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Published: March 19th 2009
Rainbow at the falls
so many rainbows you could reach out and touch them
So the final part of my SA blog is finally here...time has indeed flown away with itself
Our next part of the trip was up to Iguazu Falls. We did both the Argentina side and the Brazil side. There were so many places to walk around in the Argentina side and so many vantage points to check out the falls. We also took a boat trip which took us Under the falls which was great fun. We got completely soaked and unfortunately someone stupidly forgot to take out their passport and purse from their pockets....so I now have a very manky looking passport to tell the tale.
The falls are really impressive, but the most impressive is the number of rainbows you see, they are everywhere and as we were lucky with the weather they came out constantly, and so close you could almost touch them. There was also heaps of the most beautiful butterflies, some you just thought couldnt be real because the colours were that incredible.
The Brazil side was more about the panoramic views that you got, plus a walkway called devils throat that walked you out close to part of the falls so that
again you got soaked again!! Running theme basically of the falls, and hardly surprising really!.
From Iguazu falls we took the 25 hour bus journey to Rio. After our luxury buses in Argentina this was a bit of a let down. No food and only one film in english. No reclining seats either so it felt like the longest journey ever as I couldnt sleep at all.
We arrived in Rio around lunchtime and got our taxi to the hotel. As soon as we arrived, there was a news reporter outside being filmed and as we walked in there was quite a lot of commotion going on and a policeman with a big gun standing there. Apparently there had been quite a lot of robberies going on and also a girl had been robbed of her stuff by the taxi driver that morning right outside our hostel. A few days later into our stay we also found out a girl in our hostel had been in the one that had been robbed by a man with a gun and grenade!!! So this is what we arrived too. Plus the owners of the hostel sat us down and gave
us a briefing about being safe in Rio and that they had only had 41 muggings in a year from people staying in their hostel, how lovely and comforting that all was.
But besides all this Rio was an amazing place. I loved it and was terrified of it all at the same time! I believe that the scare mongering made it worse and nothing happened to us while we were there so all was good. Our first night we went to some carnival street parties, lots of music, drums, dancing, drinking and plenty of caiprinhias. Admitedly when we were in a very packed area at one point with bodies all around us, we had some hands rummaging in our pockets, but luckily we had distributed our money everywhere but in our pockets so they got nothing out of us!
Our time in Rio also included a trip to a football match at the macarana stadium which was great fun. We stood in the losing team end unfortunately, but it did mean I got to see the most dedicated fan ever. He was in all the kit and was holding a statue of Christ the Redeemer and jumping
up and down and getting really into it and kissing his statue as good luck (which obviously didnt help seeing as they lost 3-1) But when they scored a goal he turned around and for some reason chose me to lift up in the air and spin around in joy. It was a beautiful moment i have to say...until the goal got disallowed, poor sod the look on his face, just wanted to give him a big hug..but not sure that would have helped.
We also had a day trip to visit the Christ statue. Which is as huge as it looks on screen and in books, and it stands over you and makes you think its about to fall on top of you!!
On our last day we visited one of the largest favelas in Brazil. This one was of the many shanty towns built in brazil that has spread over into quite a large area now so that they have started building on top of each other and causing all sorts of destruction and hygiene issues. The trip started off with a terrifying but exhilarating speedy motorbike taxi ride to the top of the favela in
Boat in the falls
yes we went right under them....
order to walk down it. No helmet and all risks, 5 minutes of my life that flashed before my eyes! We then walked down narrow walkways in between all the houses, with cables everywhere from where they had taken electricity from the town below them and running water from the mountains which only lasted half way down before it got clogged up with all the litter that had been created. One of the things thats pretty big in Rio from what I noticed is graffiti. But not just ugly tags, incredible art work, and everywhere, nearly every inch of the city is covered in intricate spray painted artwork. In the favela we met a company that had been set up to promote creating art work with kids including graffiti which helped make sense of how it came to be on so many of the walls of the city. This I liked, but I have to say I did feel a bit uncomfortable doing the walk and was pleased when it was over. I dont know how they felt about us visiting but I was sure that if i was living there I wouldnt have liked it.
SO the carnival
itself, the real deal, was at a huge venue called the Sambadrome. We visited on the second night, and what a night! You watch 6 different schools, each have about 6-8 floats and last an hour each. The floats are huge and many are mechanised, but all get manually pushed by the school, how its done i do not know! We managed to stay till 5am but lost the will and had to go home before the last one finished unfortunately. But really, its an incredible experience and I urge anyone who hasnt been to go check it out one day, its unique.
You may notice pictures are slightly lacking from Rio, and the ones we do have aren't so great, but blame throw away cameras as we wouldnt dare take out a real camera in Rio!!
So for all the stories, Rio was a fantastic place to visit, so lively, exciting and different to anywhere I had been before and was very happy that after all the hesitation at the start, I managed to enjoy the city as much as I did!!
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