Rio de Janeiro.....carnival time

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 19, 2007

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Okay, the story so far!

We arrived in Rio on the 15th of Feb. Stayed at the Mellow Yellow Backpackers hostel in the Copacabana. This place is a real party hostel,something on every night and its pretty hard to say no, especially when the bevies are so cheap.

Rio is an absolutely amazing city, beautiful beaches, surrounded by mountains with the most amazing views. Its buzzing 24/7 although at this time of year with the carnival about to start its packed with tourists.

WE started straight away with all the main attractions. Firstly Saint Tereasa, supposedly a lovely area on a hill in the city which you reach by tram. Unfortunately we didn´t catch the tram at the bottom and ended up jumping on half way up and literally hanging off the side with all the locals! It got to its last stop and we still hadn´t seen any signs of this fabulous place but we did end up at the edge of a Favela (really dodgy slums in Rio). So we hoped straight back on and headed back down. We started out from the hostel as a group of 5, on the tram we met 2 brazilian girls so our group swelled to 7.

Next was the Christ the Redeener statue. As we were now a group of 7 we were able to bargain for a cheap taxi up there. The statue is probably Rio´s most famous landmark...and true to its reputation it has one of the most amazing views I´ve ever seen. You could spend half a day up there taking photos but I don´t think they would ever do justice to the view.

Sugar Loaf was next. This is reached by Cable car....which we were told at the top featured in one of the James Bond fils where `Jaws´ is trying to kill 007! (always thought that was a ski life in austria!) Again the view was out of this world....and they have a little bar at the top where you can sit back and admire the scenery while sipping Caiprihinas...(very yummy but powerful brazilian cocktail). Unfortunately we were still pumping the water into the bodies from the night before so more alcohol was out of the question.

The night life in this place is great. It doesn´t start till about midnight but that gives you plenty of time to recover from the day´s touring. We had a rockin´night in a place called LAPA, boderline dodgey area but it comes alive on a Friday night. We ended up in a big warehouse where there was a Samba band practising for Carnival. All the locals were trying to teach us how to do the Samba which varies between a shuffle and full on Michael Flately riverdance! They got a great laugh from us making a complete show of ourselves!

Afterwards the party moved to the street and again we just hung out with a crowd of locals, singing Oasis and U2 (funiest words I´ve ever heard!) and drinking cans of beer and talking complete and utter rubbish, mixed with loads of sign language. They are a mad bunch of people and absolutely love to party, so the crack was mighty.

As luck would have it our stay coincided with the Rolling Stones concert on Copacabana. I think there was abotu 1.2 million people there,I´m sure it made the news back home, I´d have loved to have seen what it looked like on TV cos it was juts mental there. We got a pretty good spot, but had to plonk ourselves there at about 5pm in 32 C heat.....luckily beside our own personnel beer seller so all we had to do was give a shout and beer was on hand!(one thinbg we´ve noticed about this place, if there´s a gathering of about 3 poeple somebody will arrive on seling beer, meat on a stick, corn on the cob....etc....hilarious).
There wasn´t much of a lead up to the concert only some Brazillian band that the crowd went crazy for. The Stones themselves were only okay....I don´t think we´d have paid to see them!, but the atmosphere was wild.

Avoided the beach the next day, you can imagine 1.2 million using the toilet facilities of the Atlantic.....not very nice! Got in a bit of handgliding before we left too. Its a tandem jump off a mountain overlooking the beaches around Rio. It actually wasn´t as bad as you´d think....considering you´re taking a running jump of a platform to a sheer drop! My jump wnet smooth enough but Tadgh lost his helmet and half his kee straps on the wasy down so he was doing a bit of dangling!! It lasted about 15 minutes and its very gentle so there´s no mad head rush.

Left Rio ....long story but ended up taking two overnight buses to Floranapolis. The Buses are great...fully reclining seats, AC, a little pillow and rug to keep you cosy! I think Bus Eireann could learn a thing or two.

Tadgh is following on with the next entry so its Chao for now.
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