Blocos..

Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog

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Copacabana Beach
Today was all about finding our feet (they were still at the bottom of my legs) The hotel we were staying was really nice, we had a sea view over Copacabana Beach (well if you opened the window and looked on a funny angle!) perfect location. There are quite a few districts in Rio, i cant believe how big this place is.
On our first visit to the beach i was nervous, we followed all the advice and didnt take any belongings. I think were the only tourists there, and with the palest skin ever we stood out like a sore thumb but it was ok and no-one bothered us. The beach is huge, over 40 km long full of locals enjoying the sun.
In the evening i met up with an aussie friend laurence, i had been chatting to him on the internet for a few months and had planned to meet for drinks. We went to a Bloco (street party) these parties are everywhere in Rio during the carnival. People with drums and costumes parading through the streets from 9am till 3am. You just find out where they are at certain times, meet up, follow the drums, drink and dance, brilliant! after a few drinks i was talking to locals, and relaxing. Especially with the help of alcohol its easy to let your guard down, a few people had already been pickpocketed so i was aware it was happening. I didnt have anything to take anyhow, just a little cash stuffed down my bra! but i felt mainly safe and everyone was in good spirits. So far so good...
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Copacabana Beach
The trip started with a drive down to Heathrow. Thinking we had plenty time to get there we set off at midnight. Little did we know that there was road works for the majority of the way!
Having arrived at the airport, we met up with Craig who was coming with us, as they called out the flight numbers we then realised that we were on different flights, Craig booked seperate to us and booked on the wrong one. He had an extra stop in Sao Paulo, meaning his journey would take an extra 4 hours!
Things were not running as smooth as i would have liked, and as i handed over my passpost at the check in desk things started to get a whole lot worse.. "Can i have the credit card you paid with please" she said "urm i dont have it with me" i replied "well you cannot board the flight without it, its your form of identification" she explained they were cracking down on credit card fraud and needed the card to go ahead.
View from the hotel
This baffled me as i had my passport so it was clearly me standing infront of her, her lips didnt move but i knew by the look on her face i wasnt going anywhere. What the hell was i gonna go, drive back home, fly tommorow?? I was asked to go to the ticket desk, were the man told me i would have to pay for the flight again, which was a nightmare, but she then explained my original booking would be refunded so no extra cost was paid, thank god! You wouldnt think i worked for an airline the way i was acting.
So we boarded our first sector to Madrid, by this point i had not slept for 24 hours so tried to sleep but was put right next to a group of 12 of the noisest people you have ever heard, i felt as though i knew this lady so well by the time i got off the plane, her marriage problems, stress at work, various visits to the doctors (ill spare you the details) I just hoped they we not sat next to me on the next sector!
Luckily they were not near us and had an ok flight of 10 hours to Rio. My dads friend Monica (who lives in Rio) picked us up from the airport which was a great help, it was carnage at arrivals, people everywhere, hot and humid!
My flight impression of Rio was what i had a imagined really, on leaving the airport the first thing you see are the favelas (huge shanty towns) Mases of wooden and brick shacks pilled on top of eachother smothering the hills. Loads of kids in the middle of the hihway trying to sell you things, jugglers entertaining you at traffic lights in exchange for some money. But as always i give everywhere a chance and as i could my first glimse of the Cristo Redendor, a huge staue of christ looking down over this huge city, i felt its charm.

The Sambadrome is the place to be during carnival. It consists of 700m stretch of street converted into a permanent parade with seating built on either side for spectators. Its capacity is 90,000! Its a chance for rich and poor to come together for one night,the people from the favelas are in the parades whilst the higher class watch them from the seats. Me and Damian purchased our tickets a few hours before and probably paid more than necessary but that seems to be a common accurance with everything over here. I was not expecting the sambadrome to be so big, its huge! We arrived a couple of hours earlier in order to get a good spot (which we failed at) but we were quite high up and could see the street perfect. There were 6 samba schools on this night, and another 6 tommorow they all parade down the street which takes just over an hour per school, they are then judged and the winner revealed later in the week. From watching bits of the carnival on tv over the last few years i was expecting to see some elaborate costumes, floats and drums, but o boy what i got was the best show i have ever seen in my life! The floats and costumes take 8 months to make and each school have thousands of dancers, each with an amazing costumes. Then theres the floats, they are massive, the pictures will not do it justice atall, there are dancers everywhere all entertaining the crowds. It was sensational. the parades lasted until 5am but i was feeling the effects of drinking too much skol (yes mum the no1 beer here is skol!!!) and decided to leave a little early. Outside the tired dancers where taking their huge platform shoes off and hobbling down the street. The locals were all gathered over the bridge trying to get a glimpse of the parade as it entered the sambadrome. Itmust take so much organising, i dont you realise how many people are involved in this show that lasts just 7 days! I felt great to have been in Rio at this magical time.

rigbydavid1 says:
Passport check, Tickets check, Money check !!!
See you later.......lots of love Dad xxx.
Posted on: Feb 27, 2009
rigbydavid1 says:
Hi Debs,
I'll nip into Spar and buy you some Skol later.
Lots of love, Dad xxx.
Posted on: Feb 24, 2009
amyian says:
Hi Debs

The pictures and the comments are amazing, looks like you are enjoying yourself so much. I cant believe you are drinking SKOL mum will be so jelous. Sh is coming round for tea tomorrow so i will let her read all about it. Keep us up to date its brill reading what you are upto. Love you lots Amy and Ian x
Posted on: Feb 24, 2009
Copacabana Beach
Copacabana Beach
Copacabana Beach
Copacabana Beach
View from the hotel
View from the hotel