8-9 miles away so we hopped in a taxi so we could get there before dark. As the stadium is currently being done up for the World Cup in 2014 we could only go to the museum which was really good and learnt a bit about the history in our hour there. The evening consisted of an open bar in the hostel which was 25reals (around £10) all you can drink 8pm-12 so we made the most of that and then headed to a club in one of the other hostels in Copacabana and we all had a blast. The one thing that is strange and different from home is that you get given a card when you enter the club and you buy drinks
with it and pay when you leave which isn’t great as you don’t really know how much a drink is or how much you have spent, don’t think that is a policy that would work back home haha
Day 3 was slightly nicer weather wise than on the Wednesday but still not great. The Favela tour had been recommended to me by loads of people and the Dutch girls Shona and Debbie who I had met on the city tour were going so I thought it would be good to go, I had also met a bloke called Graham in the morning and it was his first day so decided to come along. It was an amazing experience and probably the best thing I have done so far…we got picked up from our hostel and taken to the bottom of the Rocinha Favela where we all had our own motorbike taxi to take us to the top, I jumped on the bike and we started climbing the mountain at a decent pace with no helmet on and seemingly no rules on the road and we were weaving in and out of oncoming traffic while the people on the streets
stare at us with some carrying their guns which adds to the whole experience. Once we were at the top our guide told us not to take photos until she said because the drug lords don’t take kindly to it (puts you right a ease don’t you think?) we then began our descent of the favela going through a host of small alleys where there are surprisingly a lot of shops and people with big TV’s and sound systems, we found out that the people in the favela get electric, water and internet for free as they have tapped into the supply for the city and there isn’t anything anyone can or will do which is the same for pretty much everything in the favelas because the guys at the bottom of the favela are there to protect the drug lords at the top so they use any means necessary and light fireworks to let the others know if the police or anyone else starts kicking off! We made it to the bottom unharmed and took a deep breath of fresh air after the continual smell of sewage all the way through, litter and a few dead rats chucked in
for good luck! In the night me Graham, Shona and Debbie decided to go on the Rio Pub Crawl which we thought would be better organized than it was, although we had a good time the fact that 2 of the 3 pubs we were going to were our own hostel bar and the Irish pub next door and also we started off in a park with take away pizzas, beer and music from a stereo on the park bench (not being funny but I don’t think we went on the pub crawl to hang out in a public park they probably just asked a few kids in the street where the best place to go out is haha…all good fun though) not my original idea of a Rio Pub Crawl.
Its now Friday and the sun has got his hat on finally so me, Graham and a New Zealand couple Rob and Anna went to the beach and played some beach volleyball, best rally must have been 4 hits so we are not ready to go pro yet, the game did come to an early end due to Graham giving it the big one and the ball ending
up in the road…it did miss about 10 cars before nearly rolling back to us then along came a massive bus and as anticipated the loud popping sound rang in our ears and all the remained was the memories of our epic game. The rest of the day I just chilled out and caught up on a few emails from people back home and then made my way to the arrival hotel for my GAP tour in Copacabana.
Next stop Iha Grande…..Hope everyone is well at home and not working too hard
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