Beautiful people in the beautiful city
Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog› entry 18 of 123 › view all entries
I finally got the the holy land of Rio de Janeiro and after getting ripped off for a taxi from the bus station with the two aussie guys (we had to pay $R35 (£11) when actually the price should be about R$20), we had a look at Mellow Yellow hostel where Dixie and Adam had a reservation. There wasn't any room for me, but I already had a reservation at Che Lagarto in Ipanema so that was cool. Mellow Yellow didn't look all that great anyway!
Got chatting to Roeland ( a dutch guy) in my room and he told me he was off the Lapa street party in the evening - I'd heard it was good, so though I would get involved! It was brilliant! Thousands of people on the street, drinking, dancing to live Samba - a great atmosphere! Not a hint of trouble or anything like that.
Saturday night was samba dancing night - we went to the Selgueiro school near the Maracana stadium - they won the award for 'best dance act' (sounds a bit like a Brit award doesn't it??!) at last years Carnaval, which is a prestigious honour. so they are already in preparations for next year (its in February) and we got to see their new costumes and rehersals - they were superb! Samba is a really fast dance (about the same speed as break-dancing in my opinion), so after a couple of minutes you are sweating your a*se off, but it is good fun.
Went to see the hippy market in Ipanema on sunday - recommended for all those little hand-crafts that girls like. Plenty of jewellry etc - even the blokes can buy their token bracelets which are all the rage with travellers. Roeland bought a hammock as he's going home in a week or so - not sure how he's going to get past British Airways weight limits with it, maybe he will trying wearing it on the plan or something. Good deal though, a quality hammock for R$45 (£15). We took a look at Copacabana later on and yes, we were all singing the Barry Manilow classic hit when we got there - has to be done! The beach has a better setting than Ipanema as it curves round and has the hills behind, but also has a lot more concrete, but I guess that is the postcard view of the most famous beach in the world.
Marthe and Jessica left early Monday morning (thanks for waking me up girls!) as they were heading down to Iguacu (doing two crazy 24 hour bus journeys in the space of 4 days....good luck with that). I wanted to do the Favela tour, so booked myself on it in the afternoon. We got taken to one of the poorest areas of Rio, called Rocinha. Daniella our tour guide was excellent and gave us all the history about how the 'favelays' came about and the links with the drug trade - quite an eye-opener, but really interesting.
Roeland, Roman and I decided to go on the 'city tour' as a way of doing the sights together as it can be quite time consuming doing them separately and I didn't have much time left. It was a half day tour and we went up to Christo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer statue), which was pretty awesome- a massive 120m statue plonked on the top of a hill - a miracle Jesus would have been proud of!! We had a quick look round the Maracana stadium and the place where Carnaval takes place and went to Downtown Rio.
The Selgueiro school when organised through our hostel cost R$45, but the actual entrance fee that gets paid on the door is only R$10, and all you get extra is transport and a 'guide'. If you can make your way there independently, that would be a lot cheaper.
Favela tour - with www.bealocal.com - cost R$65 through the hostel, same company used by all the hostels so is easy to arrange.
City tour - through hostel - cost R$60 (same company runs it as per Favela tour) - is decent value as getting to Christo Redentor and Sugar Loaf on your own can be a pain in the a*se. Sugar Loaf cable car is extra (R$50).