Rio day one, not much sun but lots of fun
17.09.2013 - 26.09.2013 25 °C
Today I woke up at 5.30 after an early night and was really excited to go out and explore. Brad wanted me to go back to sleep so I wouldn't be too tired tonight but I could hear the city coming alive outside and I wanted to be out there as soon as daylight crept onto the street! I got showered at around 6 which really woke me up since the water was freezing cold! I don't care whether I am in England or Australia or Brazil- a cold shower is never refreshing it's just really cold. I got dressed in my shorts with the secret back pocket and went up to find that the upstairs area was all closed off so I had no choice but to go back to bed until 8.30 when it reopened. When we got up there, two other people were sat at the table and our breakfast was prepared. We had a buffet of fruit, toast, cake, cereal and coffee. There was a green fruit with a pink fleshy inside and I have no idea still what it was but I ate it anyway so that was new before we had even left! The cake was heart shaped and the toast was sugary so it was a great way to start the day. We made friends with the other couple and talked about their experience of rio, and they told us how to use the metro and get into lapa which is where Brad and I began to develop a better perspective of the city. Firstly, if you come to Rio, LEARN PORTUGESE! It is very hard to get around not knowing PORTUGESE and I found myself becoming a mute the majority of the day. We stumbled around the city for around an hour, following no directions, then misleading directions, vague directions and eventually the right directions before we found what we were searching for. And it was worth the wait. Greeted by armed police and stray cats and dogs, along with a gaggle of tourists we made our way up escada selaron. These instantly recognise able stairs are beautiful in a quirky, exciting way. So often I have heard about these so called interesting places which quite frankly bore me. This place was colourful, full of different tiles from all over the world, including a London phone box tile, an ACDC tile and a Michelin man tile. Each was carefully placed, with no hierarchy and no real order other than the words spelt out. We spent a long time exploring the pictures and climbing to the top (passing a man feeding stray cats) and when we reached the top we realised that looking down, these could have been ordinary concrete stairs in Margate! The colours are well hidden from the top of the steep staircase and all around we're burnt out and smashed up cars. It's a strange contrast but it made me think about how much talent and beauty can be right under your nose without you even knowing! On our way out, we met a man named Fernando who we spoke to about the town, about home and various other things. He told us that he had learnt English by talking to all of the tourists while he sold keys at the steps each day. He also said I should stop being shy with PORTUGESE and that I have to practise so I will be doing that later. We bought some keys from him and he offered to take us on a favela tour. I declined. He assured us it was safe but I still politely said no, and this went on for several minutes until we took his number. A number I will never call, bit we were still grateful for the offer. I think it is important to be open to new experiences, and it is good to dip your toes in new water but no way am I diving in without armbands! On the way home we bought a big bunch of bananas and a mango in the market by our road. i think health and safety back home would have had a fit! There were parts of chickens, meat and huge fish all laying on warm tables, flies hovering around them, next to fruit stalls. It was very busy but i wouldnt want to eat any meat or fish from there :s When we got back to the hostel we tried to work out how to get to the forest in tijuca national park but we got on the wrong bus, and it became very stressful very quickly. I'm still tied from flying, I was hungry and quite frankly my patience with the language barrier was wearing thin so we stayed in for the afternoon and I translated some phrases to learn later. We ate some pizza and I had a mango, got chatting to another guest about his studies as he studies favelas and he told us lots about where is safe And why people live in favelas. So that takes me up to now. Me and brad in our room relaxing and getting ready for an early night.