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Published: August 15th 2011
So, when we left your last we were undecided as to what we were going to do that night. In the end we decided to go to this Samba School Rehearsal which was out in the Favelas (sort of like their slums) but we were feeling pretty tired and so due to our last minute decision we ran to the hostel bar and downed a couple of Caiprinhas to get a bit of a sugar rush (or drunk after 2 in my case) before the transfer picked us up a few minutes later.
After another ride in a death cab, which is apparently the only kind of ride you can take in Rio, we arrived in the Favelas and the driver said we were going to have a drink in a local bar before we went into the samba rehearsal. He lead us into a bar which was just off the street to many stares from the locals and we felt distinctly awkward and so kind of huddled together in a little corner at the back and proceeded to order more drinks pretty sharpish to give ourselves a bit of dutch courage. Ben decided that he loved the barman as
he was wearing a really brightly coloured tshirt and was apparently a ¨lad¨ but unfortunately his affections were not returned as the barman appeared to take a bit of a shine to our friend Rob, whose drinks he made almost unbearably strong on both occasions!! I think Rob pulled that night!
A couple of drinks down and feeling a bit less awkward, we suddenly noticed that the bar seemed to be playing the same song on repeat constantly..we couldnt tell if it was just the barmans favourite song or if there was a better reason for this insaneity! Then the barman appeared behind us with sheets of paper which seemed to be song lyrics...ah we are supposed to learn the words to this song we decided...however due to our appalling grasp of the Portugese language, where ever we looked on the page we couldnt seem to find where we were in the song...Brazilian Karaoke - One, Hayley and Ben - Nil! We pretended to be learning the words for a bit longer and then the barman appeared again and gave us CDs, which we are assuming contain this sacred song, although we havent had a chance to find out
but will have to wait until we find a CD player.
Around about 11:30 we went into the rehearsal hall which can only be described as a small shopping centre when the shops were close and where someone had put some tables and chairs and wheeled in a couple of makeshift bars. On the way in we were greeting by a lovely sign saying ¨No Guns¨which is always what you want to see on a night out to fill you will hope. But we went in, sat down at a table and watched the proceedings take place. Now from what we could gather, each Favela has a number of their own Samba Schools and 6 months before the main Rio carnival (in Feb) they all start with this kind of Samba League table and they have to battle it out in a dog eat dog competition to make it into the final carnival, so there was everything to play for! We watched quite a few numbers and saw even more characters in the crowd including but not limited to; a balding man in a full sequin pink top, a few transvestites, a man dressed in bright green trousers whose
legs seemed alien from his body when he danced and a girl in a very tight yellow dress who Ben took a particular liking too.
Suddenly these women from the table next to us appeared with a bunch of balloons and asked us to help them blow them up, however Ben and Rob decided to have a competition to see who could blow the balloons up the biggest and they were quickly taken away from us...no more balloon blowing for the Gringos. Then, a few minutes later the women returned to our table but this time with HUGE flags and told us that we were going to be going up to the dance area to dance to their Samba song. So, feeling a bit dazed and confused, we were led to the dance floor and did our very best to do that Samba school proud with our very poor Samba skills. However, I learnt a valuable lessons for the future...NEVER GO NEAR BEN WHEN HE HAS A FLAG! That is, unless youre willing to deal with the resulting concussion! He´s an absolute maniac, waving it around like he just dont care! After our moment of glorly, we returned to
our seats and soon it was time to leave...one thing we can say for sure after that night was that they sure know how to throw a party in Rio!!
Next morning we woke up, rather late and hungover, and decided to head to Copacabana beach for the day to tan off our hangovers. On the way to the beach Ben went over his ever growing list of ¨conditions¨which must be satisfied in order for him to enjoy the beach... which basically consists of him being able to sit in a chair (not the sand), in the shade (must be under an umbrella), with a book or iPod and with a beer. So Ben took his pew as biggest loser on the beach while I set about on a mission to tan myself into oblivion. Looking around on the beach we learnt a few lessons about the Brazilian people; thongs are acceptable regardless of age, weight or sex and a constant need to throw yourself into a wide variety of stretches is perfectly ok on the beach...in a thong...nice views to be had all round.
After the beach we went back to the hostel, went for a quiet dinner in a Kilo restaurant (where you fill your plate as much as you like and pay depending on how much it weighs) and then had a couple of drinks in the hostel bar, before getting an early night in preparation for our transfer to Ilha Grande the next day.
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