Rio de Janeiro
"Her name was Lola, she was a show girl..." Two things we learnt about Copacabana beach, it's amazing and dangerous. During the day the place is packed with Brazilians, tourists and walking sellers. They sell everything from bikinis hanging on umbrellas to kababs cooked with a DIY mobile barbecue. At night the place comes to life as flood lights shine on the 4km stretch of beach packed with youngsters playing football, volleyball and exercising on the outdoor gyms in the cool air. I say cool, it is still 80% humid! The beach is a dangerous place and we were advised not to take anything valuable to the beach... #nophotos. Two girls in our hostel saw a group of boys running on the beach snatching everything on their path. We only took a bottle of water and just about survived Copacabana (Maryam nearly drowned in the sea due to some seriously strong waves).
Facing Christ the Redeemer in Lisbon Portugal is the more famous Christ the Redeemer up on Rio's Corcavado mountain. To get to the top we got a funicular like train through the forest, the couple in front of us on the train took a video of the whole 30min journey, highlights of that video include treetreetreetreetreetree... #noonewillwatchthat
Before leaving, our friends Sophie and Ryan gave us lovingly selfish Lego figurines of themselves, so they will be accompanying us throughout the trip (until we lose them), as well as our old is gold chum Ranj since as quoted by the DP/NP crew, Shani is always with us! Please put your hands together for sexy Jo, randy drunken Ryan, surfer Sophie (I mean snowboarder), hardcore parkour CHawkins and old is gold Ranjeeeeet!
To round up Rio; People are chilled out, walk a slower pace and are very helpful. The city of Rio is best seen from a height... At birds eye view the city looks glorious and beautiful, at street level it's much dated, dense and busy.
Stern yet very helpful
State of WCs:
9/10 Very good! Tiolet seat, tiolet paper and clean!
26 - 38*c
Ham and cheese
No. Of bites:
Maryam 9 v 1 Andy
Bronze curvy gates in Rio, coloured windows/door lintels in Paraty, far too many shit tattoos
On a hot day when passing a supermarket put a big bottle of water into the back/bottom of the fridge/freezer. On return it'll be ice cold!
Monkeys, snakes, birds a many (including vultures), albino crabs, fish, too many mosquitos
The largest of 300 islands on the Rio de Jeniro Provence is Ilha grande. Approaching the island we couldn't help but hum the Jurassic park theme tune, just imagine forest covered mountains with many secluded beaches. As we got closer to our little hostel in the main village we noticed around 10 electricians looking up at a wooden pole scrambled with power lines on top. Turns out there had been a power cut, so we spent the 3 days on the island with candles, head torch and little power! It was all very pretty and romantic and the food was amazing.
One of the highlights here would have to be the night we looked up at the sky to see a perfectly circular red balloon, the poor child who lost it... Oh wait it was actually the super lunar eclipse! We did a 3 hour hike here with some inclines of over 100m, and under the heat it felt hella tiring, no idea how we're going to do the inca trail! Along the forest walk we saw a snake eat a frog, many monkeys and a cat hunting albino crabs #gokitty
Paraty + Trindade
A chatty hostel rep in Rio told us to stay in Trindade to get off the beaten track... And it was! We took a rickety bus (thank god we brought travel seat belts and yes you look like nudes) from the town of Paraty and an hour later ended in a tiny village with a few restaurants and a crepe shop. Our accommodation was a shack come hostel in the middle of the forest where we slept under mosquito nets and everything felt damp. Did I mention the crepe shop, well, it helped us 3 times, ask how? First, we couldn't find our hostel and walking down the road we decided to ask the guy at the crepe shop for directions as he looked friendly. Though in Portuguese he gave excellent directions. Second, we were very hungry and other places didn't look as though they were serving yet so we ate at the crepe shop. But most importantly, in Paraty we were about to get the wrong bus when a lady explained that the next bus was to Trindade and that she too was to get on it so we should wait with her. That lady was the chef in the crepe shop! Thank you crepe shop.
Sao Pauloooooooooo! Typical inter-city rivalry! We were told by all the ‘Cariocas’ in Rio that Sao Paulo wasn’t worth visiting but oh how wrong they were! The ‘Paulistanos’ are just as friendly and welcoming and the city is full of cultural and architectural interest.
Supposedly, Sao Paulo is so famous for its pizza that it is deemed to be ‘better than Naples’. As we have sampled true Naples pizza we thought we’d best test out this claim and clear any doubt! Well, we can honestly say it was incredible, however... it was no Naples and we can only give it a 2nd place standing in our top pizzas of the world chart (newly created as of today). It really was a top effort though.
We have made friends with the workers in our hostel (Hostel Alice – highly recommended for any visitors to Sao Paulo) and our host took us to the Municipal Markets to sample some of the local produce! It is common for the sellers to give you tasters of the fruit and we were innundated with samples of some of the most exotic and colourful fruits we had ever seen. We have no idea what half of them were but, even the ones we did know (mangos, oranges, etc.) were even more delicious than you could find back home.
We have also discovered the best way to get rid of unwanted attention from street sellers! We visited the ’25 of March’ which is a street lined with shops selling knock-off items. Our host was walking along when a lady rubbed a hand-held massage device on his shoulder. Despite his 6-foot plus frame and build he let off a high-pitched scream then keeping a dead straight face he continued to walk down the street as if nothing happened. Needless to say, he cleared the crowd.
As a farewell to both Sao Paulo and Brazil we spent our last night dancing at a Brazilian + African night in a local bar. As expected being latin Americans – Brazilians know how to dance! On top of the locals shaking their hips, there were also live dancers performing traditional Afro-Brazilian dance to the sound of beating drummers. The performances were so energetic and intense and were phenomenal to watch!
Next stop Argentina, only a 17 hour overnight bus journey away...