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No Worries 'Mas o Menos' 2 years on the road, travelling South East Asia, China, South & Central America and who knows where after that... Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dojo77/collections/

And the winner is ...........

BRAZIL | Friday, 29 January 2010 | Views [2046] | Comments [5]



Having won the right to host the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics in 2016, Rio won its most coveted prize when we chose it as the destination to return to our travels. Having had a great, albeit very cold time, catching up with family and friends (apologies to those we missed) over Christmas and putting on more weight than I care to mention, for some reason we decided that we would go to a city famed for it’s sun, beaches and beautiful people. What were we thinking?!

The first thing that we noticed on the beach is that the Cariocas (locals) dress differently to their Asian counterparts. In much of Asia people would go for a dip fully clothed, here people wear much, much less which is not always a good thing! Probably nowhere is this more true than at the huge Copacabana Beach which is where we decided to base ourselves.

The area isn’t without it’s drawbacks, it has a very publicised crime problem like a great deal of Brazil. However, perhaps the areas biggest drawback has been my Barry Manilow loving partner breaking out into his hit of the same name every five minutes :) We also ventured to the equally famous Ipanema Beach where it quickly became apparent that apart from the title line we didn’t know any other words to the ‘The Girl from Ipanema’.

The beaches may monopolise the streets of Rio but it’s the skyline that holds the cities most dominant feature. On top of Corcovado hill (710m) stands one of the seven wonders of the modern world, a 38 metre high statue of .....

Cristo Redentor/Christ the Redeemer that can be seen day and night from all over Rio. Although the statue is not a big as we first thought, he always had your attention and your eyes were drawn towards him from all over the city.

Pao de Acucar or Sugar Loaf Mountain also gives a spectacular view of Rio and apparently it’s so named as it resembles the packages that the Portuguese used to send sugar back to Portugal in, in the 1600’s. If this is true, what were they thinking?

Although more glaring is the fact that when they arrived in January 1502, they confused the sea with a river and hence the name Rio De Janeiro or River of January. Maybe I’m just being ignorant, although I must admit that it’s a nice change to hear about someone other than the British running roughshod over the countries we’ve visited.

Speaking of ignorance......Brazil is famous for its Carnival and before researching Rio I was unaware that it is a competition and the the festivities are held in a purpose built ever present stadium called the Sambodromo rather than just in the closed streets of Rio, as it is in other locations around the country.

Liking a good party but not liking the expense associated with Carnival, and being particularly bad at dancing, we thought that it would be good to come to Rio and experience some of the build up to the festivities.

As well as loving Carnival while in Rio we discovered that Brazilians are quite enamoured with a game called futebol! Until recently Rio was home to the largest football stadium in the world, the Maracana which held 200,000, but often more. However, due to all seating requirements to win the World Cup 2014 bid, the Maracana now only holds a mere 100,000. We tried to go for a look around but unfortunately it closed early due to a game in the evening.

Like young boys the world over children in Rio dream of being a footballer and of one day playing at the Maracana. Approximately one sixth of the population of Rio live in favelas (slums) almost all with no access to sanitation and hot water. In most places in the world, hillsides which provide great views are prime real estate, but in Rio due to landslides, it's where the favelas are built. Like being born in the Indian caste system, favela children have little prospects of betterment from the life to which they were born and many join gangs and turn to a life of crime, leading to Rio’s dubious reputation. The social inequality here is as stark as anywhere we've seen.

As budget travellers we’ve found our first days in Brazil expensive but nothing compared to what those in the favelas must feel. The accommodation, transport and food is certainly more expensive than in Asia (Toto, I have the feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!) but the transport has been good and the food is spectacular, if not a little salty. The churrasco (slow cooked scewered bbq meats) and per kilogram buffet meals have not been good to the ever increasing waistline, and i’m sure the Caipirinhas on the beach aren’t going to help either!

Despite adjusting to some changes to life on a different continent we’ve had a great time in Rio, although the language has also proved a bit of a problem. Brazil is the only nation that we plan to visit in the region that speaks Portuguese rather than Spanish, so we didn’t think lessons would be cost effective, which much like in China has lead to some strange looks.

It seems that we can’t even say Rio correctly as it is pronounced He-o and Janeiro is Haneiro. I’ve learnt now that if you get a strange look when attempting to speak to locals change a few letters for H’s and see how you go!


Hyan and Ho

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dojo77/sets/72157623326531346/


Tags: brazil, copacobana, cristo redentor, rio de janeiro, sambodromo, sugar loaf




Nice one Ho and Hyan - congrats for getting back on the road. Having not been to either north, central or south america i'm very much looking forward to the blog installments - keep 'em coming.

  Jodes Feb 3, 2010 8:42 AM


Hi, you guys are fab.! Really burst into laugh when reading your blogs. You should seriously start the next career in travel writing and presenting.

Keep more good blogs coming.....Bettina (ABN Amro)

  Bettina Feb 3, 2010 1:57 PM


have a Caipirinha for your old comrade - currently waylaid in dry Hampi.

  doddboy Feb 4, 2010 12:23 AM


And don't forget that L at the end of a word is pronounced U as in BRASI-U.

And T is TCH as in HO-TCH-MAI-U (hotmail) and HOBER-TCH HEDG-FO-DG (robert redford).


  David Kaspar Feb 4, 2010 3:20 AM


Hey ryanandjo,

We like your story and decided to feature it this week on the WorldNomads Adventures homepage so that others can enjoy it too.

Happy Travels!
World Nomads

  World Nomads Feb 15, 2010 11:34 AM

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