29.12.2012 - 06.01.2013
After a few months of planning we finally arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the 29th of December 2012. After hearing horror stories and being warned not to leave the hostel with ANYTHING we were pretty anxious arriving at the airport with all our belongings we needed for the next 6 months! We were coming down the final escalator in Rio airport and I said to Diana in my best Hunger Games announcer 'let the gaaaaames begin!!' Luckily we weren't mobbed by street children looking for our wallets just a bunch of taxi drivers trying to charge us tourists extortionist prices. Still our new saying seemed to stick for the duration of our time in Brazil. On New Year's Eve we had people from all around the world ringing in the new years with 'let the gaaaaaames begin!'
On our first day we did the 'city tour' of Rio. This included a visit to Christ the Redeemer, the Sugar Loaf, the steps in Lapa (the awesome steps in Pharell and Snoop Dog`s 'Beautiful' video) - me and Diana did our own rendition on the day. Of course we decided to do the city tour on the busiest day of the year which meant 2/3 hours queue at each attraction. On the up side this meant plenty of time for us to make some new mates! Luckily we met the lovely Emma and Kirsty from Sydney - being friends with a doctor and pharmacist whilst travelling can come in very handy!! (Tip for future travellers!) Also our tour guide for the day was a full blown Usher lookalike so we sang Usher songs while waiting in the queues - also very entertaining!
After a full day touring Rio a group of us went to an amazing buffet restaurant for dinner 'Carretao'. With every kind of meat you can imagine I think it was possibly the most I've ever eaten in one sitting. At your seat your given a green circular piece of paper. Once you've had enough you turn it over to the red side so the waiters know not to come over with more food!
We spent New Years eve at the white party on Cococabana beach which was definitely my favourite new years to date! Joined by 2.3 million party goers we watched an amazing 30 mins firework display and in keeping with tradition jumped 7 waves for good luck for the coming year. I have to say me and Diana jumped extra high so fingers crossed!!! We were warned not to bring a bag or any valuables to the beach party so literally just brought ourselves and a bit of hidden cash. We also took some other very important safety measures.... We recruited 2 fabulous bodyguard's from Sao Paulo (Cassio and Raoni) and I wore a large flashing bow on my head so no one would loose me - it proved to be very effective!
After a good lie in the following morning we went to Ipanema beach to watch the sunset. Every day a huge number of people gather at the stones and everyone claps together when the sun sets. We also luckily managed to squeeze in a tour to some of the favellas. (Rio's slums) Although some people are against these tours we felt like it wouldnt be right to leave the city having not seen such a large part of it. The tour was defiantly an eye opener to how so many people in Rio live in very harsh conditions. The favellas are run by the drug gangs and can be quite dangerous but ironically as they get a lot of their income from tourists buying cocaine we were told it would be a safe place for us. We didn't buy drugs but I did get some lovely jewellery and food.
The same day myself Diana and our 2 new Ozzy mates took the boat to Ilha grande, a very popular island about 4 hours from Rio. Unfortunately the weather was awful for the first 2 days. BUT we went there on a mission to visit the popular Lopez Mendes beach (among the worlds best beaches!) so we stayed on the island 3 nights and were lucky to get amazing weather on our final day when we booked the trip over. The beach was so gorgeous and although the sun may have gotten the better of us we were delighted we had stayed an extra night to see it.
That evening we got the boat and bus back to Rio, this would be our last night in Rio and a chance to say goodbye to the Oz ladies and a few other people in Che Lagarto hostel. A group of us went to the popular nightclub 'Melt'. It was quite unusual you get a card on the way in and purchase everything on it and then at the very end of the night you pay the balance. (Good idea for the club but potentially very dangerous for drunk tourists!!)
So overall our week in Brazil was a huge success, we got so much in and did everything we planned and more. The week felt like a month to us so me and Di are wondering after 5/6 months will it feel like we"ve been gone a few years! Eeeekk!! So we're currently on a flight to Lima in Peru...I'm so excited for Machu Picchu..will have to post again after that!
PS. Of course the week wasn't all plain sailing ..its me and Diana come on!! My laser card stopped working the day before I came away so I've technically had no money/cards since! (Thank gawd for Diana!) I also decided to lock all my bags together with a a lock I didn't know the code to. The outcome was getting a young guy working in the hostel in Ilha Grande to use a power drill to break the lock. The fact he`d never used the machine before and he was using it in the lashing rain added extra entertainment to the situation. Also in Ilha Grande we had decided there was no need to book accommodation before getting there so enjoyed over an hours trek around the island with our rucksacks and torrential rain before finally finding somewhere with a free bed! (Not the ideal situation!) That same night the rain got worse in Ilha Grande so we literally went out looking like "sperms on tour". Oh and I realised during the week that I'm booked on the wrong flight home from Oz! (LOL as they say!)
......anyway we`re off to Chunder in Peraahhh!