10 June – 24 hours later, Rio de JaneiroAfter a full day, exactly 24 hours of sitting on a bus, we arrived in Rio De Janeiro. This is going to be our penultimate stop before heading home. I don't know whether it's a good thing or bad thing knowing that we will be home soon. All we know is that we are not ready just yet. Arriving at the bus station we got a ridiculously priced taxi (£23) to take us to Copacabana Beach. The place dreams of made of, one would think. Not so fabulous it turns out as they had a cyclone last night and it’s only 20 degrees and cloudy. Alegra, the Australian who owns the hostel, Casa Carioka, greeted us with kisses and told us everything there is to know about Rio and showed us to our overpriced double room at £40. Now for the hard part, yet another language, as they speak Portuguese here. We went out to get a sandwich from down the road and could not understand nor be understood in English or Spanish so we ended up with a whole rotisserie chicken and a few rolls for lunch and went back to the hostel in a huff. Alegra told us Rio is all about dancing and street parties and there was one that very night. At 11pm we got a taxi to take us to Lapa. There were hundreds of locals there all drinking and dancing in the street it was awesome – Liberation Day but 10 times better! We wondered around the street drinking local beer and Smirnoff ice in a can taking in the electric atmosphere. It was a really good night until we ran out of money and had to go home at 2pm just as things were starting to liven up more. Rio really does know how to party.
11 June - CopacabanaAs we sat on the porch of the hotel we spotted some tiny monkeys up in the trees. The hostel is based at the very top of a hill on Copacabana and behind us there is nothing but jungle so there are lots of wildlife. For lunch we had a Brazilian buffet which was amazing. For a set price you have a huge selection of hot and cold food from the buffet plus the waiters come to your table with every kind of meat and carve it up for you. Brilliant! For the rest of the afternoon we took a walk along the beach, it’s still not hot enough for sunbathing at 20 degrees. We walked the length of Copacabana beach and ended up on Ipanema beach where there was a Nike Jam Sessions set up with a surf competition, live band and lots of skate ramps. We ended up sitting on the rocks next to the beach drinking Atlantic beer (awesome beer) for the majority of the afternoon and evening watching the skaters on the ramps do some awesome tricks. The music was ok but nothing special but maybe it would have been better if we could have understood anything they were saying.
12 June - Happy Valentines Day from BrazilApparently it is Valentines Day here today. Today we walked along Copacabana beach to the gorgeous Ipanema beach which is actually more beautiful than Copacabana. There was some sort of demonstration march going on with everyone dressed in red with banners we couldn't understand so unsure what it was about. The beachfront is closed off at weekends and replaced with insanely toned people on roller blades and skate boards. We strolled along for hours, stopping along the way for some fresh coconut juice. What a life! Late afternoon we found the ‘Hippie Market’ which was full of hippy arts and crafts as you would expect. At 11pm we arrived at The Yellow House and paid VIP tickets to get in. Once inside the brothel turned club it was alive with music and people dancing everywhere. There were 3 rooms all playing different live music and a courtyard where all the locals were chilling out. We were the only tourists in the entire place but even though we couldn’t understand nor be understood we still felt like one of the locals and had an AWESOME night partying on! By 2.30pm the bands stopped playing so we made our way out and grabbed a cab back to the guest house. Samba night – well worth it!
13 June – Christ the RedeemerThis morning we got the bus to take us to see Jesus! That is literally what you say to the bus driver ‘take me to Jesus’ and he nods and you know you’re on the right bus! About 45 minutes later we arrived at the bottom of the hill and were instantly hounded by tour guides. We took them up on their offer and for 36 pesos we left immediately for the first view point. Up the winding hill and we came to a gorgeous view (if a little overcast) over Copacabana on one side and Sugar Loaf Mountain and on the other side Christ the Redeemer high up on his hill overlooking Rio. It was here that they filmed scenes in the new Fast and Furious film. Next up was the big man himself. We got dropped off at the ticket office where we paid 7 pesos entry and a mini bus up to the top. And there he was stood with open arms towering above the city. He was HUGE! Along with the other 50 tourists we managed to wrestle to get some shots without anyone else in. Once we arrived back in Copacabana we went for tea at the all you can eat again for our last night in Rio and Brazil for that matter. We really do love this place.
14 June - CopacabanaToday is our last day in Rio and the last opportunity to lie on Copacabana beach and get a tan, however windy and chilly it was! After about an hour and a half we couldn’t hack it any longer and went for a coconut on one of the beach cafes instead. We wondered along the beach some more before realising the time and headed into the main strip to grab some food before we had to get a taxi to the airport for our flight to New York City. With our sudden time constraints we opted for a quick KFC much to Shaun’s delight. We quickly rushed back to the guest house, got showered, packed, said out goodbyes to Alegra and got in the waiting taxi through the sudden heavy down pour. Looks like we are leaving just in time. Thankfully we left 4 hours early (by mistake as we thought our flight was at 8 and not 9pm) as there was chukka traffic which we got stuck in for over an hour.
We were flying to New York with American Airlines and it was the worst seats we have ever experienced. The upright position was a very uncomfortable 90 degrees and the laying down position was about 5 degrees difference! And if the seats weren’t bad enough for the 10 hour flight, the woman sat across from Shaun had athletes foot and kept picking off the skin and EATING IT! No joke she kept eating it much to our utter utter disgust. Worst thing we have seen on this trip, no actually ever. This one’s going to give us nightmares! Unfortunately Copacabana wasn’t quite as we were expecting as it is low season so we were a little disappointed but the nightlife and the Cariokas (people from Rio) are just amazing and full of energy so this made up for it.
A la perchoine, Jodie & Shaun