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Warm Welcome in Rio

BRAZIL | Saturday, 27 December 2008 | Views [862]

From Foz do Iguacu (on the Brazilian side of the falls) we decided to get a bus straight to Rio de Janeiro. What a long bus journey that was. We couldn't even get a good bus. Just 25 little hours later we arrived in Rio's extremely busy bus station. While Peru and Bolivia had been dominated by Indian Andean types and Argentina and Chile could easily have been European, as soon as we got to Rio it was very apparent that Brazil was something else. There seem to be no two people that are the same colour, it ranges from pale people with blond hair to the blackest of black people and all of these different influences have made Brazil really different to the other countries we have visited. Plus, they speak Portuguese here, just when we were getting used to the Spanish. It's supposed to be similar and in written form they do look similar, but spoken they are so different. Right back to square one. Anyway, obviously we had to get a taxi to our hostel. We both agreed that the R$30 that the drivers were trying to charge was completely unreasonable, even though we had only just got here, didn't know how much things cost or how long it would take to get to the hostel. So we got a less official taxi that only charged R$20. After 10 minutes I realised that our driver was definitely on drugs, he was obviously having a little dance party in his head even though there was no music. I couldn't say anything to Dave as he was in the front and besides, we couldn't get out anyway, who knows where he would have left us. Eventually the guy found our hostel and by this time he had decided he wanted R$25 instead of 20. Dave was not happy about this. He waited for me to get the bags out of the car and then said to the driver, “Ok, I'll give you R$21”. He gave the driver a 20 and a 1, the driver tried to swap the twenty for a two and make it look like Dave had underpaid him, at which point Dave lost his temper and gave him his standard “Get f*****d!” as he slammed the door. I prayed that the driver would A. drive off B. be too drugged to fight and C. did not have a gun. Luckily he did A so we didn't have to find out about B and C. Nice introduction to Rio.

We spent the first two nights in Rio Hostel, which was ok. The staff were really good but the place was filled with Children of the World types who just get on your nerves. We went out one evening to an area called Lapa and although it was pissing down it was quite good. Lots of the bars have Samba bands and people just stand out in the streets dancing. We went back to the hostel after a few drinks. In the morning Dave got out of the top bunk and said to me “Don't turn around”. Why? Because the slightly smelly Child of the World who was sleeping in the bed across from mine and who hadn't bothered to put the sheets on his bed, had also decided to sleep naked! Dave tried to wake him up, but the guy was too drunk so Dave threw a spare pillow over the offending parts. Unable to sleep we got up to have a shower. When we got back to the room, the guy had decided that he really did want to be naked and discarded the pillow on the floor. This time Dave did manage to wake the guy up and he politely told him to “Put some f***ing clothes on.” Luckily we went to a different hostel that day. The other hostel was pretty good. It had the same name and was owned by the same people but was in a completely different location, right on Ipanema beach, the slightly cooler beach adjoining Copacabana.

What did we think of Rio? Well to be honest we probably didn't give it a fair chance as we weren't there for long enough. But, it was definitely a hassle to get around and the statue of Christ the Redeemer was a little disappointing for me, although the views were good. Some people who had been there longer were having a great time and so the city does seem to have a lot to offer if you give it a chance . To be honest I think we were bored with cities and ready for some time on a good beach. So off we went to Ilha grande.

Christo Redentor - Christ the Redeemer, Rio.

Christo Redentor - Christ the Redeemer, Rio.

Tags: lapa, rio de janeiro, rio hostel

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