Well sadly it was time to get going from the incredible city that is Rio de Janeiro (thats Hio de Janeiro). I have seen few cities that are set in such spectacular natural surroundings – the mountains, the sea, the fantastic public beaches beaches, Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf mountain, cool Samba parties on hot Sunday nights, people out jogging along the bay, having a beer at dusk on Ipanema beach…it is pretty special.
We had a great time staying with Renata (That is also with an H, I found out after all this time!), my workmate from a few years ago, who showed us around and took us to nice parties that we would never find on our own. Too bad we had a day cut short from our stay! Obrigado!
We even started to learn about how to deal with the taxis here because, as we found out, they will try to rip you off if they think they can. In the end it was a two way street – the taxi guy who drove us to Sta Teresa for lunch almost had us for 35 Realis, but Sanni held firm and handed him a tenner and told him that was all he was gonna get despite his abuse. To make up the imbalance, I decided to try to rip our taxi off in the evening by refusing to pay the meter fare (he said a tenner but traffic was so bad that it ended up being 18). But when he followed me down the street complaining and sounded a bit like my old workmate Fernando, I felt sorry for him and paid the rest.
But it was time to start our organised tour, first stop Paraty…
Starting from Renata´s flat we started walking around the lagoon (Lagua) to get to the Ipanema beach. Lots of brasileiro´s were jogging and cycling past us, it was a real shame we forgot our running shoes in London…
Ipanema beach was as wonderful as I´d always imagined, with beautiful white sands, blue seas and tall, tanned, yound and lovely people everywhere. Ahhh…
We walked the lenght of the beach and took lots of photos of the Sugar Loaf mountain as we were approaching it. Except that it wasn´t the Sugar Loaf mountain, as we later discovered from Renata who had found our texts trying to explain where we were highly amusing.
The night ended splendidly in Casa Rosa with samba music, a great capoeira performance, and funky favela rhythms. Perfect first day in Rio!
We finally arrived in Rio de Janeiro (which means River of January in Portuguese) on Saturday evening as – to our surprise – did our luggage, which Iberia was unwilling (unable?) to hand back to us on Friday when we were stranded in Madrid. The customer service agent assured it would be checked in for us for the Rio flight, and amazingly both of our bags showed up at the Rio airport!
After a quick shop at the duty-free for Renata (Ville´s friend, who we´re staying with for the next three days) we got a taxi from the airport to her flat in Humaita. We´re very impressed with block which has a swiming pool and a sauna.
Renata took us out for some lovely Brazilian snacks after which we crashed. It has been a long day, but at least we´re in Rio!!!