Cool Rio

Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 13, 2012

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

3rd Nov.

Arrived at Galeao International Airport at approx. 6.30am and had to bargain down from R$90 to R$50 for a taxi to Botafogo, still feeling as if we had been overcharged,  but discovered on arrival at the El Misti hostel that price was a good price. Phew!  Booked into a dorm but had to wait for the room to be prepared, so our bags were stored and we tucked into a really nice breakfast: cereals, fruit, bread, dough balls, biscuits, chocolate cake and cold milk! Dean really liked this breakfast as he didn't have to fight for his hot water for tea!
A real home from home! After breakfast we popped round to the local supermarket for some bottled water then headed back for some rest as we only got an hour or two's sleep. It's so nice to get to an Australian style hostel with English speaking travelers to sit and chat and chill out with whilst surfing the net on the free wi-fi. Cat got chatting to a Northern Irish chap called Kevin who arrived last night and was planning to buy a motorbike and ride it all around South America. She asked him if he'd seen Christ the Redeemer on the way in he said no to which she replied how could you miss the big guy with the big arms up on the mountain! I think he was  concentrating on how crazy the taxi drivers race around this congested city!
We decided we'd chilled enough and so as not to fall asleep in the middle of the day went for
a walk to a small beach  across the road and sit and eat lunch then have a wander round to orientate ourselves. Back at the hostel the 'Chef' was cooking Pizza for an all you can eat Pizza party (R$12 £4.50 each) which was a lot of fun and there was far too much even for me! Tired and well and truly stuffed we headed for bed at midnight and got some sleep.

4th Nov.

Got up at 9am for another awesome breakfast and Julie and Dan had caught us up and were staying in the same hostel, we told them what room we were in and they asked if they could move in with us as there was plenty of room which was cool. Later we walked down to Copacabana beach for lunch, it's true what they say about Brazilian beaches, every where you look there are loads of women in skimpy g string bikinis, even if they don't suit them but there were enough nice ones around to keep me amused! Later in the afternoon we headed to Sugar Loaf mountain, where we saw and fed marmoset monkeys half way up and then once at the top waited for a beautiful sunset. On the way back we stopped for hot dogs and mincemeat pies for dinner then we watched a few programs on our laptop and off to bed.

5th Nov.

Got up early, had breakfast then caught the bus to Christ the Redeemer. Once at the bottom we caught the funicular train up to the top where we had wonderful panoramic views of the city and all the beaches. The big fellah with the big arms was quite impressive too, standing at 13 stories tall with his arms out wide blessing the city of Rio. On the wait for the train down we were entertained by several capuchin monkeys, some one gave them a banana and all the rest were sat there eagle eyed waiting for the next. Once down we caught the same bus back, where, you'd think it would drop us where we got on, (you forget we're in Brazil) and the bus turned away from where we wanted and by the time we realised we had a long walk back. Luckily we wanted to go to the bank in the afternoon and as we passed by it we went then and it saved us the trip out later. We spent the afternoon resting and this evening there was a big BBQ at the hostel so we tucked in to some lovely pork sausages, tender beef and rather salty pork chops with all the usual salad and lovely lemon drilled grated carrot!

6th Nov.

Had a lie in this morning as we had nothing planned and a quick look outside confirmed the weather forecast of rain, yes it rains in Rio. After another awesome breakfast this time with eggs we spent the day chilling out in the hostel and shopping for dinner as we didn't want pizza again so we bought lasagna and chips to cook in the hostel oven. Later in the day the chef was preparing pizza for the evening and I asked him if they always have pizza twice a week, to which he said yes every Wednesday and Saturday. I then asked what was for dinner on Sunday, and guess what, lasagna, ho hum I should have asked first. I cooked our ready made lasagna (to the disgust of the chef, as his is not like that) and chips (which took 20mins longer than the pack said as the oven didn't close properly)  and it was very nice, (not the same as back home but then why would it be) then we went back to our room to watch a few programmes on our laptop before going to bed. We did have one funny moment when Cat suddenly said, what's happened to the sound, I can't hear anything! Looking down we discovered that her earphones had fallen out of her ears! 15mins of laughing later we composed ourselves enough to finish the programme!

7th Nov.

Woke up to a much brighter sky this morning so after breakfast we headed down to Ipanema beach on the Metro. The beach itself is as nice as Copacabana but here you can swim in the sea as there are no rip tides. We had lunch in Garota de Ipanema park where a very strange woman came up to us and rambled on in Portuguese but eventually went away. We then walked back via Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, which is a massive lake that is 7.5km (4.6miles) in circumferance, (we only walked 1/3rd of the way round) the walk back was approximately 7.5km which took us about 2hrs. Tired out we had a siesta for an hour or so and then showered before grabbing a hot dog and burger from around the corner.

8th Nov

Got up around 9am and after breakfast caught the Metro into the city centre.  There are even more beautiful buildings like a round pyramid style cathedral where the bell tower looked more like a fireman training tower.  The theatre was very posh with gold everywhere including a gold eagle on the roof.  We then walked along where all the impressive looking banks were and round the corner was the black market.  Had a quick look round then headed to the park for lunch where we saw marsupial type animals.  We then caught the metro back, did some shopping then rested for the rest of the day.  As it was the chefs day off, we made tuna pasta in tomato sauce for dinner, then did some research on the buses to Sorocaba, packed, then got some sleep.

9th Nov

Got up early for breakfast, packed the last of our things, said our goodbyes to Julie & Dan and caught the local bus to the bus station,  In Brazil the local buses have a turnstyle where you pay a conductor befoe he lets you through whilst the driver negitiates the busy traffic at high speed then exit at the rear.  Normally, there are a few seats in front to sort yourself out or if you have big bags you can get out at the front (sometimes they let you in at the rear).  Not this one, we had to dumpp our bags on the floor pay, then lift the bags over th turnstyle whilst Michael Schumacher raced the morning rush hour.  There were some helpful people on the bus who helped with our bags and whne we got to the bus station the conductor gave us a hand with our bags (even though Michael Schumacher tried to race off with one still on board, knocking the conductor nearly to the floor!)  Once at the station we bought our tickets then waited an hour or so for the bus to arrive.  It was due to leave at 11.15am and at 11.10am the bus came crashing in (literally, smacking its mirror on one of the concrete pillar) which was a worry if his driving skilles were that bad.  We boarded the bus to find that it was a semi-cama (luxury), with air-con that worked (for now!) and left at 11.20am.  After a few diversions due to an accident on the motorway we arrived at 9.30pm in Sorocaba, only 35mins late, where Andre was waiting for us.  After cramming our bags in his car we headed to his pastelaria for a snack of a fried pasteis filled with calabresa (sausage), egg, onion and salsa (green veg) yum!  Here we met Andre´s girlfriend and manager Ana.  Afterwards Andre drove us to his apartment where we met his guard dog Nega, a rottweiler and all his other animals ( 4 rabbits, turtles and lots of fish). We then bedded down on airbeds in the living room for a good nights sleep.
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