30th August 2007
So we got up this morning and got a taxi to the bus terminal around 11am. Grabbed a hotdog and just sat and chatted really til our bus departed at 12.40pm. Arrived into Rio around 6.30pm ish and got a taxi down to Botafogo which cost 30 Reais around 8pounds. and we arrived at 'Tupiniquim Hostel' which is quite hippy. Its very cold and there is no roof on most of the hostel, so hope it doesn't rain! The lights are all fluorescent and its very loud, so ear plugs in order for tonight! Also we have been told to wear flipflops in the shower and we might get an electric shock, so we'd be electrocuted if we didn't!! Dodgy electrics and plumbing! So the homesick pang has struck again as we're in a shoddy places and we have just short of 3 weeks here in Rio and the weather isnt warm enough to beach it! Oh no! So god knows what we're gonna do. This room we are in is vacant for tomorrow night as well so think we're gonna have to stay here for 2 nights and find somewhere else to stay, on the internet tomorrow!
31st August 2007
Today we got up and went in search of a new hostel to stay in from tomorrow. It was quite warm, 26 degrees, and we traipsed around Botafogo and enquired in about 4 different hostels. But think we?re gonna stay in ACE Hostels, it seemed the best out of the 4. Had a private bathroom but was more expensive R$109 (which is around 27.50 in pounds, i cant believe it!) complete waste of money for what we?re getting but there is no other alternative.
1st September 2007
Today we got up and left Tupiniquim Hostel around 11am and went and checked into ACE Hostels. We then went to get cash out and then headed to Sugar Loaf Mountain, where we had to get 2 cable cars up to the 396m summit. Yes i was scared. The view was stunning though. Could see the domestic airport with planes coming in to land and taking off below us, all the beaches in Rio including the famous Copacobana, and the shipping port. Also in the distance atop the ?Corcovado?- (Hunchback) you could see ?Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) looking out over beautiful Rio de Janeiro. We will visit that another day. The ticket up to Sugar Loaf Mountain (P?de A?ar) cost us 35 Reais (9pounds) and you can stay up there for as long as you want. When we came down we went and sat on nearby ?Praia Vermelha?beach, for a while. Then headed to the shopping mall right on our doorstep. Had a mooch about spying some bargains. Had some tea in the food court then back to the room, scrabble then finished my book - Marshmallows for Breakfast (yes the one i left in the hostel in Buenos Aires, but it was still there when we got back from Uruguay!) Now started another, ?De-railed?- by James Siegel, I wanted to read the book before i saw the film, so getting engrossed in that now before bed! Amazing how many books i can get through when i dont have music!
2nd September 2007
Today we got up and decided to catch the 570 bus down to Ipanema to check out the Sunday markets. There was some kind of marathon going on in Botafogo, so a few roads were closed. The market was quite big but also very repetitive. No purchases. Jen bought her flag patch, but there wasn´t any shot glasses. Then we got a drink and sat by the beach people watching on their roller blades, skateboards, bikes etc. Exactly how you would imagine Rio de Janeiro, only exception being that it was overcast and no sun, although still quite warm. But it was nice to just chill and watch the Brazilian bustle go by. Just chilled for the rest of the day, watched some beach volleyball. Had tea in the mall. Moving hostels again tomorrow as the bathroom here is naff, plus the next hostel is cheaper.
3rd September 2007
Today we have done pretty much sod all. Checked into Sun Rio Hostel, sat and watched the TV for a bit, an extra luxury. Haha. Went to the mall and got a few essentials, shampoo etc. Bought a pair of Converse, they were a bargain at only 55 Reais, so couldnt resist. Then just slobbed about for the rest of the day. Dropped off some laundry, and thats about it!
4th September 2007
Another bumming about day. Nothing to write, except that my bank details have screwed up and blocked my account. Bummer. Think mum´s trying to sort it for me.
5th September 2007
Today has been a scorcher!! We got on the metro and headed down to Copacabana beach where we just lay in the sun for a couple of hours. As i chucked my bikini in New Zealand, i just wore a skirt and vest top to the beach. And we have actually caught the sun slightly! Nice strap lines, and rosy cheekbones! Haha. So later we went round the mall in search of a bikini for me, only they were all tiny and none of which would accommodate my rather larger than average breasticles! :( ... Oh well at least we had a nice day at the beach in the 30 degree temps! And also managed to get my shot glass, surprisingly as there is a lack of tourist shops around! Back to the room to watch America´s Next Top Model the final.
6th September 2007
Today we chilled on Botafogo beach, and thats about it really!
7th September 2007
Another day on Botafogo beach, its so handy as its right on our doorstep, although we do have to cross majorly busy roads to reach it! There was some Christian thing going on on the beach this afternoon, a huge stage was put up at one end of the beach, but i think something is happening tonight, maybe some Christian concert i dunno.
8th September 2007
Today has been really good. We had lunch and then got the bus to ´Corcovado´to see the Cristo Redentor statue. The ticket cost 36 Reais (just under a tenner) and we got the cog train up at 2.40pm. Took a while, was quite slow! But the view from the top was incredible and the Christ statue was so huge! Great photo opportunities. Had an ice-cream and a mooch around the souvenir shops up at the top. Then came back down around 4pm ish. Had a few black men doing a live samba for us on the cog train return journey down. Random but cool. Back to the hostel and booked tickets for the football match at the Maracaná stadium for tomorrow night, Fluminense v Atletico PR so i´m well excited about that. We get picked up at 5pm and it cost 60 reais, around 15quid, and that includes ticket, transfer and guide.
9th September 2007
Today has been another couple of hours spent on Botafogo beach. Then got picked up around 5.15pm for the footie game. Drove through Centro and Santa Teresa to collect more people. Everyone was English apart from 1 girl from Ireland (surprise) and 1 girl from the Netherlands. So had a good chat with them on the way to the Maracaná stadium. 1 Spurs fan and 1 Leeds fan, so lots of banter! Anyway the game was AWESOME! There was only about 16,000 people there, which made the stadium look empty as it has a capacity of over 100,000, but still the atmosphere was just buzzing! There was a band, and HUGE flags and the support was incredible. The fans went wild for about 10 minutes when Fluminense scored. And the game ended 2-0. It was a fantastic experience, enjoyed more than the Boca Juniors match!
10th September 2007
Today we got up earlier than usual and spent a full day on Botafogo beach with a break for lunch. The cool breeze is nice against the scorching sun, only problem is that it blows sand E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E! But we had the beach to ourselves as its a Monday and everyone´s back to work! Hahaha. Think we´re gonna head to Copacabana again tomorrow. Have noticed that Rio de Janeiro is a very romantic, lovey dovey city. Everywhere you look there´s couples kissing and just generally being in love! Makes me miss a certain someone :( Also on the side of the streets there are groups of older men sat around little tables playing games, whether it be cards or dominoes etc. Also, Rio has it´s share of homeless people just like any other city i guess, but its not half as bad as Sao Paulo, now that is the worst place i´ve ever seen for homeless people, the streets are littered with them!
11th September 2007
Today we got up and got the metro down to Copacabana beach. Bought some ´Georgio Armani´sunglasses as my eyes are stinging from the sun. It was sooo hot but the breeze was nice. Stayed there for a few hours, i borrowed Jen´s bikini (no snide remarks please!) so i could get some proper tan lines, although i managed to burn my chest! Showered, tea and back in time to watch Legally Blonde!!
12th September 2007
Got up and went and lay on our beach, but only lasted for a mere 45 minutes! The sun was just burning with no breeze whatsoever. So we left to get a drink and an ice-lolly. Then decided to give the beach a second shot, only this time there was a strong breeze which yes took the heat off the sun, but also completely covered us and our things with a thick layer of sand!!! It was horrible, so the second stint on the beach only lasted about an hour and a half! Hard to please us girlies, i know.. So came back to the room, showered booked onto the Favela tour for tomorrow, and then just dossed.
13th September 2007
Today we were booked onto the 1.30pm tour into the Rocinha Favela. So just had a lie in and slobbed in our room til the time of our pickup. The tour lasted for 3 hours, and cost 65 Reais. (about 15pounds). There was around 10 of us in the group, us, 3 old Swedish men, an Irish couple and a group of girls from the Netherlands. We drove in the van to the bottom of the favela on the hill, and then we all got on the back of motorbikes and taken up the top of the hill. Kinda like a bike taxi service. It was a bit scary, the guys drove really fast weaving in and out of traffic so i was clinging on tight! Anyway, once up the top, we walked through the streets and saw some run down houses/shacks. We had been pre warned to take lots of photographs, but not if we saw people doing drugs, or with guns. So again i started to flap a bit! The Favela is a very much illegal place, nobody pays tax yet most receive water and electricity. I was very nervous to begin with as i thought we would all stick out and people would shout ´Gringo!´(Tourist) but all the local people we met were really friendly and smily, and kids were constantly waving at us. The electricity wires were a joke, hanging about everywhere, we had to keep ducking! Also there is no means of sewage disposal, rubbish is all over the place! Doesn´t smell good neither.. We were told that the Favela is only a dangerous place when the police enter it, and they only enter when they´re after somebody for arrest, usually drug lords. Then big shootings take place for hours and lots of innocent people are usually killed. The police are corrupt. So there are boys that carry fireworks that sit on police watch and let the fireworks off if the police enter, to warn the rest of the Favela. Scary stuff. We visited the nursery day care with loads of cute little children so pleased to see you, wanting cuddles and attention. We watched a group of kids making music with empty paint cans, washing tubs and pieces of wood. It was really good but very loud! Jenny bought a little painting from Nicholas, a 10 year old boy. We stopped in a little cafe for a donut and drink, then made our way up on to a roof where a kids gym class was taking place. They were doing the ´Capoeira´i think its called. A martial art with no contact, its kind of like a dance. It was good to watch. Anyway we reached the bottom, and walked through a market area back to the van and arrived back at our hostel around 5pm ish. Had tea at a grill/steak house then back to the room to chill.
14th September 2007
I have nothing exciting for you today. Basically stayed at the beach all day working up the tan! And thats about it!
15th September 2007
Ahhh life´s a beach. :)
Today we got up and packed our bags and checked out of Sun Rio Hostel, but we left our bags there whilst we went and got some lunch and bought a sandwich for tea for later. Then we got a taxi to the Formule 1 hostel in Centro (a very dodgy part of Rio, but we wanted a bit of luxury in our hotel) as we wanted to dye our hair and there is a better shower! So we dyed our hair, Jenny almost black, and me... well supposedly do my roots blonde, but my whole head turned GINGER! So will have to get that sorted before i get home! Depart for Peru tomorrow!!!!!