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Published: March 12th 2007
Well i´m actually in Buenos Aires now, but thought i´d pretend i´m writing this in Rio just in case there´s some whizzy map which shows my route on this website. I´ve just been in Rio for the last 4 days, but somehow seems a lot longer. That´s a good thing though. Trip here was uneventful, except that a) BA lost my carry mat 😞, b) rather confusingly I had to change in Sao Paulo, even though my plane from London was continuing on to Rio - some ticketing mix up which meant a frantic dash (well actually 30 min wait in a queue) through customs, a charge up to departures brandishing ticket, only to discover I´d got the time difference an hour wrong and actually had plenty of time. Oh well. The only other thing I remember about the flight was a kid puking up in the seat in front of me.
So arrival in Rio, and found my quietish hostel fairly easily... within spitting distance of Pau de Acucar (or Sugar Loaf to you and me!) and also in sight of Corcovado (hunchback) with the Jesus statue on. Wow! First afternoon had a walk around the base
of the Pau, saw some monkeys,,, then on to copacabana for a quick dip! Lovely white sand beach that stretches for miles, with big waves. Watched a bit of beach volleyball after a dip. Got back to discover my dormitory mates planning a trip to the Maracana stadium, for what turned out to be the Brazilian Soccer Cup Final, 2nd leg starting 9.45pm! Ensue chaos,,, millions of crazy Flamengo supporters. Well there were 5 goals in the game and i didn´t see a single one!! The first three were before we made it to the ground, number 4 as we entered (saw the cheer of fans) and the last, a penalty, i was, er,, looking through my viewfinder and missed it! Oooops. Well i´m proud to say i was so tired i actually managed to sleep through the 2nd half despite 100000 odd fans raising the roof, complete with fire-crackers that sounded like they´d bring the stadium down!
So that was my first day, second day was more sedate. Visited Corcovado by train and took lots of piccies. Then hit the beach - it was meant to be Ipanema which everyone at the hostel said was the best, but
as i mucked up and got off to early it was copacabana again. Braved taking my camera so i have a couple of nice photos. hihihi.(don´t let my photos fool you, there are plenty of women there that really shouldn´t be wearing thongs) Everyone says its a pretty dangerous place for thieves, which is bad news if you´re alone and want to go for a swim, but thankfully they failed to materialise.
So the next day, I obviously got a bit cocky, because i hit the beach in the morning. This time correctly making it to Ipanema (no camera alas). It truly is an awesome location, with a huge mountain at one end, and the same white sands (and less rubbish) than copacabana. Unfortunately I got sunburnt ragged (spot lobster in photos). Decided siesta was the best bet (after a few suco de laranjas.. yum yum) and then went up Pau de Acucar for just after sunset. Wow,, probably the most impressive moment of my stay in Rio. Watching the lights come on was truly spectacular and i´m sure my photos don´t do it justice! That evening i crashed out again early thanks to sunburn. Awoken, by my Danish
dorm chum Thomas at some ungodly hour as he decide to fall out of his bunk and then crash around the room drunk. Not sure I ever saw him sober in three days!
The last day i had a bit of excitement I could probably have done without. After an early morning suco de Acai (strange amazonian berry, looks kind of like iced chemical sludge) i headed up to the floresta de Tijuca, apparently the largest ´Urban Jungle´ in the world (it really is a jungle - not metaphorical). Had a nice walk around up to one of the high peaks, saw a few butterflies and a couple of other hikers, also heard a few strange noises, but never saw the animals that created them. As i was coming down, I was caught up by the hikers I´d seen earlier, er,, as they sprinted past. Apparently they´d just been held up at gunpoint by some bandits on a path i´d thankfully not taken. I quickly followed them down. Decided i´d had enough of the jungle after that and headed down for one last dip on Ipanema beach. A nice way to end the stay there. Well not quite! That
evening headed out to Lapa, the party district of Rio (not altogether safe either by all accounts) with 6 or 7 others from the hostel. We had caipirinhas from a dodgy street stall (80p a throw) which after two certainly put me in the mood for a live salsa band in one of the many clubs there. That was fun, especially seeing the failed efforts of various brazillian men trying to smooch up to the girls i was with - they really were lousy dancers too!
Anyway, today i said goodbye to the lovely staff at the hostel and also the nice people i´d met and now am in Buenos Aires. Just pigged out on a steak.. i confess it was too much, but at less than a tenner all in inc beer i couldn´t resist!
All my photos are here (not the videos though-upload probs):
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