Rio, Bangers and Mash
29/10/2009 27 °C
After a horrendous 24 hour bus ride from Iguazu Falls we arrive in the Central Rio de Janeiro Bus station at night. Probably not the best situation to be in but you play with the hand you’ve been dealt right? What to do - we hone in on a German backpacker who spoke Spanish & Portuguese and offer to share a cab, we follow him like sheep baaaaa to the exit. Turns out he’s been here before and knows which bus to catch to Copacabana and where a sweet hostel is - Bingo we hit the jackpot!
We find ourselves showing up in Rio on the second biggest weekend to Carnival - Rio Independence Day. Our Copacabana hostel is fully booked the whole weekend so after 1 night we split to find a new home. We found a cheap place on the internet which seems to be one of the only places not full so we check it out. There’s a good reason why its not full - its THAT filthy/moldy/smelly/decrepit borderline condemmed it officially becomes the only hostel we have turned down the whole trip for health reasons…..and our standards have significantly lowered on this trip!
We finally find 1 vacant dorm bed in the suburb of Ipanema. WooHoooooo. Ipanema wave hostel is 1 of about 8 hostels in a lush side alley full of gardens. Drop the bags, time to check out Rio. Planted between lush, forest-covered mountains and breathtaking beaches, the Cidade Maravilhosa has many charms at her disposal. But it’s the Cariocas (Rio dwellers) who’ve made it their own - there’s no doubt about it, the Cariocas know how to party. Good times are seeked by anyone that can, be it a sun soaked beer hydrated day on Ipanema beach, a wok eyed booze fest party in Lapa or a vibrating explosion of human emotion at a soccer match at Stadium Maracana. But in no place have we travelled so far have the social inequalities been so apparent - starving child dying on the street out the front of a Louis Vouton store. And watch your back on the way to the ATM to try and lose the 2 guys that have been following you since you left the hostel.
All that said, the Brazillian people are the most outgoing and friendly of the South American countries we visited. We met some lovely girls from Sao Paulo in our hostel who came to Rio for their Independence Day Celebrations. They offered to drive us to a beach 40 mins south of Ipanema, through the favelas to reach Prainha surfing beach. All 5 of us, 2 surfboards and a body board all packed into a 3 door VW golf (these Brazilian girls have talent!) and off we went getting lost all through Rio until finally we find the beach after stopping and asking several bewildered locals and cab drivers.
We also frequented the nearby Ipanema Beach for our new favourite sport - Bang Watch (you can work it out). Rio is the best people watching place in the world it seems - there’s no shame here the motto seems to be “if you’ve got it - flaunt it”
We also caught up with a lovely Brazilian girl called Anna who we met in Hawaii back in Feb 09. She lived in an apartment in close by Leblon and hooked up for us to go to the Health Club with her for some work outs. Steve hit the weights and Jess did the Brazilian Bum class, that’s right folks they actually have classes devoted to getting muscular butts and thighs here to really flaunt that G String!!!
The football match we caught at the Maracana was electric. We watched the local side Flamenco wallop the opposition Club Recife Sport 3 -1. Lucky too as you could easily see how things could have got out of hand even if there is 7 foot of bullet proof Perspex between the club supporters.
In all good traditions we had a big one the eve of our flight to Europe. We hit the Lapa arches. We met some fellow Aussie bogans, Jared, and Chris (who was a dead ringer of Edward Norton out of American History X) from Sydney and also some crazy kiwis. Amongst them, another movie star, Mr Simon who was 99% ROSS from Friends! Time to Party with Norto and Rossatron, and frank the tank…. No photos though I’m afraid with our hands full of beers and mouths flapping with the locals we forgot! Not really a place to whip out your shiny arse white boy camera anyway.
But heres a few of Jess belting out a few vocals one night when we met up with the chaps...
So Brazil was about Rio, sunshine, good times, beautiful people - NEXT - time to split to Europe, first stop Amsterdam!