Right so I realise that I haven't updated in a while, but that has been mainly due to the fact that not a huge amount has been happening since Carnaval. We were in Florianopolis for around six days, which was really amazing- stayed in the Lagoa de Conceicao and were unfortunately landed with bad weather for the majority of our stay; however that didn't stop us from spending our nights at samba and forro clubs on the sand dunes and just generally having a great time. Met some awesome people from all over the globe, and also, weirdly enough, some people with mutual friends from Oxford- it's times like these when you really realise how small the world can be...!
Left Florianopolis on Wednesday, and got to Rio- me and Caitlin are staying about a three minute walk from Copacabana beach and we are absolutely loving it. It feels strange how easily we've become used to waking up every morning to scenery as stunning as this though- it feels almost normal to be surrounded by magnificent mountains (morros) and white beaches all the time, which is definitely a feeling I'm going to miss when we go to Buenos Aires on Monday...
Went to an incredible club on Saturday in Centro called 'Shake Your Santa' which was, to all extents and purposes, just an amazing warehouse that had a huge roof terrace with incredible bass speakers and great music.. Well at least up until the local talent showed up and decided to make some form of effort at MC-ing.. I don't think their efforts were very well received on the most part! But no, all-in-all we had a fantastic night.
Went on a favela tour yesterday, of the biggest favela in South America- Favela Rocinha. It was such a good experience to have, in that it was so educational and eye opening but obviously not 'fun'. To see poverty like that, but to also see people striding through it and making the best of everything and still having the time to laugh and be welcoming to us- these are the true heroes of today's world. It was also difficult to come to terms with the fact that there is no way of stopping these favelas being run by drug lords, as periods of stability in the hands of one gang are infinitely preferred to ones of instability when police try to get involved. Some of the walls of the houses we walked past were riddled with bullet holes from times when the ADA ('Friends of Friends' gang) weren't so safely seated in power. Horrible realities of what these people have to live through and go through. So like I said, interesting, but not exactly uplifting... It's amazing to see the work that has been done by non government agencies to try and set up schools and other educational facilities though so seeing people really trying to help was incredibly heart-warming.
Today we went to Centro and Santa Teresa in an attempt to go see museums and cultural attractions. Centro is really beautiful in an archaic sort of way- there are incredible buildings around the main square possessing really grand, palatial architectural designs, which was something we enjoyed immensely. We came across a really quite ugly structure, that Isy very accurately commented looked like a Dalek, but when we went inside discovered that it was the famous Rio Cathedral, and that the inside of this ugly building was infinitely more glorious than its grey and dreary facade. Pictures to come. Then we proceeded to take a tram up to Santa Teresa, a district supposedly filled with art galleries and museums.. We struggled to find a restaurant in which to eat, let alone any museums! It was a beautiful, bohemian neighbourhood, but apart from the excitement of the tram ride (where some people were hanging on the side of the tram as we went over a bridge about 100metres off the ground..!) it was a rather fruitless journey, and we ended up taking a taxi in the pouring rain back to our metro station.
And that's all for now, I'm sure there will be countless more stories to tell by the time I get around to my next update! We have a hike scheduled for Thursday morning, Corvocado (the Morro with Christ the Redeemer on it) and maybe Sugar Loaf on Friday, and Ipanema Fair on Sunday so lots to look forward to.
As always, missing you all lots.
All my love,