I think a city centre beach scene may not have been something we have really done before but it is a bit weird and didnt really work for us, the sand is quite nice but the water can be notoriously polluted and with a good combination of freaks and wierdos is a bit of a hot spot for pickpockets, muggings and it is a definite no go area after dark
. This kind of scene just isnt really us perhaps, if we want to be on a beach I'd rather it be quiet and in a remote location rather than in the middle of one of the worlds major cities with all its crime and problems. As the Copacabana didnt really do it for us straight away we decided we would head to the city centre and see what that had to offer. We jumped on the metro and headed into town. As a bit of background perhaps we are a little over cautious while we are here but we have heard so many tales of muggings and robberies that it seems from what you hear Rio is just a big hell hole. We wandered around the city for a few hours and again it just wasn't really grabbing us as a great place, dont get me wrong lots of nice old cathedrals and churches (an extreme amount) but nothing that really captivated us. We swerved the museums as well as we are just a bit museumed out at the moment.
I think our favourite moment of our city centre tour was in the big market area which is really busy. I think we mentioned the mustard, mayonaise down your clothes trick that seems to catch so many travellers out as people rush to help you out whilst relieving you of your possessions, well as I'm walking through the market a guy comes running out of nowhere with a big bottle of tomato ketchup and squirted it right at me, I saw all the red stuff come out of the bottle jumped back grabbed my backpack hands in pockets ready to start kicking anyone that came towards me
. Of course it was one of those joke tomato ketchup bottles with a piece of red string that comes flying out of the bottle, he was trying to flog me one and nearly got a kick in the knee caps for it. Erica was on the floor laughing her arse off after 5 minutes she was still crying "of all the people to do that to you had to be the funniest".
As we got back to the Copacabana we decided to head to one of the locals bars and sat down to have a beer and do a bit of people watching which has definitely been our favourite thing today. We soon decided to try a Caprinha and it was so nice and refreshing in the 37 degree heat (this was in the shade tempreture at 16:30) we ended up having a few cheeky ones. We headed back to the hostel and continued drinking there finding a 2 for 1 Caprinha happy hour. We got chatting to a big group of guys and one couple were from Manchester so a few good old homely accents to appreciate.
Being a Friday night this is the night of Samba, the beats and sounds of Rio so we all decided to head over to Lapa for the Samba Steet Party a big street party that happens every Friday and starts at about midnight. We pulled up in a bit of a convoy of taxis and the streets were simply heaving with huge meatheaded guys without shirts and women shaking their booties like there is no tomorrow
. Loads of beers stands and people with bottles of tequila and trays of Caprinhas trying to sell their wears. It was an awesome place and we finally felt like we had properly arrived in Rio. The party only really starts at midnight and oddly our book says it is a no go area after dark and is quite dangerous, we found it fine though, I'm sure you could probably find more trouble than many other places we have visited but we really enjoyed standing dancing in the streets. An old bloke started raving his samba style near us and soon joined us for an impromptu lesson in how to do this dance. I think he quite like my beard but wouldnt let go of me in the end despite there being about 8 of us, despite speaking no English he managed "Ladies, Gentlemen, welcome a Samba legend ..... Andrew!", and Rorie thinks I may have lost my twinkle toes reputation, come on I've still got it dont you worry.
After hours of standing around we decided to take a seat in one of the bars and do a spot of people watching having a few beers. I'm not quite sure what time it was when we finally left Lapa but despite the taxi saying only 4 could go in a car we piled 5 in and he drove us back anyway. Needless to say Erica slept all the way back in the cab. It was a classic night though and something so different from everthing else we have done, it is probably as close to Carnival as it comes without spending a stupid amount of money. Fantastic, loving Brazil now.
We woke up completely knackered had a bit of breako and got our first taste of Rio De Janeiro by walking down the hill from the hostel and towards the world famous Copacabana beach. We walked down the busy streets with huge numbers of people around between the tall ugly apartment buildings and it would be fair to say our dreams were not quite being matched. The beach itself was pretty nice really and you do see some incredible sights, I think the phrase here is "If you've got it flaunt it, if you havent flaunt it anyway", the Brazilian bikins look a bit like a piece string rather than a thong and the top bit is also of a similar size. Doesnt matter if you are anorexic or so fat you can hardly walk, that is what you should be wearing. I need to pop to a hairdressers to get my Brazilian wax done before I don the Mankini again.