Brazil: Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo

brazil-trip

I’m going to start this post off by saying that Rio De Janeiro is the sort of place that you should try not to visit if the weather is shit. Throughout this year, I’ve visited cities and destinations that I’ve left with a distinct feeling of not having done it justice. Unfortunately, Rio is one of those places.

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That’s not to say we didn’t have a good time, however. Our journey in was met with an immense amount of traffic, something that’s typical of Rio. It was not a smart idea to head here in the afternoon. I would not recommend it. Our standstills in traffic were made interesting by the many appearances of touts on the side of the highway, which navigate the traffic and sell motorists chips, beer and water. Most handy.

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This is the famous Copacabana. We decided to hire some bicycles and ride around the beach and over to Ipanema, which turned out to be a good idea as the infrastructure here has improved in recent years and the city now has bicycle lanes all over the beach.

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We sat down to catch a few minutes of one of many games of volleyball happening on the beach and drink a coconut to alleviate the hangover from the previous night (hangover was produced by Rio Scenarium, by the way, a cool multi levelled club). Coconut water is the way to go for a hangover, by the way.. highly recommend that shit.

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Obviously one of the main attractions of RDJ is Christ The Redeemer, the famous statue on top of the mountain. The plan was to leave early one morning to beat the crowds and avoid waiting in line, so that’s what we did. However, we encountered one problem: Mother Nature.

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This is a live stream from the top of the tram ride, which shows the visibility of the statue. As you can see, this was less than ideal. The following day wasn’t any better, which meant we didn’t get to see the statue before leaving Rio, which I’m pretty gutted about, but shit happens.

We did get a bit of a feel for Rio, though. Our apartment was actually right on the border between the normal kind of suburbs and the favelas, which made for a bit of an interesting contrast. Renato gave us the low down on the favelas; basically if we were to walk up the street into the area we’d be scouted out pretty quick and asked what we were up to; it’s just not a good idea. They don’t even like you taking photos of the area; I got yelled at by someone for taking this photo below.

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The graffiti around this city is bloody impressive. They will tag pretty much everything. Below is a good example of a well-covered building.

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We ended up leaving Rio without having achieved as much as we wanted, due to the weather, which is a shame but you can’t help these things. At this point the group split up a little as some carried on for a while longer, but others, including me, headed back to Sao Paulo.

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Sao Paulo definitely has a safer feel to it than Rio, but there are still fences and double gates in front of most apartments and parking garages. I’ll be honest and say Sao Paulo gave off a better vibe in general than Rio, although I guess that could be because of the weather.

For some reason the photo below reminds me of San Francisco, even though I’ve never been there, ha.

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Sao Paulo has got to be one of the most colourful cities I’ve seen, especially for its size. Apparently you can do street art tours, where they show you what’s been painted by famous artists. I love cities like this, I think every city should encourage it.

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We took a bit of a walk around the streets the day before we left and got asked to be part of a protest, which we did briefly before realising it may not be the smartest move to become part of a political protest in Sao Paulo and promptly moved on.

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I may have mentioned it once or twice in my posts about this trip but Brazilian BBQ is

F U C K I N’ A M A Z I N G.

Renato took us to a restaurant on the last night with his family for the authentic experience. It’s all you can eat, and there’s a swivel sign on the table which you turn around to indicate whether you want the stream of meat from the kitchen to continue or to stop. If it’s green, they just keep on bringing out fresh skewers of the best meat you’ve had in your life.

P.S. Don’t fill up from the buffet, that’s what the rookies do.

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I asked them if we could have a look at the kitchen and they kindly let us. There was quite a bit of meat ready to go.

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Safe to say, afterwards none of us could really walk. We we warned of this.

After a bit of a walk around the local park, that concluded the trip for me and I jumped on a plane back to Holland. Overall the trip was fantastic, and I’m definitely keen to head back again, to do Rio properly and also spend more time in Sao Paulo, a city which has a lot to discover.

Thanks again to Renato for your help with everything mate, and to his family as well. Much appreciated!

Below is a shot from the taxi on the way to the airport – notice any famous race driver’s names on the boards?

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Thanks for reading!

– Damo

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