Carnival Time!! Feb 22-March 07

Trip Start Feb 21, 2006
Trip End Jul 27, 2006

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

After a very very long and tiring flight we arrived in Rio. We had to take another 40min bus ride to get to the coast, which took us through Copacabana and Ipanema where we were staying. It was amazing to finally see what we had been waiting for, palm trees all along the black and white promenade, the white sandy beaches busy with people enjoying the sun.

When we arrived at Colinas Residencia the hostel we booked online from England, we were not happy bunnies at all. We knew that we were staying in a 6 bedded dorm, but what we didnt know, was that it would be the size of a shoe box!!! It was crazy, talk about sardines!!! This wasnt a very good start at all, to top it off we were paying 30 pounds a night because it was so near carnival.

We decided after 2 nights of claustraphobia, to make our excuses (which meant breaking a contract) to move to a room in a beautiful luxuary apartment around the corner.....FOR THE SAME PRICE!!!! We spent many happy days here, with our maid, our flatmate Paul from England, free internet, tv, stereo, balcony, I could go on but I`ll let you refer to the photos. Not to go on about it, but finding this apartment really was one of the highlights of staying in Ipanema.....we had found a pot of gold!!!

Ipanema - we loved it, so, so gay, it is like a huge Brighton but with Brasilians and a sandy beach, oh yes and a lot, lot hotter! I will always remember the men with nice muscular bodies and their skimpy tight bathers, just wondering the streets doing thier daily busiess and baking their bods on the beach - so gay and very funny to see! Lets not forget to mention the beautiful latin ladies in their teeny tiny bikinis too. I was suprised not to see that many thong, tha thong, thong, thong, thongs! Instead they wore less material on the top half, which no one complained about!

Comapared to Copacobana, Ipanema in general is a much nicer, cleaner place. It has nice bars, friendly people and the beach is much cleaner too. In the end we didn´t spend too much time in Copa, as it was pretty dodgy for thieves etc (1 guy got robbed 3 times in 2 wks, however I do feel that he must have been slightly dumb!).

One of the big gay carnival street parties was literaly around the corner from us. Every day until the early hours of the morning, they would bang out house music from the huge speakers they`d set up. We had a great time joining in with the drag queens and 100`s of other smiling faces. I couldnt quite believe how many people could be packed into one street. We almost got crushed, but just kept on dancing and having the time of our lives!

One night we went to Lapa with our friend Wagner from Sao Paulo, who I`ve only known for such a short time and are great buddies already. We met him and some of his friends at his vile hostel in Copa 1st, after a few drinks 7 of us squeezed into a taxi (which as you can imagine was very very funny) and headed to the Lapa carnival party. There were many stages with different singers playing, again we danced the night away, drinking beer and sucking on honey and cachacha straws (yummy and very strong) until the early hours before giving in and heading home. Not b4 I had a corn on the cobb (got very addicted to these) and Dan, his meat on a stick (or should I say cat or dog on a stick, who knows!).

We did go to a club called Bunker 97 in Copa a couple of times, which was good fun but a little goth for us. We made the most of it anyhow.

It was really difficult to know where to go every night as all over Rio, there were loads of clubs, street parties, beach parties, celebrations etc all for carnival. Spoilt for choice and no rest at all, we just partied on!!!

The night at Sambadrome (The huge stadium where the samba schools of Rio all compete with one another) was pretty spectacular too. We arrived at 11pm to the paupers stand, section 13, a lot less money but a hell of a good view even if you did have to wait 30mins before you saw the parade arrive at the end. Thousands of spectators waving flags frantically and singing along to the jolly carnival songs, which we were given the lyrics for. Some people were going crazy when the school they were supporting came along, it was very amusing to see. In 2.5 hours we managed to see 2 different schools performances out of 13. As you can see from our pictures, the costumes were absoloutly beautiful, such vibrant colours and the dancing was excellent. I dont know where they get there energy....lots of Redbull I think!! (LS)

Corcovado and the HUGE Christ.

We spent the best part of 2 days until we finally got to christ in all his glory!! Day 1 we did the famous cog-train to the summit - which we both thought was a little expensive at nearly 10 pounds each. You get on the tram/train and accend through the forest upto the summit - although on our visit we ran into some thick cloud about 3/4 of the way up and could see anything for the rest of the journey or indeed at the top (If there werent pictures to show you the statue of Christ was there we wouldnt have believed it was - the clouds were that thick!!) a VERY disappointing day. However, persistance is the key, and 2 days later we decided to try our luck again.

This time around we were stopped by a group of minibus operators doing tours to the summit - we negotiated a price (Approx 50% of what we paid for the cog train) and took a much more scenic drive to the top, stopping off at the helicopter pad for a different view of the Corcovada (Not offered by the train.) When we eventually got to the top, the views were spectacular (See the pics) and for me, was one of the highlights of Rio (DM)

The beaches

Ipanema had a much cleaner (And safer!!) beach than Copa, I thought the water would be clearer though. People seemed to gather in a small strip quite close to the waterfront, taking up every spare bit of sand until they were forced to spread out further away from the sea. There were lots of families drinking thoughout the day on one spot. All day long people would come by selling all sorts of things, Tasty tea, beach balls (carrying 100's on their head), agua, coca, skoll, coconut water, jewellery, head rests, suncream, cheese on a stick (yummy), clothes, sarongs name it, they had it! (LS)

Things to remind us of Rio

* Caiphrina´s
* Man on street with gangreenous leg - Poor man
* Thongs (or lack of) on the beach
* Men going about their daily business in their speedos - Funny!!
* Very vain People - they even took make-up to the beach
* "Agua, Coca, Skoll!" (The cries of the beach vendors)
* The happy, friendly, helpful people
* New Natural Restaurant - Good for Veggies, healthy food and natural medicines
* Our Apartment "103 Rua Nosciamento Silvre"
* Christ and the amazing views
* Favales - Rios slums
* Party, Party , Party - The Carnival
* Street vendors - Corn on the cobs and Meats on a stick
* Wagner - "what the f*ck"
* Black & white promenade´s
* Agua de coco (Coconut water)
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