The start of the journey- BRAZIL!!
Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
20Trip End Ongoing
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We arrived on the 4th of January, Friday night to the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro. With our hostel right next to the Copacabana beach, most of our time there was spent ambling between the two famous beach areas- Copacabana and Ipanema. On the first day of course happened what always happens to the sun-starving travelers from Ireland- we got burnt. After getting lazy for a few hours under the Copacabana sun, adventuring into the thundering, foam-bursting waves and letting loose all our worries- Ania burnt her feet and Hille's arm was red and swollen from the burn for a good few days
On the second day we took the bus to see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. We climbed up the massive hill with a minivan, getting slightly queasy from the twists and turns, but despite the massive crowds and the scorching sun, the views over the city made it all worth-while.
During the evenings we ambled down the beach-front, tasting a few of the Brazilian beers (all lovely but we like Skol the best), having a quick look at the small market and listening to Samba and chatting to a few locals at the hopping samba bar Bip Bip.
After a few days we decided to move onwards to the little town of Paraty. Paraty is a preserved Portuguese colonial (1500-1822) and Brazilian Imperial (1822–1889) town with a population of about 36,000. It is located on the Costa Verde (Green Coast), a lush, green corridor that runs along the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The road to Paraty was indeed stunning, a winding corridor of beach on one side and rolling green hills on the other.
The main thing we will always remember about Paraty is getting lost.
The weather changed. When we got to our next stop, Ubatuba, one of the nicest coastlines in the Sao Paolo state, it was pouring down rain which turned into a storm later on. We ended up making an emergency stay in a higher budget pousada than we would have liked but enjoyed a quiet night with beer and cards. Next day we were able to take a little turn on the beach as well but we had already decided to move on towards Sao Paolo to meet another friend, and leave the joys of the beach for a better time and weather.
We found the inhabitants of Sao Paolo super friendly even before we had arrived there, meeting a lovely mother and daughter in the bus stop who guided us to the metro once we arrived and helped us to find our way.
Sao Paolo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and Americas, and the world's seventh largest city by population (19,889,559)
It is also the home of the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, hence our first dinner had to be SUSHI!! :) We had a lovely evening with our brasilian friend who treated us to some coffee (coffee here is delicious!) and icecream in her home, and are looking forward to an evening of samba tonight.
Though the weather has turned cold and rain is pouring down, the Paulistanos (people who live in Sao Paolo) make up for that for their friendliness. More people also speak English here, which is great even though we have survived fine so far and have managed to understand the simple words in Portuguese (though the answering from our side has been a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, English and even Estonian :))
So our first impressions of South America and Brazil have been great. Brazil has been a breeze to go through, everything has been well organized (some European countries, won't mention any names, could learn a lot here), and the cities and streets are amazingly clean (wondering if the Japanese influence could be in play with that).
At the same time, in the feel of it, Brazil doesn't differ much from Europe at all, especially from the Mediterranean countries of Portugal and Italy, where most of Brazilians originate from. It is more on the expensive side than we planned, so we probably have been moving on a bit faster, but so far, so great! :)