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Trip Start Jul 06, 2005
Trip End Mar 10, 2006

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Wow, I´m getting really, really, close to coming home! That´s as close as I´m going to get to facing that reality for now though. Perhaps with this impending curtain of "reality" closing in, we went HARD this week in Rio. Not just parties...well, lots of parties...but not JUST parties! Put together a rocking crew in Rio, including Jen and Frankie from the UK, Roya and Tyler our new best travelling friends, and teams Sweden, Argentina, and Chile to round out various nights out.

Street Party Styles

While we had basically just chilled with the cool kids in our hostel the first couple nights (GOOD fun), Thursday saw us out on the town finally. Headed to a district called Lapa, which is pretty much given over to parties in the street with music pumping, drum circles going, and street vendors selling drinks. Had a WILD, WILD night the first time through, basically rocking a dance party with some local street people (seriously, guys with shopping carts and homemade liquor) - these guys could DANCE, no joke.

Highlights would have to include Mark making very good friends with a street guy and somehow deciding to get in on sharing his wine (the guy´s, that is), dance lessons from street people, and Michael Jackson random dance competitions outside a club. After bouncing from a couple drum circles we ended up not even going into any of the clubs around and just dancing outside one with a hoard of other people - wicked!

Essentially repeated the scene Friday night, except actually managed to get inside a club with some influence from MJ the dance king. So cheap to get in, and while it was really dark, and REALLY hot, we rocked it to the foundations and had a blast. I even managed to get in a breakdance battle with Michael himself for a bit...held my own I must say! The whole scene down there is just awesome, with obviously not a lot of money going around but just the friendliest people. Too fun.

Samba Styles

Saturday we forked out some cash to go to "practice" for one of the samba schools that compete in Carnaval. A couple of thousand people in a big room with about 50 percussionists rocking out an irresistible beat as we danced like crazy, and beautiful woman dancing faster than humanly possible on stage. Another pretty wild night...although for some reason the lights were on at like airfield floodlight level...

Fútbol y Favelas

ANOTHER huge day on Sunday, the biggest here I´d say. We went to a great fútbol game in the afternoon - big sold out rivalry between two local teams. 2-2 draw with lots of action and of course a MAD, MAD crowd! Always amazed how desperately attached I can get to the fortunes of a team I´ve really JUST been introduced to. All was well though, everyone left happy, both sides had lots to cheer about and we got to practice some Portuguese by copying those around us while we taunted the ref and other team.

After the game we joined a group going to a party called "Favela Funk". If you´ve seen the movie "City of God", this bar is right on the border of this favela (essentially refers to a REALLY poor neighborhood on Rio´s outskirts). The music was hard to describe but crazy upbeat - cross between hip-hop and dance, with some funk thrown in. Locals just went OFF! Girls are insanely aggressive, everybody dances like a scene out of the dirtiest MTV video you´ve ever seen and the party just seriously rocks. Again, danced our arses off all night - I basically stuck with Roya, one of my new favourite people, for the whole time - even if she refused to help me fend off the crazy locals (I know, poor me). I seriously have bruises where some chick threw me against the wall after ambushing me outside the men´s room!

Spur of the Moment Change of Plans

Well, we had been planning all along to stop somewhere on the way up the coast, and then make it a bit past Salvador before working back down for Carnaval. Somehow, while on the way to get tickets to do this, we managed to by FLIGHTS to Natal, a city WAAAAYYYY north of Salvador. So, I guess now we´ll be heading north, then working down to Salvador over the next few weeks. The culture is supposed to be very different up that way - I´ll let you know how it works out, our flight is in ten hours (its almost 1 AM here)! Hasta la proxima,

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