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Published: March 9th 2014
first impression of brazilian driving
who needs roads when the park and pavement will do....a novel way to get round the traffic jam!
My 4 weeks of travel and cultural delights have finally commenced....and equipped with my one Portuguese word "obrigado" i.e. thank you I am on my way to Rio!
Flights from Edinburgh via Amsterdam with KLM were pleasant enough, managed to catch up on some much needed sleep. My first thought on arriving is that I have no idea how the Brazilians are going to cope with the football world cup? It took us (aprox 400) in excess of 1.5 hrs to get through immigration and then another 30 mins to get money out of an ATM. But this is Brazil as I am constantly being reminded....funny how a day later and I am already loving this chilled out laid back pace of live....
Oh and the BBC weather got it wrong the temperature is not between 24 - 31 it is a mere 36 -37 degrees and very humid so showers twice a day with cold water are a must for survival!
In my usual optimistic fashion I opted to get the bus rather than a taxi from the airport, however the recommended journey of 1 hr actually took 2.5 hrs since they are building roads & bridges
rubbish and carnival has not yet started
bin people on strike just in time for the party to commence...
& over passes on the way out of the airport...wonder if even with all this effort it will be ready for the summer???
Then the bus driver forgot to mention when I reached my stop and continued in the opposite direction for a few miles, before realising so I had to get a taxi after all since by this time it was 11:45pm and no chance of another bus. You have got to laugh in these situations, the taxi driver was honest and did not over charge me (a first for me!) so I made it to the hostel at midnight a mere 4 hours late....good job they had a 24 hour managed reception!
My hostel was really nice and the people staying here (majority for the carnival, a mixture of a fellow Scot, a few English, Ozies, Germans, Dutch) are brilliant...all up for a laugh and a party so I have picked well! First taster for the carnival was an afternoon street party, only down side being that the band didn't turn up....so no music, but plenty of entertainment in the form of happily drunk people scaling the passing buses and lorries to give us a wee
token headdress for my first street party
the bikini was covered up but the tattoos were on display so I blended in effortlessly :-)
dance much to the dismay of the drivers!
Well it turns out that Brazilians love tattoos (or tramp stamps) more than I do, you can count on one hand the number of unmarked people walking down a street....I feel like one of the locals albeit being pale like a ghost and covered in mossy bites!
During my time here I have heard a lot of horror stories of guys being mugged at gun point and pick pocketed but glad to say we have been given some real sound advice by the hostel owners....so no phone and camera out in public and limited use of them in tourist attractions, on the plus side all the random people I have met so far have been lovely, as everyone is up for a bit of fun in this city of party time.
Another observation is that Brazilian men don't appreciate the boundaries of personal space, they love to be up close and personal, which considering the look of some of them is certainly no grounds for complaints :-), on the other hand once they have had a few too many bebidos (drinks) they can become rather insulting if you do
not comply with their affectionate embraces....needless to say I am now also familiar with another Portuguese word for bitch and have been sensibly staying off the demon drink myself as I was not looking to start a riot at a street party....plus I am sad to say the heat and alcohol do not agree with me as I can clearly only cope with one at a time :-( So only 2 1/2 drinks in 6 nights, who says us Scots need alcohol to have a good time?!
Highlights of my stay were visiting the Sunday night Sambadrome for the first 6 samba schools competition.....only managed to stay for 4 of them since by 2:30am I was desperate for my bed, yes I am a total light weight however I am pleased to say I did give a few of my zumba moves a wee airing much to the amusement of the crowd around me nothing like joining in the fun :-).
Visited the Sugar loaf hill via the cable cars to see Rio from above at sunset, got to see a lovely sunset over Copacabana and obviously the Christ of redeemer.
Visiting Ipanema and Copacabana beaches minus
everyone loves a costume in particular the guys wearing skirts
obviously their chance to get in touch with their feminine side or kinky fantasies...certainly made for entertaining viewing!
the bikini as my pale flesh and mossy bites do not make for an attractive sight and in hindsight my ego could not handle the comparison with the goddesses in thongs!
And finally visiting one of the favelas where it turned out to be the safest place with all the police and drug lord protection, no problems at all having the camera on display in there. A bit of an eye opener 73k people live in this hillside, and my flats hall is the size of most houses here which house >4 people I am never complaining again about the hovering...
Well after 6 nights in Rio it is time to head south to Porto Alegre....a mere 26 hour bus drive, next instalment to follow shortly!
P.S. Sorry can't load any of the sambadrome videos, will try Facebook for a couple of them
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