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Brazil

BRAZIL | Monday, 1 October 2007 | Views [623]

Time for some sun.  We flew into Rio on the 19th of september.  I month later than expected.  All of a sudden its hot, I dont know any of the language and life moves to a very different beat.  This has been the biggest culture shock since flying into lima, and its great to get a shock once in a while.

We meet up with Matty in Rio, the team is reunited, and because he has spent 3 weeks here already, was our tour guide.

Rio is everything I had hoped for, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are brilliant.  You can sit in your beach chair and be served beers, caparinhas, prawns, oysters, grilled cheese etc while watching the circus that goes on around you.  Amazing.  Sluggoes and G strings are the norm, unfortunately you take the good with the bad, even the oldies wear this gear!  Theres lots of fresh fruit and juices here which is great too.

We hit the tourist activities, seeing Cristo Renedor (JC statue) and sugarloaf mountain for brilliant views of Rios spectacular coastline.  We have seen 2 football games, both amazing with atmosphere that makes the MCG feel like punt road.  Flares, dancing, chants and lots of blokes with their tops off!  We will be in and out of rio 3 times so will have more to add here.

We took 4 days to go to Ilha Grande, an island 2hrs sth of Rio.  Its a great holiday destination where there are no cars, splendid beaches and good hiking.  Its a very weather dependent place, 2 days of rain and 2 of sun gave us a mixed impression.  Life moves pretty slowly here, a great place to unwind with a book.  Walks to Lopez Mendes and the smurphs hat were highlights.

We had to get back to rio for the AFL grand final (or sheepy would have killed us).  We watched the demolition with a handful of other chirpy aussies and sheepy, after a very nervous week shed tears at the wind. 

Next for Salvador... We chose to fly the 2hrs north rather than catch the 24hr bus (only our 2nd internal flight for the trip) as it was almost as cost effective.  Salvador is an amazingly vibrant place, based around the historial Pelourinho and home of carnival.  Its afro brazilian culture is full of music, dance and life generally is very lively.  We stayed at a great little hostel that was our base for a 4-5 days of street parties, market trips and a trip to a sea turtle sanctuary.  We enjoyed our time here but did struggle to feel completely comfortable as it has a reputation for being the most dangerous city in Brazil.

We had then planned to crawl our way back to Rio via the coast, however we ended up getting stuck in a town called Itacare.  Itacare is a sleepy surfing village with a growing tourist population (many of whom are Brazilian).  We met some friends from Rio here who had rented out an apartment and got stuck for over a week.  Its a town of hammocks, beaches, tattoes and caiparinha street vendors, and the hardest decision each day was which of the 5 pristine beaches we would visit.  Im pretty sure I could live here....and we did toss up the idea!

Having spent too much time in Itacare, we buses straight back to Rio, in time to for the Brazil vs Equador world cup qualifier.  Brazil havent played in Rio for 10 years (they usually play in Sao Paolo), so the locals were estatic, particularly after the their team shook off a sluggish start to bang home 4 second half goals to win 5-0.  Kaka and Robinho both scored amazing goal, as the home side went into party mode.  It is too be noted that both Ronaldinho and Robinho both missed their next club matches as a result of post match partying...

So now our time in Brazil was up, and thus ended our Sth American adventure.  We were all finding it hard not to look forward to getting set up in London, finding work etc, but no doubt we were all feeling sad that this leg was up.  Such adventures, such amazing sights and experiences.  Most of which Ill never forget.  I wont waffle, but its a beautiful and diverse continent, go see it for yourself! 

Tags: party time

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