Well....Rio for Carnival...experience of a lifetime. I have been in Rio de Janeiro for 2 weeks now and i've had the most crazy and amazing time. Carnival is like a whirlwind of lots of parties, adventures and very little sleep!
I left Jacobs house and headed via a bus to a hostel in Lapa which took over 2 hours to travel a distance that should have taken 20 mins. Traffic is crazy here and buses especially drive like they are possessed and actually aiming to run people over-they actually take corners on 2 wheels they go so fast for short bursts.
Lapa is known as the party district of Rio and it definately delivered. I met some lovely people in the hostel who i ended up hanging with for the next few days and got to learn Samba from people in the street. Locals just seem to start up playing drums and even frying pans everywhere and anywhere and all start dancing the samba. It was a lot of fun but my hips just don't seem to be able to shake like the local 'carioca's' hips can, although with a few Caipirinhas (the local cocktail) on board i thought i could.
Lapa by day was also pretty amazing and i spent a fair bit of time exploring during the days. I visited the famous Selaron stairs, the Arcos de Lapa, the Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Sebastiao Rio de Janeiro (or the Cathedral of St Sebastion and not the most attractive cathedral i've ever been to!) and the famous and historical Cafeitaria Colombo (Colombo Bakery) that was visited by Queen Elizabeth II and feels like the set of titanic!
I also stumbled upon a place called Parque Lage which is a beautiful big historic garden designed by an English landscape artist 1840 completed with artificial lakes, islands, caverns, castle towers and so many cool little quirky nooks to explore. It also had a beautiful house in the center that i realised was the set of Snoop Dogg and Pharrells video clip for the song 'Beautiful'. Considering i happened to find this place by accident it ended up being one of my favourite places in Rio and i spent hours just wandering through the gardens!
I also visited the Jardim Botanico (Botanic Gardens) just down the road and spent a lovely few hours wandering around there. Very beautiful and relaxing. I was thinking of my pop who would have loved it there- you should definately put it on your list of places to visit pop :)
I spent the morning before the botanical gardens visit hiring a bike for $R10 (about AU$5) and riding around the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (the lake in Rio de Janeiro) checking out the amazing view of the Cristo Redentor and sugar loaf mountain, stopping to take in the view drinking a coconut :)
For carnival i met up with Leah and Carly and we have stayed in an airbnb apartment with 5 beds, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, AC, wifi and all cheaper than the cost of staying in a 12 bed dorm at a hostel over this time. Not to mention it pretty much backs onto copacobana beach!
The actual carnival week is a bit of a blur. There are street parties called bloco's on all over town and crowds of people just hit the streets wearing costumes all week. There were definately some interesting and very daring costumes going around with the mentality that anything goes. The brazillian boys are also incredibly forward and often just come up and try to start kissing you, no introduction-no nothing. I developed a 6th sense towards this and became good at avoiding!!!
We headed to the sambadrome Friday night and watched the first lot of samba schools competing. They started at about 9pm and each team had roughly 45 mins to complete their march down the sambadrome. It was amazing the costumes, dancing and atmosphere in that place and the amount of effort and dedication put in by the performers. It was also crazy that at the end of the parade they just throw out all of their costumes! We had a lot of fun finding them and playing dress ups while dancing to the samba. We stayed until about 5am and still didn't see the last team perform! We also made friends with Joanne and Merlin from Austria in the stand behind us, and after Joanne flew home to Austria the next day, Merlin moved in with us for the next few nights of carnival making it even cheaper accommodation for us all and a lot of fun :)
Monday night i went on a Sunset cruise/party boat which took us out into the bay off Gloria. The motto of the boat was 'what happens on the boat stays on the boat'...therefore i can't mention any more about that experience! ;) Lets just say it was a fun afternoon!
In other news I left Australia, arrived in Rio de Janeiro and realised i had left all my credit cards in the photo copier at home where i had been super organised and left photocopies of all my important documents to leave with my family. Luckily my lovely dad sent them over express to the Australian consulate in Rio de Janeiro and wired me some money to get by temporarily through Western Union. I am so incredibly excited to say that thank god they arrived today 16 days after being sent express post to Rio-and i was booked to leave tomorrow at 6am to the Island of Ilha Grande. How's that for good timing!!! Leah and i are going together to the island and Carly leaves us tonight for London while Merlin has already left to head off to antarctica. So many adventures!
Anyway, i need to go and have a celebratory cocktail now that i have my cards and can get some money out ;)
Thanks for reading! (PS this blog is for my family and friends, not general public so please don't judge it)