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Death defying taxi to the middle of nowhere

My boyfriend will be going home in a straight jacket

overcast 24 °C

This morning I was up at 4.30. The jet lag has not worn off yet so my body clock is crazy. It was hot and I was feeling itchy and irritated so I snuck out of bed at 6 for a nice shower. I used the other bathroom today and got a beautiful hot shower, took my time with my makeup and pulled my hair back into a top knot- I didn't quite have the energy to wrestle my fingers through the ends after a long night of tossing an turning, experience has taught me not to pick fights you can't win. I took the ipad upstairs and having discovered that the Internet connection was down, I practiced my portugese phrases, edited some of our photos from the day before and enjoyed the morning breeze in the lofty sitting room. Brad came up for breakfast with me as soon as the outside area was open and we enjoyed a nice coffee .Brad took forever to get ready as I knew he would, and then spent ages going over and over instructions on how to find the highest peak in Rio in this Tijuca rainforest. We planned our trip- taxi, follow the map and instructions from several other people who had done the trails online. Fullproof right? What's the worst that can happen?
An earthquake would be bad. But what happened to us was a close second...
I had a little page with all my Portuguese instructions for the driver, and it was easy to flag one down. I asked for the entrance to the Tijuca rainforest- Alto Da Boa Vista and we pulled away. Approximately one minute and about 30ft later the taxi broke down and we had to get out, cross the road and hail another one. The driver of the second taxi seemed friendly enough. From the moment we got in he was confident that he knew how to get where we wanted to go, as was apparently excited about rock in rio as he kept air banging drums and shouting ROCK IN RIO! Still on the meter, he stopped of at the petrol station for some fuel and a quick pie, assured us he would take the money off later ( which he didn't) and then proceeded to exhaust all of his English phrases (e.g. David Beckham? DAVID BECKHAM! Ah yes Rock in Rio?). By this point we had used all of the phrases on my bit of paper over and over so I think he sensed the conversation had to end. He put on the radio very loudly, shouting along and turning round over and over paying no attention to the road and driving quite frequently on the wrong side of It. He asked once again where we were going, drove us in a giant circle on the side of a cliff in the rainforest, next to a big favela, trying to overtake a coach on a bend and speeding like a lunatic. Then as we found ourselves at the beginning of this giant circle once again, it became apparent that he had no idea where we are or where we wanted to go. He just kept telling us ah... It here! Here! 'No, it's not here you mental cowboy, quite clearly this is a fuc***g favela' is what I w anted to say. But as brad shouted Alto Boa Vista over and over, and he repeatedly replied, ci, co, here....' We paid our overcharging taxi as the atmosphere was turning very sour and quite frankly I was scared. Brad reluctantly left the taxi and we hailed a cyclist to explain where we had to go.
Brad looked like he was going to have a heart attack as we marched through the town of staring people. We stuck out like a sore thumb being white, with Brads bright green trainers and backpack. The whole way we stressed and argued, and eventually we came to the place we were looking for. We made our way up the steep slope, looking at maps and asking police and guards for direction along the way with the little Portuguese we know which worked pretty well. The maps weren't bad either- except that they were all completely different and didn't remotely reflect the area we were in. This proved to be a problem throughout the day until we reached the stage where we didn't care about finding this peak, we just settled for wandering around the forest. First we saw a beautiful waterfall, noticed a crab down at the bottom hiding. It was quite nice. As we climbed higher, we began walking through cloud pockets which is a very strange but exciting experience, it makes everything look foggy and then suddenly clear again. We came to a second waterfall about an hour later where a man was standing naked with his missus- probably thought nobody was around so that was funny. I stripped down to my bikini and got under the water which was freezing! Now try to picture your best power shower. Times it by a hundred and that is how powerful it was so in those films where people swim behind a waterfall there's a reason, it could knock you unconscious! But it was fun, I was refreshed and I'm glad I did it :). We came to the restaurant at the top which was basically someone's house with a few deck chairs and thought better of it. Carried on walking downhill and saw some marmoset monkeys in the trees above. Brad spotted them and it made my day. They were so cute, swinging through the trees and chasing each other like squirrels. In total, we walked for about 3 hours today, then got a taxi home from the bottom which was around half the price of the first one. In the taxi on the way home a song came on in English- I can see clearly now. Haha such a perfect song! Brad got himself a nice hand burger but the shop had nothing for vegetarians so I just ate copius amounts of biscuits, skyped home and had a nap. Today was basically really stressful, and yes I know the rainforest is magical and green and lush and everything, but I won't be one of those people who raves about a day just because you are supposed to have enjoyed it. We didn't really enjoy dodging death and struggling to wander aimlessly round a forest, but when we were trekking around it wasn't bad. Tomorrow we will try to book a tour group for Christ the redeemer and we might do a bit better to take the stress out of organising and planning.
So now I am all showered and feeling much better, about to go grab a drink from upstairs and relax, and maybe make some friends on the first night I have stayed up past 7.30 :).

Posted by Kirstyonwroot 16:44 Archived in Brazil Tagged landscapes waterfalls mountains trees animals rio_de_janeiro

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