Perfect end to a perfect trip.

Trip Start Feb 13, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Where I stayed
on the beach backpackers, botofoga

Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Friday, August 6, 2010

When we finally arrived in Rio we both felt a mixture of anticipation and sadness. All the way through the trip Rio seemed such a long time away, and then all of a sudden we were there. Not only was it one of the places we were both the most excited about visiting, it was also the place we were dreading reaching as we knew the only direction from Rio was home.
We were determined to make the most of our time there despite the serious lack of funds we were experiencing.
We checked into the worst room we had stayed in on the trip. a twelve bed dorm that really should only have slept about 6. It was sandy (the name of the hostel can be interpreted very literally), hot and overcrowded. Despite this we decided to stay as it was one of the cheapest hostels we could find.
On day one we explored Copacobana beach, eager to see what had inspired Barry Manilow to write his great song... The beach was packed. Think Blackpool on the hottest day of summer and times it by 10. There were professional games of beach football being played, millions of beer sellers and stalls selling any food you could think of. The atmosphere was really lively and infectious. We decided we would go out that night with a couple we had been travelling with from Argentina.
The club we went to was less than impressive. Full of 18 year olds and playing old Pink songs, we soon left, deciding to save our livers for a bigger and better night.
The next few days were spent exploring the various beaches of Rio, our favourite being Ipanema where it was less crowded and far more beautiful.
One day we took part in a Favela tour, which took a group of people from our hostel around one of the shanty towns in Rio. This was a fascinating experience. Mike and I were worried about the tour of these areas being unethical, but the tour company we used put the money we spent on the tour back into the community. The tour started with a motorbike ride, something I was terrified of but actually enjoyed. I was given no alternative other than to get on the bike. Had I not I would have been left alone in the favela, which is hardly a safe place to be. 
 We passed the 'protectors' of the favela on the bikes; the men who set of fireworks to warn the druglords if the police enter the favela on a raid. We also visited a nursery ran by the ladies who live in the Favela. All their work is voluntary and they depend solely upon donations from outside sources. All the children were beautiful and very interested in our group!

We also visited the steps at which Snoop Dog and Pharell filmed the video for 'beautiful'. These steps were absolutely incredible. The story is that one of the residents of the houses that line the 'Lapa Steps' decided to embark on a project which drew inspiration from all over the world to give the staircase an individual look. The stairs are lined with tiles from all over the world; Japan, Israel, India to name but a few. We even got too meet the man himself, Selaron from Chile. There is a picture of us with him in the photos of this entry.
Everyday they change at least one of  the tiles and Mike and I were both lucky enough to get one of the tiles that they had removed that day.

We also went up the sugarloaf mountain at sunset to see the amazing views of Rio. This was absolutely magical, the views were stunning and we timed sunset to perfection!  

On our second to last night we went out to a street party in Lapa which was a really great experience. There are hundreds of people in the street, drinking, dancing and having fun. We went with a big group of people from our hostel which was good (and safe). On our last day I spent the majority of the day covincing Mike that it was not viable for us to go to a football match and make it to the airport on time. In true Mikey style he was only satisfied once he had exhausted every possible method of us going to the game and making it onto our flight. One idea involved us getting a bus to the airport in the morning, putting our bags in storage, getting a taxi back to the hostel, passing the day by until getting another bus to the stadium, watching half the game and then getting another bus to the airport where our bags would be waiting.

I eventually convinced him this was not only ridiculous, but impossible and not the way I wanted to spend the last day of our trip. Instead we did a spot of shopping and fantasized about eating nice food which we couldn't afford.

Spending our last few days of our trip in Rio was absolutely perfect. It was an amazing way to comlete an amazing trip. I had the best time of my life and loved every second (except the seconds spent inhaling the smell of Mikey's farts, of which there were a fair few). Michael Kelly was the best travelling companion a girl could wish for and I would highly reccommend him to anyone!!

I think both of us have got the travelling bug and neither can wait to see what else the world has to offer...

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