July 24th - We got up up at about 10am and had the breakfast which was the same as yesterday. Unfortunatley it was cloudy today, as we were going to get a boat to Lopez Mendez which is meant to be an amazing beach but decided there was no point as it looked like it was going to rain. Instead we just walked around the town and did our travbuddy. In the afternoon the sun came out and we went to beach and chilled out with our books. That night we stayed in and played pool with the others in the hostel drinking Christine´s caiprinhas.
July 25th - We got up early and caught the fast boatback, cost us 50 Reais each but was a much better way to go. The boat took about 1 and a half hours and Emma felt a bit sick on the way (it was a sign of things to come!).
We then were picked up in a minibus and driven straight back to our hostel in Rio where we had left our backpacks. In the afternoon we walked along Copacabana beach for a while before heading back to the hostel to cook. We had arranged to meet Kate & Adam at their hostel later about 9pm as we were all planning to go to the street party in Lapa. We got to their hostel which was cool with lots of people sitting around drinking and a couple of guys just playing their guitars with everyone getting involved with a bit of singing. Unfortunately it started pouring of rain so we decided that the street party would not be a good idea, but is was the hostel security guards birthday and he persuaded about 30 of us to follow him to a Karaoke bar. We all got there and it was a very bizarre place, like the club in Phoenix Nights.
It was a surreal experience as the owner would not serve any of us even though we more than doubled the customers he already had. We couldn´t just stand around without a drink so left. Outside it had stopped raining so we all jumped in cabs and headed off to the street party at Lapa at about 1.30am. We got there and followed the security guy and another local guy out with us up to a street under some railway arches that was buzzing with people dancing samba in the streets, drums and loud music playing and loads of people selling alcohol on the side of the road. It was fab! We stayed for a few hours just getting drunk and dancing with the locals, such a fun experience. We got a cab back to Copacabana about 4am with Kate and Adam and went to bed.
July 26th - we slept in until about midday and then chilled in the hostel for a while.
Emma was not feeling very well this morning so Neil then went out to buy some havaianas before we went ot the beach to meet kate and Adam. It was about 3pm so it wasn´t very hot and we just sat and people watched for a couple of hours. Neil went into the sea for the first time and nearly drowned because of the waves!! He then kept finding sand in his ears and eyes for the next few days! When the sun went in we headed back to our hostel and watched the top 20 80´s hits with a few people from the hostel as everyone was hung over from the night before.
July 27th - We were planning to catch a bus to Leblon this morning but we slept in again as Emma was still not feeling too good.
We had booked tickets to go to the Maracana stadium to see Flamengo v Botofogo (a local derby) that evening so were hoping Emma would be feeling a bit better later. We decided to just stay in the hostel until we got picked up about 3pm. Neil was very excited about seeing this stadium and so was Emma so she didn´t want to miss it. We got picked up at 3pm and were the first on the minibus, we drove around to three other hotels and picked up more people, and at the last stop we picked up two couples who we had met on Ilha Grande. We pulled up around the stadium and it was buzzingwith life, it seems that nearly every single person wears the shirt of their team, there were loads of street sellers, as usual, selling beers and loads of different food, and also selling shirts, flags, horns, hats etc.
.. As we were quite early the guide with us said we could stand around the streets for about 20 minutes and have a beer which was fun. We went into the stadium and sat with the two other couples and had about an hour and a bit before kick off so it was good to see the stadium filling up. When we first got in there was a game going on between an XI from a TV company and an XI from a water company, a bit random! Then as it got nearer to kick off there was a little old man, who looked about 75 doing kick ups on the pitch, he was amazing and must have only let the ball drop a few times in about an hour! Emma loved him. Just before kick off the stadium was packed and we were surrounded by locals who were very lively and loud and the atmosphere was amazing with people banging seats.
The opposition fans at one end of the stadium had giant flags on poles and about 10 guys were running along at the front of the stand back and forth. As the teams came out the stadium erupted and it was well worth the wait as this is what we imagined a south amrican stadium would be like. A gigantic flag was sent across all the fans at the end of the stadium and there were loads and loads of flares set off which looked amazing now that is was dark. The game itself was excellent, so open and it could easily have ended 5 - 5 but the only thing we didnt see was a goal, there were chances off the post, the bar, cleared off the lines, open goals missed so it definately wasn´t boring! It ended nil nil. We were taken back to our hostel in the minibus and arranged to catch up with one of the couples, Zoe and Rich, as they were off to Salvador like us next.
That night we just chilled in the hostel bar with some Irish blokes and went to bed quite early.
July 28th - We got up early this morning as our taxi came to pick us up at 6.15am for our 9am flight to Salvador. The flight was fine and on time and when we arrived there was people playing african music and handing out ribbons. We got picked up from the airport by our hostel in Salvador. The hostel was more like a hotel as we got a lift to our room and there wasn´t much of a communual area which shut at 10pm, although the kitchen was really good. It wasn´t the sort of place to meet lots of people which was a shame. We were really tired so we went to bed in the afternoon, got up and ate then went back to sleep!
July 29th - After breakfast we caught the bus to pelourinho which is the main tourist part of the town.
We decided to stay there the whole day as tuesday is the big night in Pelourinho for live music. Our first impressions of salvador was that we didn´t feel as safe on the streets and it felt like everyone was looking you up and down but the more time we spent there the more comfortable we felt. We went to market Modelo first which is a 2 story building full of souvenirs and clothes aimed at tourists which you have to take a lift down to and pay 1.5p. we did not buy anything but on the way to the historic square we got corned by a local selling necklaces. He was very persuasive and dropped in the converstaion he was from a favella....we thought we´d better get something so Emma bought a bead necklace! Every street seller tries to get your attention by handing out these colourful ribbons which are the symbol of the Salvador carnival and are everywhere.
We looked around the shops, went to a museum and then went to the tourist information to find out about the free music for the night and also where there was a doctor for Emma as she was still not feeling well. We couldn´t find the doctors so went back to ask them to write down what she had in Portuguese and were amazed when the lady got on the phone and came off saying she had called an ambulance! We quickly told her to cancel it and took the translation with us. We then went to sit in a cafe for a couple of hours watching the main square. It was brill people watching and so many people came up to us trying to get money from us by doind different tricks like juggling coconuts which was a 7 year old boy. He was really good so we gave him some money but no one else! After staying there it was starting to get dark so we went to look for the free music shows.
We couldn´t find them so went back to the main stage where there was some children playing drums and men singing. They were really good, people were dancing and some local men were doing capoeira which is an angolan martial art brought to Brazil in the slave times but has now been converted to a dance. It is amazing to watch and the lads are so muscly!! We tried the local dish of acaraje which is like a potato cake deep fried in palm oil cut in half and filled with some gue, salsa and shrimps. We liked it apart from the shrimps and they tasted wierd and they ate them with the shells still on (probably not the best thing for Emma to eat!!). We then got a cab back to the hostel.
July 30th - We were due to go on a sightseeing bus today, but woke up at 7am to the alarm and decided we needed more sleep so went down to reception, got our money back for the tickets and went back to sleep until about 11am! Emma was still not feeling great, she was feeling fine most of the time, but after eating got bad stomach cramps for a few minutes.
We tried the pharmacy and they suggested that it could be a bug and that she should visit a doctor, we checked our insurance docs and decided to give it a couple more days when we found out the minimum excess was 75 pounds! We caught a bus back to the Pelourinho in the afternoon and walked around a bit just looking in differnt shops for prices on havaianas and brazil football shirts. We went back to the hostel and cooked dinner there before watching a dvd in the evening and went to our room about 9.45pm to read our books which we were both really in to!
July 31st - We got up and after breakfast decided to spend this day on the beach. The beach at Barra was only a 3 minute walk from the hostel so after stopping off for a 30p hot dog on the way we laid on the beach for a few hours and enjoyed as usual people watching, Brazil is a great place for it! Then we had a walk along the coast in the afternoon and walked around the famous lighthouse.
We went back to the hostel and got showered and changed and about 8pm we met Rich and Zoe, the Australian couple in an Irish bar down by the beach. We had a couple of drinks and played pool before going for dinner and trying another Brazilian dish called Moqueca, which is like a shrimp stew served with Rice, beans and a soup like dish.
August 1st - We got up early this morning and took our backpacks to a new hostel as we were going to Morro de Sao Paulo and our hostel was going to charge us money for looking after them while we were gone for 2 days, so we decided to cahnge hostels for when we came back. We then set off for Morro, there are direct boats there but we decided to go the cheaper way which is half the price and the way locals go.
We started by getting a bus to the port where we waited for over an hour for a boat to a coastal town. The boat was an experience in itself it was packed with people carrying on their chickens and lots of people selling different foods and drinks. When we got to the town we then got a bus to Valenca for about 1.5 hrs, where we got a taxi to the port and caught a speedboat to Morro Sao Paulo. It was a bit of a mission but saved 20 pounds. There was people when we arrived trying to get us to stay in their hostel but we decided to look around ourselves. the first one we tried was 75 pounds a night but luckily we found one and got down to 6 pounds a night for a private ensuite, breakfast included. That afternoon we wandered around, it is a lovely place with sandy streets and lots of little shops and there seems to be a party buzz everywhere.
We found the beach and sat there for a while and on the night we ate out as it was as cheap if we were going to cook.
August 2nd - Today we had a full day on the beach moving between sunbathing and swimming in the crystal clear water. When we first got to the beach we were amazed to see rock pools stretching a long way out that had been completely covered the afternoon before when the tide was in. We had a walk out around them and saw hundreds of crabs, different types of fish and a jellyfish! On the beach we sat down near a group of local guys who were practising the Capoiera dancing on the sand which was really good to see as they were on sand they were able to do a lot more back flips and somersaults. That evening we met Zoe and Rich again as they had arrived that day and we all went out for dinner and then found a nice bar right on the beach and sat and had a few drinks.
Emma was approached by a little black boy who must have been about 6 and he made her and then Zoe a bracelet out of flowers by joining them together which we all really impressed with so we gave him 2 Reais each and he was so happy that he ran off waving the money to his friend, Emma wanted to take him with us!
August 3rd - We checked out at about 10.30am and then couldn´t decide how to get home. The cheap option or more expensive but a lot quicker. We decided to go for the quicker option as it meant we could stay a bit longer and also you needed cash the cheap way and we had none! We went and sat on the beach with Zoe and Rich for a couple of hours, ate some roasted cheese from a beach seller then headed to the port for our speed boat. The next 2 hours were horrible for Emma as it was really choppy and she was badly sea sick, got through about 5 sick bags but it looks like she got rid of her bug as has had no cramps since! We got back to our hostel at about 6pm and that night we watched a film and went on the internet. In Brazil you have to pay for using internet in hostels so we weren´t on too long!
August 4th - We slept in til late and missed breakfast so went out about midday to the supermarket. We then caught a bus to the Pelourhino to buy some things. Emma got a new pair of trainers for running in New Zealand and Australia for a bargain price of about 16 pounds and then Neil got a brazil football shirt (none come without a number and players name so he went for Pele, 10) and we both got a new pair of Havaianas for Australia. We caught the bus back to the hostel, the local buses are really easy to use in Salvador, and chilled out in the hostel in the evening, cooking dinner and having a few drinks with a German couple we met.
August 5th - Today we have spent a few hours on the beach, probably our last beach and sun time til we get to Australia! We have then just come back to the hostel and written this blog. Tonight we are going to bed early as we are getting picked up by a taxi at 3.30am for our 6am flight to Sao Paulo, 8 hours waiting in that airport and then our flight to Santiago, Chile.