Edit Blog Post
Published: February 19th 2014
The brazilian folk we have met/encountered have been really friendly and welcoming, and one of the highlights of the trip was getting to go along to a birthday party of a girl in a 'real' Brazilian neighbourhood. I had my reservations at first and the journey was an absolute nightmare but it all worked out in the end. Gary had a friend of a friend out there who he had met up with and thats how we got the invitation, so I said why not. I didnt really know what i was going to but in the spirit of travelling agreed. To say it was a trek would be an understatement! After a metro and a bus, Gary took us off at the wrong stop. I should probably add here that before we got off, the bus actually crashed into a police van! Nothing too serious, but the glass broke in both the bus and took their wing mirror off. I thought the driver was going to be in for hell off the poilice but everyone seemed to be laughing - no big deal. We then got off (bear in mind this is saturday night) in what turned out to be
the centre of one of Rios biggest favelas (slums). I actually remember thinking i wanted to turn back there and then cos it was just all so overwhelming, chaos and i had no idea where i was, and gary didnt seem to either! His friend wasnt there, and then we realised we had got off at the wrong stop. So jumped on a bus and got off about 10 minutes later. I thought once we met him we were home and dry, but once we got off the bus he said we had to get another one. So again waited. By thisPoint we had been travelling for well over an hour and a half and was starting to get scunnered with traipsing over half of Rio to go to a birthday party with people we didnt know! Things got even worse when garys pal got a call saying the party had moved location. I was so close to going home! Again, we took 2 more buses and still werent there, walked around for ages while i lost the will to live.
Eventually, an i mean evnetually we got there. However, despite the language barrier - by that i mean
no communication was possible - we had a great night. Everyone was really welcoming and friendly, making an effort in which way they could. A feast of food was provided and cold beers on offer. They seemed really interested in us, i guess cos we were different, getting us up to dance etc. So all in all a good wee night, and getting home was considerably less tramatic!
From speaking to Garys mate, a Swiss guy who had lived there for 10 years, he recommended we take a new cable car which had just opened 2 years ago in the city. After taking a train from central definately on sunday service it was as easy as a change on the metro to get onto the cable car. There were 4 stops in all, and you got excellent views of the city, as well as some of the slum neighbourhoods beneath you. In saying that, accomodation in the favelas varies, with seeing some places nearly delapidated a few streets down from a house a couple of stories high with sky TV boxes. After getting at the final stop we got off to take some pics and wander around, The
area is police controlled so there were police everywhere which made it feel both safer and a bit more dangerous at the same time. It was absolutely roasting as it was about mid day, and one of the street seller had home made ice pole hings, but made from fruit. I got a coconut one and it was delicious. Imagine a bounty but in ice format. Amazing!
Street vendors are really common here. People sell anything from water, food, electronic, sun cream, you name it. As time passes, you see that people do buy a lot from them. There is a big sense of community spirit over here rather than more commercialised europe. There are hardly any chains and people seem to buy from their own which is really nice. I havent went shopping/lookin as i dont have any money to spare, but from what ive seen there is very little in the way of a large high street scene. Could be wrong though..
. To avoid the weekend madness we went to arguably Rios top attraction, sugar loaf mountain, on Monday. We woke early to get the first cable car (there are 2 cable cars connecting you
to 2 separate mountains) to Urca, then onto Sugarloaf. Here words dont really do much justice to it so I'll let the photos do the talking! It was really relaxed up there, you can take in the views, get some sun, have a seat and relax. It was lovely. But the highlight definately for me was when I got to meet the wee Marmoset monkeys! We had brought bananas along as a snack and before we knew it the wee things had crowded round. They were so cute and tiny! They were very keen ont he banana, fed them some and they were delighted. Even got to pet the top of one of their heads. Probably the highlight of my trip at time of writing!
Even after 9 nights in Rio we felt it a bit premature to be moving on, but I think it will probably always feel like that. At first we wondered how we would fill our time but it was almost with every day that passed we discovered more and more things to do and got ourselves a bit of a routine. Things worked out even better because due to the mess up with check
in (we had booked rooms in a 4 bed dorm and they only had room in the 14 bed one) it seems that we got a sneaky 3 free nights, although we only stayed for 2 of them. It worked out insanely cheap, 5 quid a night each or something.
Tot: 2.511s; Tpl: 0.025s; cc: 13; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0317s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb