Rio De Janerio - Brazil, Santiago - Chile
25.02.2009 - 01.03.2009 26 °C
Wednesday the 25th of Febuary
After waking up with heavy eyes again we were glad to hear that Rio Carnival has offically ended! I don´t mean that in a negatative way at all as it was an awesome time and we had a ball but some rest was clearly on the cards!
We got our stuff together and checked ourselves out of our lovely hotel and caught a taxi back to into the land of abackpacker. To a 9 person dorm in a hostel! Rus, one of the guys we have been hanging out with booked 6 beds in a hostel for him, Bobby, Simon, Tish, Krystal, and I. If you don´t know who these poeple are they are the guys we have spent crnival with. So a 9 person dorm is not that bad when you own 2/3´s of it!
Once we all got ourselves sorted Krystal and I decided that we should really see a little bit more of Rio besides the street parties that we have done for the past few days in carnival. Our Lonely Planet book had a self guided walking tour around the centro area of the city so we grabbed the underground and heaed out there.
We should have stuck to street parties cause this so called walking tour sucked! We spent an hour and a half walking around the CBD of Rio and the highlight of it was having Rus and Bobby company so we could have a chat while walking. Once finished we headed back to Botafago (where we were staying) and Krystal and I wandered over to the shopping plaza to see what we could find and also to check out a restraunt here called the Aussie Outback for dinner for all of us. We quickly decided against dinner here after seeing the menu prices but to my delight, and Krystal dreading saying anything they were playing the Liverpool v Real Madrid Champions League game! So we watched the reds win 1 nil, had a couple of beers and also some Kookaburra wings! Well thats what they called them on the menu anyhow. Along with roo burgers, shrimp on the barbie, joey snacks, plus the good old blokes and sheilas on the bathroom doors!
We met up with the other guys for dinner and not surprisingly we all ordered soft drinks and waters and called it a pretty early night as I think all were pretty keen for some rest! We headed back to the hostel had a shower and crashed out for our first PM goodnight in Rio
Thursday the 26th of Febuary
Up nice and early this morning and refreshed (well kinda) we were up and ready for our tour that we organised to the Fevelas of Rio. Well not all of them as there are currently 978 ¨Favelas¨in Rio so we were taken to one of the largest, that being Rocinha. A Fevela in English is known as a shanty town. It is usually very crowded, plagued with rubbish and sewage, and can be very dangerous if in the wrong place. Majority of the time Fevelas are run by drug lords who are more than happy to use their weapons if they feel the need. Countless shoot outs with the police are not uncommon in these areas. The only way (safely) for us to go there was by a guided tour that we booked directly through our hostel with a company called Be A Local. The company name is quite the opposite but I will explain that later.
We were picked up from the hostel and taken to the bottom of the Rocinha Fevela. From here the way to the top was on the back of a motorbike driven by a crazy crazy local! We flew between traffic, no helmet, no real grip, and absolutely shitting ourselves. Well I know I defenitely was as my man managed to be the first up to the top of the hill. I think I can safely speak for Krystal also as she looked quite relieved to get off the back of her bike also!
From the top of the hill we were then taken through the tiny streets and slowely but surely we made our way to the bottom of the hill and back out into the real world as we know it. It was a very interesting tour and it was the kind of thing that clearly makes you appreciate what you have. During the walk down our guide explained certain things about the Fevelas in particular majority of the Fevela has electricity but 99% of it is illegally hooked up to the powerlines throughout the area. Power poles would have hundreds of lines on them leading in all different areas around the place. He also took us into a local daycare centre where infants are cared for. This place I felt was pretty sad as the little kids have such innocent faces and not a care in the world, but in the future they will be exposed to the biggest problem in the world, poverty!
We both enjoyed the tour but also felt like we were invading and imposing on someone elses misfortune in life. I mentioned earlier that the company was called be a local, we were quite the opposite really. We walked around with our cameras, taking pictures when we were told its ok and safe, being taken into a little house and shown local art to buy, shown some kids play the drums with a bucket and stick then ask for money and so on. Still it was a learning experience and I guess the best way to learn is to experience it as best you can.
We were dropped back at our hostel around lunchtime and once under control we made our way to Copacabana beach. This was a must because considering we had been in Rio for nearing a week now we had not yet made it to this ¨world¨famous beach. Firstly though we had a little shopping to adhere to and that consisted of us purchasing as many pairs of Havaianas as we could. 6 pairs later we were out of the shop and under control!
We headed to the beach where much to our delight it was much much quieter than what I am sure it would have been like during Carnival. I think this had a lot to do with why we didn´t come down here earlier. I had a couple of swims, Krystal relaxed on the sand and we both enjoyed the sunset coming down over Rio for our final time.
From the beach we headed to a local bar called the Mud Bug where we met the other 4 for some pre dinner drinks. After a few beers Simon, Tish, Krystal, and I headed across the road for a great dinner and lots and lots of Caipirinhas! We spent the next 4 hours in the same spot and stumbled out rather happier than when we strolled in. We thought hey one more will do us so back to the Mud Bug for another round of Caipirinhas!
We decided to call it a night and after a slight mishap with the bill and many angry Portuguese yelling at us we got in a cab and got out of Copacabana and back to our hostel safely and much to our relief into bed for what we new was going to be a rough day tomorrow!
Friday the 27th of Febuary
Ouch, that alarm hurts the ears was the story of our dorm! We were up at 7:30, showered, dressed and packed by 8:30, and on our way to the airport for our flight out of Brazil. We said our goodbyes to the others and thanked them for a great week together and hopped into a cab for the airport. Having met some great people all in all 9 of us during Rio really made our experience all that much better as I think it is defenitely a place where you want to be around good friendly people to really enjoy yourself! So thanks to you all especially Charlotte and Steve who are now back in Australia!
Can´t really write much more other than the fact we spent the next 9 hours in irports and planes before finally landing in Chile. We made our way through customs, paid the stupid USD61 entry tax before getting our bags and heading to our hostel via a transfer.
Much to our delight the final hostel that we chose turned out to be cheap and great! We have our own room with cable tv, free interent, great movie selection, and located perfectly! We have decided that we will be doing as much relaxing as possible over the next 3 days before our flight home.
We grabbed some dinner across the road then headed back to the hostel for some well deserved rest and crashed out around 11pm
Saturday the 28th of Febuary
Exactly to plan we sleapt in until 11am before slowely getting ready for the day. We decided that something different should be in store for today so instead of the usual city touring and so forth we made ur way to the horse racing! We were bopth really keen to this as it was something different to what we had recently been up to, that was until we walked outside and it was raining! We decided to persist with it and head out there only to again be dissapointed when arriving at the track to find out the races were not on there today and they were at another track!!! We decided to take our loses and headed back out of the rain and to the hostel to relax for the afternoon. Not much else to report other than we went out for a nice dinner then back to the comforts of our room and our cble English chnnels on TV!!!
Sunday the 29th Febuary
Agian same deal as the day before up late, slow to get ready, and again missing breakfast! This was working out well as the hostel didn´t include breakie so we felt we were saving money this way. We wandered into town grabbed some lunch and then headed to catch the fenicular that was here to get some views of the city. We headed up and ejoyed what we saw before grabbing an ice cream and making our way back down to the town. We both felt satisfied with our viewings of Santiago (hey we saw the whole thing in one hit!!) and headed back to the hostel for a back to back movie afternoon! Awesome and the first time we have laid and relaxed on a cuch for quite a while.
Once movied out we decided that tonight being our last night in South America we should treat ourselves to a nice fairwell dinner and that we did! Krystal had a beautiful Salmon and prawn dish while I had skewers with chicken, lamb, prawn, and grilled veggies all washed down with a bottle of Merlot produced in Chile! We both left very satisfied and excited knowing that tomorrow we would be flying home to see our much missed family and friends!
Our next and final blog will be from Australia so thanks for reading, sorry to bore you and we will see you soon for some real life stories!!!!
K and M