Rio De janerio, Brazil
October 4th..The Adventure begins!
Aircoach Ballsbridge 5.45am. Heathrow-went to Hennessey tasting stand, sampled 4 with different mixers, lost boarding ticket. As entering the plane, was told i was not allowed on. Ran to customer service and got it reprinted, was last on plane.. too funny. After mmm.. maybe 15hours on the plane talking to the guys beside me and watching crappy films, I arrive in Rio de janerio at 10pm. Everyone said not to take the bus as it was dangerous so I took it. I went to Hostel 'Stone of a Beach' in Copacobana. Nice enough hostel, met great people which helps.
Had big buffet breakfast on the roof terrace and tried everything, spoke with everyone at the table. At 1pm, met Tim my couchsurfing host, nice guy from the UK but looks a bit mad. We visited the botanic gardens, over 5000 different trees, went to different beaches, parks and sampled lots of local foods sold on stalls. Went back to Tims house 1 hour from the centre, he live in the Favela, on the lower level, seriously dodgy but an experience. We drank acai fruiz (a typical drink made from Acai fruit and lots of sugar and honey) We also had a Cando d cana (a lovely drink made from pure sugar cane, the woman crushed and prepared it on front of me).
Wake up at 4.30am, head in different time zone. Shower and learn Spanish. Locked into house as Tim and his flatmate were asleep. 9am, breakfast at stand in middle of shanty town, deep fried cheese pastery and cando d cana(sugar cane drink). Metro and bus to Tijuca forest (329 sq km)- largest urban park in the world. I saw a girls walking alone so asked if she wanted to join us, she was French and spoke no English so we talked in French, we all had a picnic on one of the peaks, only walked 2 hours to 900metres. The bus back to Tims was interesting, all the shanty towns, people on streets selling drugs, guns etc.. Tims housemate Gaberial is half French but was a male prostitute in his past career before Tourism. We all had a typical Brazilian dinner, rice, mince, kidney beans and herbs. Some girl from Venezuala joined us too, they smoke alot of whaky stuff but it doesnt interest me. After we went down to the Favela centre and got a Acai with choclate syrup. Everything seems to be deep fried and they eat alot of sweet things too which are ofter deep fried.
Left the house at 6.15am thinking id beat the rush hour to get the metro back to the hostel. Tims house was OK but very dangerous area and couldnt leave alone and was too far out. In the metro there are women only carriages, I didnt understand why at first. One metro came and I couldn't believe it, people crushed up against each other, windows, whatever- like nothing I saw before. Next one came and i went head first and swung the bag in. Sweat pouring down me, unable to move a CM and was standing slanted, people under and over me, I had to laugh. Booked back into the hostel and got bus to 'Christ the Redeemer' after getting bag of fruit and pasteries in the local market. On the bus a girl came and sat beside me and asked something in Portuguse, we got chatting, she was from Salvador and we spent the next few hours together. Got a cable car up to the statue, largest art statue in the world. Samba players came onto into the cable car, looking for money and playing music. Ofcourse in the whole carriage they pick me out, perhaps its the white sunglasses that draw attention... They pulled me up dancing and everyone clappìng, too funny but pity about the 2 left feet. The views from the top were fantastic, i spoke Spanish with a lovely elderly man from Barcelona and went for lunch at the top with he and his wife, very expensive but really nice. I lost the girl from Salvador somewhere along the way.. I then went to the Sugar Loaf, again fab views. Back to the hostel, started talking to 2 Italian guys, they cooked us all pasta and after I went for a walk on the beach with Ricardo, very good looking but so Italian! After had drinks in the outdoor pool on the roof terrace and met Irish, Sweedish, etc...