A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Kirstyonwroot

Favela tour, almost hang gliding and samba club

The scenarium is amazing!

storm 20 °C

large_90_55047FD02219AC68174A9A6607AEF171.jpg54B7830D2219AC68170B316AA8DB7931.jpg542889C92219AC68171368931F80E328.jpglarge_5494CCF52219AC6817ECA1BA317BC553.jpglarge_54DD6E392219AC6817759FA6D84686BA.jpgYesterday we went on a favela tour with Rio adventures. We booked for hang gliding but there was too much mist. Our tour guide picked us up from Copacabana palace wearing his tour tshirt and took us in his car for a drive around to see if it was clear to go hang gliding. He said that it would be clear enough to go and I was quite excited because I had been building it up in my head all morning. It wasn't clear enough so we went to Rocinha favela which is one of the safer favelas to go to because of the huge police presence, and because of the work that the government are doing to the favela. We were told that the favela used to be a farm and the workers would live there, but over time the farm has gone and more and more families have come to live here and build their homes in the hills. When we entered we firstly saw police with guns around a few little shops and lots of motorbikes passing us. There were cables as far as the eye can see all wrapped around each other and completely exposed, where people hook up their own phone lines and cable TV. We learnt about how different favelas will fight each other and how there is constant conflict between the drug dealers. We also saw what the government had done around the area-for example an outdoor gym full of free equipment and some low income housing at the top of the favela. Lots of the information seemed strange to hear. For example, none of these people own their home, they just have paper proof that they occupy the residence. Sometimes the favela can run out of running water for up to two days, and basically the majority of people living there are very poor,but the favela itself can turn over millions because of all the drugs sold from it. Everywhere is squashed together and seems quite dirty (litter everywhere, dog faeces and mud cover the streets so you have to watch your step) and yet we walked by some businesses which I would consider luxury, like a nail technician, hairdressers and pet shops. Some of the houses started as one floor, and the tenant has built his way up. What also was strange to me is that people would paint their houses and graffiti when they don't have money for glass windows! It's odd, but the people there are a community and I was glad to have the opportunity to see inside.
We didn't hang glide. We spent around two hours waiting for the mist to clear, and then a thunderstorm rolled in over the waves so we were forced to give up and go home. It was disappointing but the day was saved when we went to Rio Scenarium. Located in Lapa, downtown, is this incredible, beautifully unique samba club. We took a taxi there after reading a few good reviews and it did not disappoint. There was live music played by a band on stage directly on front of us, with a variety of different singers coming up on stage for each song. Wehad the best seats in the house. We did not have to line up as we were told we might have to, and there was no need to leave the table as drinks were served to us at the table. On our way in, we were given cards with our names on and everything we bought was written on there so that we could be billed at the end. Brad and I were starving, so we ordered some food which came out quite quickly and was fresh and delicious. We had cheese balls for a starter with a spicy sauce, then brad had spaghetti and prawns while I had pasta with pesto, cheese and cherry tomato sauce. Mine was oily but that's how I like it anyway so I was happy. Dessert was heaven! We ordered chocolate brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce and it was perfect. Plus, a young couple had started to dance in front of us so we had a bit of a show! The music was picking up, and a lady singer started belting out a song while this couple twisted and turned, perfectly synchronised. The live music blew us away even though we couldn't understand the lyrics. There was an older couple showing off later, and we couldn't help but stare. They were so perfectly in time with eachother and the movements were so quick. He was shaking his behind like a mad man and she was going for gold too! So we definitely want to learn to samba now! We didn't dance because we were too bloated from the beers, and we left at around ten, but it was a really different night to anything we have done before and we enjoyed it thoroughly. If you go anywhere in Rio for a night out the Scenarium is a must.

Posted by Kirstyonwroot 04:25 Archived in Brazil Tagged me people dance nightlife favela rio_scenarium Comments (0)

Copacabana, Ipanema and Jardin Botanica

rain 30 °C

large_50A88B302219AC68173A317260F8377A.jpg31F02EBE2219AC6817E264D76F3CD580.jpg90_320B77D82219AC68178E9F1CA07FEEDE.jpgYesterday we set off for Copacabana beach in the hot sun. The metro was packed, heaving with people who have no sense of personal space. One woman for example had her breasts pushed against my hand on the rail, with her soaking wet bikini for entire journey, and had her son itching his head on my hand. Disgusting horrible people! Why can't they just hold the rail like everyone else? There's always one person who has to hug it! Down the beach I was happy enough but Brad didn't like how busy it was, because it was noisy and people walked all over us, vendors were more aggressive and if you saw the beach from the side you wouldn't know there was sand. So we left.
We had a McDonald's and went to Ipanema to see if that was any quieter and saw some vendors selling sarongs with all kinds of amazing Brazilian prints on the beach front. It was a bit quieter there and we laid down for a little bit while the sun was still out. I got some very patchy sunburn in all the little places that I didn't top up cream like a bit of my armpit for example. I will leave here with some strange white bits. When we returned to estacio using the metro, there were kids and adults from the favelas flying about a hundred kites in the park and the street. It's quite beautiful seeing all the colours flying in barely any wind- the kids use a snagging action to get their kite up.
We found out this morning that these kites land on the hostel roof all the time, and Igor said they are dangerous because the kids will attach bits of glass to cut the other kite strings in case they get tangled, and motorcyclists have had their throats cut driving through the string before! So that's a downer! Today we left late again because Brad was trying to book our favela tour and hang gliding, and went to Copacabana. It was much quieter today and very relaxing to walk along Copacabana's sand to Ipanema. The two are walking distance and I'd recommend walking from one to the other for the different views of the mountains.
We bought two sarongs to lay on (aside from chairs, most people lay on these instead of towels). Brad got a Brazilian flag with christo in the middle and I got a view from Christo with all of the tropical flowers around it. The water was wavy but beautiful to swim in, especially with my sunburn and I took a cool dip for about ten minutes, then got out to put sun cream on and wrapped my sarong around my pink shoulders. We played a bit of bat and ball or 'Mandalay' and then had a rest. Lunch was two sort of spinach pastys for me and two meat for Brad in one of these little corner bakeries that are dotted everywhere. Not many have anything 'sem carne' which means no meat, and we were starving so we got two. Those bakeries are really good for food on the go and you can recognise them for having a big hotbox along the front counter (though the food is never very hot so again, health and safety would not be impressed), and they sell pastries and burgers in combos with a fizzy drink for around 6 reals which is $3 Aud. not bad at all when McDonald's is around 15 reals and terrible quality. They all have 2 or 3 stalls around the counter which serves as a table as you cant leave with the drinks container if you buy a drink. A man came and asked us for food and hung around us for ages but we said no. We both felt bad after and wished we had got him something but you can't be pulling out money in the middle of the street here.
We took the bus from there to Jardin Botanica which was about 45 minutes away on a hot sweaty bus. We were half asleep by the time we got there. A word of warming- if you go to the entrance there is a restaurant that charges $R6 for a small bottle of water but once you have bought your tickets, you can go inside and buy a bigger one for cheaper. Yes they got us there! You have to pay $R6 to enter the gardens which weren't that amazing. My favourite part was the tortoise pond outside, which had loads of them all swimming round and coming over to us, chasing each other and playing (and one poor lad trying his luck with a lady tortoise which kept swimming away whenever he got on top of her haha). Inside is a large walking trail, with small waterfalls and loads of plant life. We saw some more marmosets and I watched one call his friends which sounds like a really high pitched whistle, but looks like the monkey is screaming. The water fountain there was a ladies face with a pedal on the ground which you stand on for water, and it comes out of her mouth, so it looks like you are getting a kiss and I thought that it was really clever! It started raining heavily which was a relief in the unbearable humidity. A passer by could spot the English couple a mile off as everyone else ran for cover and we just took a stroll in the wet. We took a taxi home and there was a lot of traffic. An ambulance followed us into the tunnel that runs under a mountain and takes us home. There is nothing relaxing about rush hour, under a mountain, in the dark surrounded by terrible drivers who can't pick a lane and motorbikes darting inbetween. Less relaxing is when an ambulance screams behind you in this stagnant traffic the entire time and you are forced to listen to Portuguese radio.
We got home and booked our tours. After around an hour of watching people's YouTube recording of their hang gliding adventures and battling myself on whether or not I should go with Brad, I asked him to book me on. And so here I am at 2 am unable to sleep with crippling fear of death, trying to imagine the take off over and over again. Oh and it isn't definite- I may go tomorrow (weather permitting) or the next day or maybe not at all depending on rain and wind. So I am repeatedly checking the weather which 6 hours ago predicted high winds and now looks like a calm day. I am terrified. People say that to conquer a fear of heights you need to face your fear. Well I did a bungee jump, I jumped out of a plane and I still bawled my eyes out on a cable car a few days ago. So no I do not feel excited I feel terrified. But if I do make it through the terrifying ordeal I know I will be so happy and the feeling of accomplishment will be well worth it. stay tuned...

Posted by Kirstyonwroot 23:36 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Sugarloaf and marmosets

Super awesome day!

sunny 30 °C

large_90_CC195C572219AC6817FCD59A0946279B.jpg35C97C2F2219AC68173595010460F8CC.jpglarge_90_CBED83302219AC68176EC92BF39C65DD.jpglarge_CC002F872219AC681774831F42D5364D.jpgKirsty's sugarloaf blog entry
Yesterday was in the top five best days of my life. The top five best days of my life would be in no particular order:
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef
Skydiving
Bunjy jumping
Feeding monkeys in the forest and having a beer on sugarloaf mountain

We took two buses to our starting point, using our broken Portuguese we managed to ask the ticket man to tell us when to stop in Botafogo and we asked someone else where our connecting stop was. Sugarloaf was obvious as a lot of people got off the bus here and there was a giant mountain next to the bus stop! We went and bought Brad some sunglasses as he didn't have a hat or sunglasses with him (we are still not taking valuables out where we can help it) and then made our way to the hiking trail. For those who might be unsure on whether to hike half way or catch two cable cars I would definitely recommend the hike. It's cheaper to catch the cable from half way, the forest is beautiful and it's a really enjoyable climb. We really appreciated how far up we were having climbed up so far! One tip though - wear hiking shoes or trainers, not flip flops as Brad did because it makes the climb a lot more difficult and the descent is pretty dangerous. He actually said when we got to the bottom 'next time don't let me wear flip flops I'm going to listen to you' and that's a first!
The forest was exactly as I had hoped; It was green, dense and you could hear animals rustling round and birds calling each other. The stairs were made partly with roots of the surrounding trees and just planks of wood which was lovely because it was not intrusive for the wildlife. We climbed (it is a climb not a walk with those stairs) for around five minutes until we saw a man feeding marmoset monkeys with a banana. We got up close with them and saw their tiny little velvety hand gripping the banana, as in turns, they took off tiny little peices at a time and then jumped onto the nearest branch to chow down. I was VERY excited and I think this was apparent as the man turned to me and gave me the banana to feed them.
He showed me how to hold the banana and told me to hold it tight with my fingers, and I thanked him over and over again, then ran over to the monkeys to feed them. I completely forgot how to hold the banana and the first marmoset ran up, grabbed it with his sticky little paws and ran away. HE LITERALLY WAS A CHEEKY LITTLE MONKEY! Because the banana was a bit heavy for him he stumbled on the ground with it and the other marmosets all pounced on him and they sort of shared it it which was quite nice. I was sort of scared of getting bitten but they don't bite the food first, they grab it, pull it back, then bite into it so I was pretty safe. I wished I'd had my rabies vaccination at this point though. Brad took the banana peel which still had some of the banana in and the marmosets crowded round him, grabbing and nibbling at the peel, he did a really good job of keeping cool so he managed to hold onto it which bought him a lot of time getting up close and personal. We were Buzzing! All the little marmosets are so full of energy and they jump around each other which looks so funny because they have a really bouncy jump and they move so fast! Their little heads with their furry ears made them look a little bit like Einstein!
A bit further up we saw a mother marmoset on a branch with a little baby on her back, nestled into her fur. I felt really happy that I'd seen that.
Enough about the monkeys. We walked up and up, and saw a big yellow and black lizard which must have been around 2ft long. He scarpered off when he heard us though. It took us around one and a half hours to get to the top where we had lunch and bought our tickets for the cable car. Brad got some nice havainas- they are much cheaper here because they are made in Brazil so if anyone is coming to Brazil, it's best to buy your shoes here. For lunch I got a big fruit salad which is the first nice bit of food I've had here and I found out that fruit from day one was guava :) we also tried coconut water which is quite nice, but I don't think it's anything special especially in the heat when you want a cold drink because it's warm from sitting out. The view from the top was picturesque and we were lucky to have a clear blue sky so that we could seen for miles.
The cable car was scary. I am incredibly scared of heights. So as soon as I saw it coming towards us I had my mind made up that I wouldn't get on, but Brad dragged me on anyway. I'd like to say he convinced me but he didn't, he forced me and I am very grateful that I have him to force me into these horribly exciting experiences. At the time though, I was studying what looked like a bit of rope on a pulley system holding us over the rainforest and it was a very long way down. There are no seats on the cable car, just bars to hold onto sort of like the London Underground, only instead of seeing darkness through the windows (which are everywhere) you see how far beneath you everything is. I cracked, I could feel myself about to cry and the driver told me to sit on the floor while I wiped my eyes and stared at the ground, and everyone around me was having the time of their lives. Brad asked a man to take a picture for us so he had to sort of lean down while I remained crouched and we were all laughing because I could see the comedy of the situation. Even the driver had a chuckle! The man taking the picture called Brad cruel and we reached our stop so off we got.
The view from sugarloaf is even better that from Corcovado mountain (where Christ the redeemer lives), and we could see christo really clearly from where we were. There were lots of eagles, and we saw a little gecko, sat in the sun and had a Brahma. brad pointed out that over the last couple of days we've been to some of the best pubs in the world looking at where they are! We got the cable car down after around an hour, and made our descent.
At the bottom of the mountain sits a beautiful little beach. It's small, crowded and there are bums and dicks everywhere, with beach vendors dotted inbetween and the cool water next to us. I was first in, Brad waited with our bag while I quickly cooled off. The waves were pretty strong so I didn't swim, I just sort of stood and wandered about a bit getting knocked over and I realised why everyone wears thongs- otherwise your bikini gets full of sand. So I gave myself a wedgie and waited on the sand while Brad had a swim. We were the only white people on the beach bar one other couple but people didn't seem to be staring so much. We got a really nice feed on the beach. A man with basically hot coals in a kind of suitcase had an eski full of haloumi and hot dogs. We got one big haloumi on a stick and one hot dog which cooked up to be huge and both were delicious. Finally hot vegetarian food! Then we got churro a with hot chocolate sauce inside and cinnamon sugar. Anyone who know me and brad will know we are crazy for churro a and these did not disappoint! Amazing views, lovely water, great feed so all in all a really beautiful day. Hooray!

Posted by Kirstyonwroot 04:23 Archived in Brazil Tagged landscapes animals wildlife nature sugarloaf Comments (0)

Christ the redeemer and a close shave

This morning I expected to see an amazing statue; one of the seven modern wonders in all its glory reaching out into the sky and embracing the whole world with open arms. We took a taxi to the tram station and waited for an hour in a lobby that somehow seemed to insulate everybody's excitement. The tram was hot and slow as we crawled up the side of Corcovado mountain. occasionally the carriage would jerk backwards, threatening to run back to the bottom and making sure that all the passengers were well aware of our altitude. I was a bag of nerves watching the city grow smaller beneath us and feeling very much on the edge but Brad was so excited that it became contagious and as soon as we jumped off of the tram we started rushing up the steps to the big man himself!
It was everything we were hoping for. And no matter how big he looks in a picture, his size will definitely shock you in real life! I did notice that he looks a bit like he might be blind though which was a bit strange? Even his small toe was bigger than my pin head!
Then the madness began! Tourists everywhere were climbing over each other, pushing in, shamelessly grinning from ear to ear with their arms stretched out into other people's pictures and nobody was subtle about it at all- even though Jesus was watching! I was patient at first but in the end I just thought 'game on!'. Then me and brad were an unstoppable team, photo bombing everyone and getting the perfect photos, pushing in front of everyone and forcing strangers to play photographer. That's the only way to do it so you have to play the game :) We could see eagles flying round the mountain top and over the lush tropical forest, and behind us were the favelas neighbouring the richer areas. It is a very clear contrast from up so high and easy to see where the line is drawn.
We sat and had a beer with Jesus in the cafe and made our way down on the tram. The bus was only meters away so it was easy to get to copacabana where we had decided to odour a nice lunch.

The restaurant was a nightmare. First I tried to order two side dishes- just vegetables and rice with a side of vegetable because I am sick of eating noodles and bread and wanted something healthy. Plus I thought with something so plain I couldn't go wrong but the waiter insisted that was too small and so I gave up and ordered a pizza and asparagus salad. What arrived was a tin of lukewarm asparagus on a lettuce leaf and two side orders. I told him that I didn't want 3 side orders so he took the two nice ones which I actually wanted away. Then came brads raw pizza after half an hour later. They had forgotten to do mine so said they would do it quickly. Once he had finished his food mine arrived. I had completely raw dough with cheese. I ate two slices out of politeness and excruciating hunger and that was a huge mistake! I ran to the toilet while brad arranged the bill and we left feeling ripped off an disgruntled. About ten minutes later I discovered that I had food poisoning and ran panicked with exteme stomach pain around the town for a toilet. There are not many public toilets in Rio. Then we went to the beach and refused a few drug dealers on the way, politely saying no to purple haze and mushrooms. The drug dealers were not very discreet (pretending to sell umbrellas in 30 degree heat). It was quite funny. We left for the metro and discovered it didn't go to Etacio so we has to find a bus which we also had trouble with, so we gave up and took a taxi. During the taxi tide I felt a familiar rumbling in my stomach and was faced with the quite real possibility that I might poo my pants in a taxi. As beats of panic sweat ran down my face I made silent bets with myself on which end was about to evacuate and tried not to cry. We were told to get out by the metro station due to traffic and I fled the car, but we took a long time finding our way back and I was so so scared that I wouldn't make it. I ran up the hostel steps and was so relieved when I saw the toilet. I think the highlights of my day were seeing the redeemer and equally as good was not shitting myself in a white mini skirt. So things we have learnt so far on our trip:
Don't eat raw food out of politeness
Rio isn't that dangerous
Know the public transport system if you want to save money
Fast food may well be safer than restaurants

Posted by Kirstyonwroot 14:52 Comments (0)

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 Comments (0)

Escada selaron.

Rio day one, not much sun but lots of fun

overcast 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.

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Posted by Kirstyonwroot 14:28 Archived in Brazil Tagged rio_de_janeiro lapa Comments (0)

Flying and arriving

overcast 30 °C

The flight from Perth to Rio via Dubai was not a lot of fun. To be completely honest I hate flying at the best of times and was hoping just to get some sleep but didn't get much at all. We flew with emirates so the service was pretty good although you get some strange breakfasts ( like brussel sprouts, spinach and boiled potato?) but the seats were small and not much leg room. When we landed, we were unable to get money out from any ATM at the airport which was really frustrating, and we managed to pre pay for taxi to our hostel (Kaza rio) at the airport which was about half an hour away. We have only just had a chance to shower and get money out so I would warn anyone travelling to rio that VISA cards are hardly accepted at any machines so bring reals if you can. We are going to try to learn some Portuguese to tide us over as people don't really speak Spanish or English very much here. We are just trying to work out where abouts we are and how we can get around safely at the moment. Catching an early night.

Posted by Kirstyonwroot 02:48 Archived in Brazil Tagged planes rio_de_janerio Comments (0)

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