Copa... Copacobana

Trip Start Nov 29, 2013
Trip End Nov 29, 2014

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Where I stayed
Vila Carioca Hostel Rio de Janeiro
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Copacabana Beach Rio de Janeiro
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Ipanema Beach Rio de Janeiro
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

There we were, now here we are...
<u>Blonde and Beard</u></b>

<b><i>Directions to reading this blog. The two writers Blonde (Natasha L Jones) and Beard (David J Owen) will alternate each entry in this blog. The first entry will belong to Blonde, followed by her trusty steed, Beard. Enjoy.</i></b>


It's been less than a week (at the time of writing) since we left our family, friends and lives at home for the trip of a lifetime that we've spent years looking forward to. Only four nights booked into a hostel, speaking no Portuguese and with no concrete idea of our next move... Some people I know have expressed their concern and thought it'd be a doomed way to travel. No plans, no ties, no idea? Pure freedom surely...perfect for us.

Landing in Rio was a momentous feeling: "shit, we're actually doing this", kind of feeling. It was November 29th, we left blustery, stormy and dark England and touched down in sticky, tropical, HOT Rio de Janeiro!

Somehow made it onto a bus and made the journey through the favelas and the city, all the while clasping our bags and sweating from every oraphis. When "an idiot abroad's" Karl Pilkington sat on his transfer bus into Rio, he said for the first time ever his ears were sweating. True. We didn't really have too much indication to where we were going to get off and just sat there half-expecting each other to know. Neither did. A friendly local, a German guy who was studying at Uni here, did. Phew!

We stayed at the Vila Carioca hostel in Botofogo. It's a charming little place, very hippy and laid-back. Filled with scatter cushions, dreadlocks and lots of colours. There was a cat too...David said we couldn't touch it though. There were no Brits (good or bad?!) and neither of us knew who worked there or were just staying there.

Rio is surrounded by mountains, the leftover Atlantic rainforest, white-sand beaches and beautiful sea and Brazilians are sexy, friendly people with big behinds.

During our five night stay, we unfortunately didn't get up to see Christ the Redeemer as we waited for a clear day... Maybe on our return to Rio... who knows.

We were able to ascend Sugar Loaf mountain one sunny evening... It stands at 396m and is reached by two cable cars. Watching the sun set over the city was magical and pretty romantic too. Since getting to Rio four days previously, it was silent for the first time on Sugarloaf, finally!

David had a Larry Davidesq moments up Sugar Loaf. A few people asked him to take their pictures, only for them to delete the photos after David had returned the camera to them. The ungracious looks of disgust across the individual's faces upon viewing the photos that David had kindly snapped annoyed him greatly, but made me chuckle. David is now highly reluctant to help people out in this way if this is the level of thanks he gets. Maybe he should work on his photography thou!

We got lost one day in the city centre, there was nothing to write home about there... But we ventured up to Santa Teresa, not knowing what it would be like. It took a while to walk up, of course we didn't realise there was a tram. It's set on a hill and provides some advantageous views of the city... The place feels so far away from the hustle and speed of Rio. It's got a quintessential bohemian feel to it and is full of arts and craft shops lining the cobbled roads. It's also home to the escadaria de selarón "Rio's most famous staircase" (or the steps which feature in Michael Jackson's 'they don't really care about us' video).

Some eccentric chillean artist began tiling these stairs in 1990 and shows no signs of giving up!

We also took a guided tour to the favelas... It's a must. There are 750 favelas in the state of Rio. We got picked up by our lovely tour guide Patrick and he walked us through the Roshini slum. This slum was was set on a hillside and looked like a bowl of concrete cereal. It was so grim and I'd never felt further from home... Men collecting scrap cans worth cents, girls smoking, babies living in squalor, family homes with trees growing through them, dogs eternally barking, the unholy smell of open sewage, children with no shoes, disease and unsanitary conditions... It's interesting being in the favelas because there is a real sense of community, people always had a smile on their faces and seemed to continuing living their lives regardless.

Typical David, he noticed that some of the kids in the favela were playing on one of the big, old arcade versions of the 1990s video game Street Fighter, the type you'd see in an Arcade or at somewhere like Laser Quest.

In the game, 'Street Fighters' from across the global travel by plane to foreign lands to pit their skills in hand to hand combat against other 'street fighters'.

He quipped that the kids in the favelas would like nothing more than to step into the shoes of Blanka, Brazil representative, hop on a plane to USA, China or India and battle in this manner. If only it were so easy for them to escape their problems, but then maybe they don't want to and are happy as they are. Patrick called time on our visit to the favelas when we heard gunshots being fired, when the 'real' street fighting began.

It has been the rainy season here so not too many days to sit on the Copacabana beach and admire all the budgie smugglers and g-strings. Wow, everyone's physically fit there.

Being able to start our trip in the company of Michael Sotnyk and Chiara Perano, friends who'd travelled from Peru, was great fun.

We were able to make the most of our city nights with them, sipping chiaprinas at the beach bars until the early hours and welcomed their tips and advise, thanks again guys!!

They reluctantly flew back to London and that's when we felt ready and excited to travel on toward the paradise island, Ilha Grande.
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My Reviews Of The Places I Stayed

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Chiara and Sotty on

Fun times! Ace photos and write up :-)
Be sad not to have you both at Christmas dinner!
Stay safe xxx

Nikki on

Sounds like you guys are having an amazing time! Really jealous, if you can get a picture of a "budgie smuggler" that would greatly appreciated!

Love you guys xxxxx

X x m on

Great blog blonde bot bot x x m

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