So I've finally managed to get a minute to attempt our first blog. Since its been over two weeks and we've been clean bang on it almost every night theres quite a lot to remember but here goes….
We arrived in Rio late, too late infact it would seem for our free airport pickup by our hostel so it was time to find a taxi. First came getting some Brazilan Reals which should have been simple with a Fair FX card as this is what there designed for right?? Wrong. Not all cash machines present their choices in English so with a little help and a few cash machines later we had some dosh. Walking out of the airport there was a British woman with a baby struggling with her bags and me being the chivalrous chap i am offered to help her with her cases. After talking to this woman she assured me that a taxi should cost no more than R$50 which in our money is about £15. So this was ok except upon going out to the taxi rank there were only fixed price taxis which were R$100. Since it was late and we'd been on the go for about 18 hours we hopped in one. First lesson learned. Always get a meter taxi!
The next day we decide to go off exploring and by off exploring i mean off getting lost. This was much the same for the next few days actually and all in i'd say we walked a good 8 miles in 2 or 3 days. It wasn't long until we had our bearings though and our first full night there we attended the Couchsurfers meeting. Couchsurfers for those of you who don't know is a travellers (us not gypos) social networking site. The main aim behind it is for people around the world who like to travel can "surf someones couch" which basically means stay with a member of the website who's allowing people to do so. This can save the person a lot of money on digs and also mean a much more authentic experience by allowing them to live with a local and get to see things they might not otherwise have seen. Also though the website is just a good way of finding out exactly whats happening in a certain area that may be of interest to you. On Copacabana beach at a kiosk every Thursday there is a big Couchsurfers meeting which usually quite a few people attend, so the time was 8pm and we were there on the dot……ONLY c*** HERE AYE! Was our initial reaction but then through broken Portuspanglish that we tend to speak and through our thick Scottish accent we finally managed get the word COUCH-SUR-FERS across " Aahhh Couchsurfers sim sim" and pointed to a girl sitting by herself reading a book. This was the sole surfer there at the time and to our delight she introduced herself as Gabriella in perfect English. To our further delight she then held a full conversation in perfect English with us and even managed with our accents, this Rio place was going to be easy if this was the case. Anyways more couchsurfers arrived we met a few people talked about there plans for travelling, talked about ours to which everyone was in amazement at, infact every single person we've met so far has been like OFFFT 16 months, was this kind of adventure unheard of?? That night we left the CS meeting and went to a place called Lapa with our new guide Gabriella. Lapa is a place in Rio De Janeiro famous for its street parties usually on a Fri and Sat night but even on this Thurs night the place was chocca. We had a couple drinks in Gabriellas local and she told us some do's and don'ts of Rio, but it was early retirement as wee Pauly boy was feeling rather well errrm blotto,*cough* drank under the table by a Brazilian bird *cough*.
Another day of stoating about lost, finding new places, eating in all the overpriced easily accessed tourist traps not knowing any better followed until Fri Evening. There was only one place for it after getting a taste of what the place was like…Lapa! The kilts were donned and we first headed to an Irish bar in Ipanema called Shenanigans. In the South American guide it describes this place as being " Not a place to meet the locals" but we were in search of some friendly faces who spoke English and might know a thing or two about the place. When we arrived the place was busy with it mainly being locals and a few "gringos". The atmosphere in Shenanigans is good there is live music every night and a good mix of people, the only thing infact that lets it down is the price of bevy. Here it will cost you between R$10-12 per pint which is about £3.30-£4.00 now this may not seem like a lot not too much more than back home but on a travellers budget it will soon eat through it. Especially when the place runs on a tab system and there is an entrance fee on the door all of which you pay at the end which could and has left us with a nasty surprise a few times. Oh and to add to that anyone who drinks JD and coke, Rio will take all of your money. The price of Jack Daniels is ridiculous at all bars anywhere between R$16-R$25 (£5-£8) per JD and coke. Anyways it was off to Lapa in the kilts which received a lot of attention mostly good. The streets in Lapa are jam packed and there are many street vendors selling ice cold beer from ice boxes for very cheap. This we later found out is just what a lot of people go and do but we ended up meeting a guy called Valmique from Sao Paulo and his friend who spoke great English and they took us under their wing and to a club. The music in the club was a kind that many Brazilians listen to called Funk. Now in all honestly its a load of pish but when your steaming and immersed in it it was actually a great night. When in Rome n all that.
After waking up from Lapa to find that my brand new cracking Adidas high tops were absolutely caked in muck grrrr we headed off down the beach and just chilled until it came time to eat in our hostel. It was a Pizza party and it was all you can eat for a fiver. This was going to be swell and swell it was until under the advice of me :-) i says to Hamill to get some of the cheese salad on his plate. That cheese was infact EGG, Hamills arch nemesis. The next ten minutes were filled with a relentless squawking " CHEESE AYE?! f***IN CHEESE AYE?! ALLERGIC TAE EGGS AYE!" and words to that affect. In fact the AYE patter has been used to excess on this trip but so far its still funny and not getting on our t*** yet, we'll see how long that lasts. So anyways Hamill starts to get a rash on arms and we darts off to the hospital. Language barrier yet again but luckily a woman helped us out and we were seen to. The service was actually very efficient and within half an hour Hamill had his first jab in the arse (first of many jabs in the arse me suspects) and one in the arm and that was him right as rain. Bed time!
Sunday morning and we're feeling fresh as a daisy after a much needed long sleep. Time for the fitba and it was the Copa Cup Final Vasco vs Botafogo. Our bus arrived to collect us with some gringos on board and this absolute mutant of a Brazilian woman, steaming out her pie and being loud as f***,. You know you get those Blackpool postcards with the row of Brazilian women with their ass on display…..well this brawd was f*** all like that. Safe to say i got right up the back out the road and introduced myself to the people on board by handing out a couple of Budweisers i had bought. This is where we met our first couple of friends Will from San Francisco and John from Brisbane. We went to the game and were told which end we'd be sitting in which happened to be Vasco and also happened to be the team who got humped 3-0, lucky for me I had my money on Botafogo so everyones a winner :-). That night it was off to Shenanigans again for much of the same, live music, games of pool and a fair few bevys. Another unfriendly bill at the end of the night we'd need to start avoiding this place.
The next few days came and went with the blink of an eye can't remember our exact where abouts but we decided that on Wed and after having been there a week and on it almost every night we should really go do the touristy thing so it was off to Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, Lapa Steps and Santa Theresea. This was a great day out and for around £50 all in and thats you picked up and dropped off at your hostel is pretty good value for money. We spoke to other people who did each thing off their own back and had to get buses all over and it cost them almost the same amount so i would say to anyone going book the combined trip through your hostel. The pictures really say it all for this day. The views were incredible, the statue was impressive, Lapa steps were interesting and Santa Theresea well we didn't really get much time here at all mainly due to these b****** Slovakian ghouls who took it upon themself to show up back to the bus at the Statue 20 mins late and even when they could see everyone waiting and the guide hounding them to hurry they still thought it'd be ok to stroll into the cafe for a bite and a drink. Me and Hamill were the only ones to try on the carnival costumes as you'll see in the pics. I look like a gringo Sultan in an alladin school play and Hamill looks like a poofy Roman soldier but hey ho mon to f*** ppl. The rest of the group were to tight fisted to cough up the £1.50 for a shot of a costume. That night we attended a latin party in a hostel. This place also ran under a tab system where you pay for everything at the end. This is truly a pain in the arse especially when you drink as much as us Scottish and have no clue how much the tally is until the end however under the advice of our new mate John from Brisbane i casually slipped a R$20 note into the barmans hand about £6 and this was enough infact for the barman to forget about marking my tab for a good few drinks. TOP TIP. :-)
So we're one week in and Noel Gallagher is playing tickets are very pricey though about £70 do we go? do we not?….we do! We heads off and buys a ticket from a tout outside the gig and prayed that we hadn't been bumped with a fake ticket. It was indeed genuine and boy was it worth it. The Brazilians went "mad fer it" when Noel came on and his live performance was flawless. He also performed a good few Oasis classics to which the crowd went nuts. Check out some of our pics and videos.
Second Friday in and there was only one place for it again..Lapa. This time we were heading there with everyone from the hostel and the main man behind the desk Pedro. Now its worth noting that the buses in Rio fly up and down the multi lane roads at warp speed. If you were to step in front of one of these your a goner and even if you think its safe by the green man telling you to cross i would advise you wait until you actually see the traffic stop as red lights don't often mean anything to the drivers in Rio. Taxi drivers too WOW don't even get me started on them, lanes seem to have no meaning its find a gap and squeeze into it….some buzz though. Anyways we takes our first white knuckle bus trip to Lapa and had a great night with everyone. Managed to even save a bit of money by drinking from the street vendors instead of the clubs. We even spotted another coupla Scots who had the bright idea of wearing kilts…..b******s stole our idea grrr.
Saturday night was upon us and it was going to be a quiet one :-S….is there such a thing in Rio? We were invited to a BBQ at a hostel but first we attended a free concert on Ipanema beach where we met Will and his friends who had now joined him from the states. There was a samba band made up of 17 Brazilian women….i've been to worse concerts :-). We all then headed to the BBQ where it was all you can eat and drink for £10. There were a few locals at this BBQ. A lovely looking brazilian girl Rafaella invited us and Team America to a club which was tempting but the price was about £45 to get in and double if you went after 12 :-S what was this Ibiza? After the cash we'd spent so far we thought it best to give it a miss. It was time for the No 1 p4p fighter to show us exactly why he's earned that title and he didn't disappoint, the mans incredible. So that was that we sat with Team America sank several tequilas and beers and watched Floyd Mayweather do what he does best. When it came time to leave no one could find one member of Team America a guy called Joel….he had done the serious dip and disappeared but managed to make it home ok we found out the next day.
The next few days were just basically a cooling down period…well they were meant to be. Highlights were we met a little dude that was the spits of Floyd Mayweather and offered to take us into the worst Favela about. The previous week a Norwegian guy we know Oystein had took him up on his offer and was scared s***less. He told us they were all off their face and brandishing AK47's etc but what a story eh. We almost went (sorry mum) but we didn't :-) we came to the conclusion that we wanted to see the rest of the world lol. Maybe next time :-). So the next few days were spent doing a bit of the usual on the swally and saying goodbyes to some people, went to the pics to see Avengers, We also had a game of volleyball on the Monday on the beach which was serious hard work on the sand but really good, 5th and 6th year champion form came right back to me :-)
Funny Notes: Hamill has said the words Cellphone and Potato chips, some nugget was wearing a jacket on a scorching day at Christ The Redeemer, Hamill s***s about 20 times a day and strangely shaves about 4 or 5 times a week surely this is a monthly affair. Hamill left me sleeping in the street while he went to get a pizza apperently he had an eye on me the whole time. Hamill got his hair f***ed up and then had to get it all shaved off....he was muito upset :-)....theres more but its all been forgotten now :-(
Sorry this blogs been so big i'll try to keep it more regularly next time. We're currently half way though our Cruz the Coast trip to Salvador….blog to follow soon. Bye for now ppl.