ALL the experiences of Rio
Trip Start Feb 13, 2010
109Trip End Apr 12, 2011
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Where I stayed
CouchSurfing with Paula
So, I'll start with the bus ride because it was more fun than usual. The first person on the bus sitting close to me was Nick, a kid from Florida who spoke really good Portuguese because a lot of Brazilians were always coming to his work in Florida and he just learned the language by talking to them. We start talking to each other about where we're going to stay in Rio and I mention that I'm staying with a girl from Couchsurfing. It turns out that he's new to couchsurfing and he also tried to stay with Paula Paz. He wasn't able to stay there because the living room was full, but we ended up chatting for a long time on the bus. He was also able to make freinds with just about everyone sitting around us and when we all got to Rio, a few of the locals got us a taxi and negotiated the cost for us. This is mostly because all the locals were worried for our safety and wanted to make sure we got to our hostels as soon as possible
Needless to say, we all got to where we were going quickly and safely...
I got to Paula's apartment early in the morning and after showering and waiting a little while, Alvaro, the other houseguest, arrived. We both wanted to see Christ the Redeemer and Paula had other plans so we said goodbye for the day and headed there. There is usually a train that will take you to the top but because of the heavy floods recently, the train was closed. So Alvaro was able to negotiate a good price with the shuttles and we got up there to see the Christ under construction. But it's not really Christo Redentor you want to see, it's the view from Corcovado! The view overlooks the entire city from all the favellas to Ipanema to Copacabana to Sugarloaf to the city center and beyond. It was an amazing view and we stayed for quite a bit of time taking pictures of all of it! I also learned the history behind the name Rio de Janeiro. The first explorer who came to Rio thought that he was sailing into a river on the first of January. It's not a river but the name stuck!
After Corcovado and the Christo, we went back into town and went to the a market. I think it's called something like the Paraguayan Mercado because they buy goods cheap in Paraguay and then illegally cross the border to sell them cheap in Rio. We went through and I was covering my pockets with my hands the whole time!
After, we went back to Paula's and made her dinner and she made us Caipirinhas, a typical Brazilian cocktail made of cachaca (brazilian rum), sugar, and fresh squeezed lime.
The next day, Paula suggested we go to the Botanical gardens then walk along the lake to get to Ipanema, so we did. The Botanical gardens were a lot more extensive than I realized and we spent a lot of time there. When we got to Ipanema beach it was close to sunset, so I went for a swim and then we sat on the beach for awhile as the sun got lower in the sky and then we headed back to the center before it got too dark.
And I've debated telling this story because it might worry a few people, but it's part of the travels and everything turned out ok, so I'm going to include it!
Looking back on it, it's almost like another tourist attraction when you go to Rio. You know, go to Rio, lie on the beach in Ipanema, lookout over Corcovado, dance samba, get mugged..
But the next day we all planned an outting. Another guy, Jason, had come to stay in the house. So me, Alvaro, Jason, Paula, Nick (from the bus ride) and another girl, Sarah all went on a Paula Walking Tour of the city. We went to a few museums and sites and continually ate at "pay by the pound" type restaurants and sidewalk stands. It was a nice day of touring around the city and we ended up on the top of Santa Teresa, the artist neighborhood, overlooking the city. What a great viewpoint to see the citycenter all lit up!
That night, after much debating, we went to a party set up for couchsurfing members and had a few drinks. I would have loved to go out and learn Samba in Brazil but I got a very small lesson when we went for drinks and I think I could pick it up if I ever tried again:)
And the next day I was ready to leave! Rio is fun, but if I ever go again, I think I'll go with little or no baggage and little or no money so I'm not so paranoid about it getting stolen.