After the bird park in Foz de Iguassu I got the bus to the airport. I was flying a cheapie Brazilian airline, Azul. After what Rachelle at work told me about Brazilian airlines, I did not have high hopes for leaving on time etc. However, they were really well organised. I had to change planes in Sao Paulo and the connections were really well organised. And they gave you free snacks on the flights. So Azul gets the big thumbs up. Plus its the only budget airline you can buy tickets from without a Brazilian ID card.
So I arrived in Rio on time. Flying in was cool. Mountains, buildings, the beach. You can sort of imagine from this picture. This is right near the airport.
Anyway, then I went looking for the bus, which costs $4 as opposed to a taxi which is like $50 or something ridiculous. The bus info guy told me it would stop at the street I needed for the hostel. I assumed there were different buses for different areas, and I was on the Copacabana and Ipanema bus. Nope, the bus goes to all destinations and therefore takes bloody ages, especially a this time of year. I didn´t know this when I got on the bus obviously. Anyway, we leave the airport and start through some ghetto area and I got a bit worried. Very dodgy looking. Abandoned buildings, no street lights, but it's where the central bus station is. Then the bus kept going to another airport, and then finally the beaches. This was Dec 30 and the beaches were all ready going off. People everywhere, concerts, it was a bit overwhelming actually, just seeing the volume of people about. Then the driver says we're at the street I wanted and off I got. The hostel is one block back from the beach (awesome) and was easy to find.
All the girls in my room are Brazilian and only one speaks English. They all seem nice and through pointing, some Spanish and my Portuguese phrasebook I can have slow and limited conversations with them. This has also worked for getting laundry done. A woman around the corner currently has most of my clothes. I'm pretty sure I can pick them up on Monday at 10am. I guess I'll find out.
The next morning I met some Aussie girls who'd just arrived. All of us booked a tour to the favela tour (slums) and a Rio tour to the big Jesus for Monday. I ended up hanging out with them for the day walking along Copacabana beach to Leme. Again, people everywhere.
These football dudes had some skills:
And the Brazilians like ass. I don't think arse is the right word in this case. It´s definitely ass. A lot of it. Everywhere. All the time. They also have these cool exercise things all along the beach so you can perv at hot guys working out in their togs. Nice!
Next up was lunch. Conveniently Copacabana's one and only vegetarian restaurant is two streets over. I went there and again did the pointing thing to get what I want. I could understand a few ingredients but I was not going to get a dictionary out and translate everything. But ordering randomly is pretty safe in a veggie restaurant. The food was so good. Will definitely go there again if I can. I also like that a lot of Brazilian restaurants have a sink near the door so you can wash you'd hands when you come in. It's a brilliant idea.
Then it was time to get ready for NYE. As I have limited supplies of hair and make up stuff this took 30mins, which included washing my hair. Boys won't think that's quick, but girls will. Then I went downstairs to wait for my friend Marcia. Conveniently they'd set up a bar in the entrance to the hostel to sell booze to guests and passers by. I love you can drink wherever you want here. Anyway two cocktails for about $5, sold!
Marcia turned up and we headed down to the beach (cocktails in hand). It was great catching up with her since we haven't seen each other since I was in the UK last.
Here's a beer can Christmas tree that I want next year. You could make it like an advent calendar for adults.
Then we went to get some dinner. In Australia you can't get in anywhere on NYE unless you book in advance and the staff are incentivised with good hours on New Years Day penalty rates. In Brazil you can't get a table cos no where's open cos everyone just wants to party. I love it but I believe this is a fundamental difference between our two cultures. Anyway, then the rain started (update, it´s now Monday and it´s still raining!). We found a bar for dinner, so we were inside, had a seat, had access to booze and proper toilets so decided to stay there for a while. Marcia and I headed out at 11.30pm and made our way up the beach for fireworks.
Here's a random hot guy
Here's Marcia and I on the beach after being out in the rain, which turned out not to be too bad cos it did cool things down.
At midnight there were fireworks all along the beach. They were pretty amazing and went for 17 minutes or something. It was cool. Then we followed some girls and managed to get about 20m away from the front of the main stage (there were four along the beach in total). That is insane. There are 2-3 million people here and we got to the front just by pushing in basically. Just in time for David Guetta who came on at about 2am. He was awesome. This is a man who can get a crowd going. Everyone was dancing on the sand. It was awesome.
I made it back to the hostel at about 5am. Again. That's twice in a week now. It's fun, but I think its slowly killing me. Two Brazilian girls in my room seem to be doing this every night. There's always at least one of them in there sleeping during the day.
So NYE in Rio, is pretty awesome. I have to say, it is the best party of my life. These people know how to do NYE. I throughly recommend it if you have the time/money and no kids.
Next blog, will be the touristy stuff.