Hi everyone, ok so I am finally writting everthing I have done in the last week!! When I left the UK I thought I would have loads of time to spend doing things like this, but the time just vanishes!!!
Ok so I arrived in Saturday the 2nd. My flight was good, no problems, clever little touch screen TVs for our entertainment which had so many good films and programmes to watch. However I slept for about 8 hours on the flight, which was amazing.
We landed in Rio at about 10am and it was hot. My lovely hostel where supposed to meet me at the airport, but as I walked through arrivals NADA!!!! Good start. Luckily I got talking to two really nice guys from Birmingham who very kindly shared a taxi into town with me and made sure I got to my hostel ok ( there are still gentlman out there girls!!! )
After the transfer mess up I was slightly concerened about my reservation, but I was on the books and therefore had a bed. Hostel was nice, it was very strange being shown a bed in a room where other people were going to be. For the first hour I did not know quite to do with myself, spent a lot of time moving my bag around and deciding what valubles needed to go in my secure locker!!
I made the decison to go out for a walk. Slightly paniky at thia point as its RIO and we have all seen the films and heard the news so was expecting to be mugged as soon as I left the front door, (now having left Rio I would just like to say in my 6 days I did not experience any problems and left with all my belongings).
Upon returning to the hostel I met 3 of the people who were sharing my room, Hannah, Janey and Faye ( all from Manchester ), these girls were great and spent most of our time in Rio together.
Sunday 3rd ( the rain started and just kept falling!!!)
So what do you do in Rio during Carnaval while the heavens are open? Sod it, you go out get soaked and join the locals for one of the many street parties!! Quite the maddest thing I have seen, thousands singing,dancing, eating and drinking in the streets. my photos do not quite capture what it was really like but hopefully give you an idea.
Monday 4th (it was still bloody raining)
A 4 hour breakfast in the hostel talking to some cool people ( Vikki, Jess and Chloe all great people ).
Took a trip to the famous sambadrome in the evening ( where the actual parade takes place ), once again a very mad experience, still cannot believe I have been. The floats, costumes, music and dancing was out of this world. There are 50 samba schools in Rio, each one performs over the 7 nights, they have 1 hour to parede down the purpose built stadium and wow the judges, there up to 7000 people in a school, hard to picture I know. Slightly weary at 5.30am we headed home danced out!!!
Tuesday 5th (did I mention it was still raining)
A bit partied out, myself and 5 others decided to do the famous favela tour, for those who are un aware there are 600 favelas in the city of Rio. They are supposedly the most dangerous areas in Rio as they are run by gangs who control the drug scene in the city.
Thousands live in anyone of these favelas, they are self contained communities with everything you could need. While what we hear on the news is true, thousands of the people living in the favelas have normal lives and normal jobs. Sadly this just becomes affected when rival gangs enter a favela, police get involved (they are all corrupt in Rio), or somebody does something wrong. There is no theft, murder etc within one favela, as the residents know that the gangs will take care of it themselves, so you could argue they are one of the safest places to be.
A treat tonight, each night of carnaval there is a big ball held, tonight was the night for the gays, and what a show.
The costumes, make up and dancing some of the glamourous I have seen!! Very hunky men oiled up and dancing around the room for all to appreciate. The best night in Rio we danced until 6am!!!
Wednesday 6th (no rain!!!, just overcast)
Slept in and then chilled out on beatiful Ipanema beach. Visited Copacobana to see the shops and went to a swanky samba club in Lapa for the night.
Thursday 7th ( drizzly and sunny )
Due to the weather the sightseeing opportuinities were poor, so decided to do a guided city tour so I could see all of the big attractions. We started with a hike up Pedro Bonita (beautiful rock). It took about 40 mins to reach the top where the views of the city were out of this world. Sadly we were battling with the cloud though as it kept hiding the view, every now and then it would break and that was worth waiting for. After the rock climb back onto the bus where we went to Christ Redeemer, cannot describe how cool it was to see the real thing, it is amazing, and offers spectactular views (sadly we were still battling with the clouds)
The tour then took us out to Santa Theresa, a bohemium, hippy part of the city which is very pretty and has lovely little shops to look round. We went for lunch in a weigh your plate restaurant, this is like a buffet, you put on what you want take it to the till they weigh it and you pay for it that way. It was refeshing to have salad, fish and sushi as up until then pizza and bloody ham and cheese sandwiches had been ruling my diet (Rio is very expensive during carnival, and sadly us poor backpackers do not have the funds to try the amazing restaurants that the city has to offer, another time maybe!!!!)
We drove through Lapa and took some photos and then had the option of getting dropped off at Sugar loaf. I would of course normally of done this but tonight had tickets for the amazing Maracana Football staduim to watch Flamingos (big Rio team) versus V somebody (sorry it is terrible that I cannot remember there name). The atmosphere was electric, flamingos thankfully won 2-1, else we could of been in trouble. The fans sung, danced and played the drums throughout the entire match. They sang many of the football songs we do but in Potugese which was quite amusing!
Friday 8th ( weather was on the up )
Only had the morning in Rio as was leaving for my next destination in the afternoon. I took the bus in to Centro (on my own and asked for my ticket in Portugese of types, was very proud of myself). Visited the main Cathedral, very ugly building, did not look like a cathedral at all, I then decided to go back to Sante Theresa but using the tram. The trams are just like the ones in San Francisco but a lot older (the ones in Rio actually came from Philadelphia and are the only model still working). It was quite a ride up very steep hills, it cost 60 cents to sit down and if you were on the runner it was free, I went crazy and spent the 60 cents, thats about 10p!!)
That was Rio, sadly no Sugar loaf but visability had been so poor on my visit not sure I would of seen anything. To sum it up Rio was amazing, the rich, poor, beatiful and the very beautiful all hang out here generally enjoying life. Yes I am sure Rio can be dangerous but I have come away with a very different opinion of the city than that of before I arrived and would advise all to visit