Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

Sugar Loaf cable car, Rio – Brazil, Notes from the road. 24th November 2008

Excuse the babbling nature of this mail as its the first time I’ve had a minute in weeks and also 7am on a Monday morning after nearly 48 hours of travelling.

The weekend gone I spent my last day in Brazil on Friday after almost a month there. Finished it at the Brazilian side of Iguazu, (Foz Igausu) Some great panoramic views and well worth the return trip ( i had previously been on the Argentinian side). I then spent Saturday in Argentina travelling down to Buenos Aires and yesterday on 3 flights between Cali- Colombia, Panama City- Panama and now Bogota- Colombia where I’m waiting on my next flight to Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast. Truly burnt out, never needed a bed so badly but I´ve to stay awake, hence the ramble.

I fell for Brazil pretty hard, not many countries would make me throw away a flight home but ten days in Rio just wasn’t enough so I got greedy and stayed. Good choice too, since the 4th of November (my supposed flight home) I´ve squeezed in a Brazilian Island with some great treks and incredible beaches in a place called Ilha Grande. Staying beachside I bumped into 2 people i know there, on separate occasions, which was a bit mad. Davey from Warlords of Pez and Jim from Spring Break (2 incredible Irish bands if you get a chance to check them out)…good times. I went back to Rio for the weekend cos I love the pure chaos of it there. Lapa’s street party on the Friday where everyone gets tanked on cans and Caprinhas (sugary alcoholic cocktails) out on the streets before some samba around the various old dance halls and clubs they have in Rio. REM played one of the stadiums on the Saturday for the equivalent of 20 euro!

Parati, a small colonial town was my next port of call and I can’t describe properly what i did there so please just YouTube rock surfing in parati instead.*EDIT, HERE IT IS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_dTd1CbAMw

One of the other days there we were lucky enough to charter our own big schooner boat between 6 of us and sail, snorkel around some isolated islands and beaches. It was all very Duran Duran, but sure when in Rio.

After Rio we hit the concrete jungle of Sao Paulo which despite what people say is cool as heck, certainly the biggest city I’ve ever been in and loads going on. Flea markets, biennial exhibitions, huge parks with lots of people doing cool shit on skateboards, bmx’s and acrobats. On top of that a great, diverse nightlife. Not as samba-filled, fiesta-fuelled, beautiful girls in skimpy stuff as Rio but then its not a beach city.

The lads I´’ve been with skipped up to Venezuala which I didnt fancy, that kinda left me at a loose end but sure there was my Irish pal Davey Ahern also at a loose end too. The 2 of us decided on a 4 day trek deep into the Pantanal rain-forest. I can’t believe I nearly went to Brazil without going to the jungle, was very cool. Saw loads of monkeys, herons, toucans, storks, giant otters, porcupines up trees (porcuclimbs?), armadillos, chimaveras and loads of caimen alligators. We even got to hold one on the night safari. We went piranha fishing on the 3rd day which was interesting, especially when the caimen noticed you caught one, still we ate them deep fried and they were full of goodness. Other than that it was mostly lazing in hammocks by a pool at the base camp and early starts for various treks on boats, jeeps and horseback. Honest to goodness fun.

If you get a chance go to Rio, its hard for even me to fit it all in one mail. We even stupidly went into South Americas biggest favella (shanty town) for a massive warehouse funk party one of the Sundays, was an experience to say the least. Imagine chatting up one of these girls, drug dealer brothers and fathers to the left and right of you. I felt a bit safer when i did the organised tour the previous week, paying for protection and all. Also got to see a game in worlds biggest football stadium, the Maracana, (150,000 capacity) The atmosphere was great but nothing on Boca Jnrs’ game in Argentina. The huge Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the city and the Sugarloaf mountain were as impressive as they look on the telly and Ipanema beach did not disappoint with the girls sporting dental floss bikinis while the men, adonis like in illuminous underpants two sizes too small, played volleyball and soccer on the white sands of the cities many beaches.

Viva Brasil!

Looking forward to seeing you allback in Dublin apres Colombia madness.

Lets all go see Jape in Tripod on the 18th December!

Niallo

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