Monday, January 9, 2012

Rio part 2

On new years day I got up at midday. I'm pretty sure no one staying here made it to breakfast. Here's some backpacker carnage.

They managed to clean all the rubbish off the street pretty quickly. All good today.

I felt ok. Probably the 1.5L of water I forced myself to drink when I got in helped. It's good when I remember that. It doesn't always happen. Anyway, it's still pissing down rain I so got my umbrella and walked up to Ipanema. It's pretty nice.

Then I came back to Copacabana but sadly my veggie restaurant was closed. However, this gave me the opportunity to try a per kilo restaurant. These are everywhere in Brazil and you get a plate, load it up from the buffet, they weigh it, you pay, and off you go. These are pretty good for vegetarians/vegans that's for sure. Salad, roast veggies, beans, taboulet, humous. It's great. Next up was trying the metro. I wanted to go up to Botafogo and Flamengo. This is Botafogo beach and Sugar Loaf Mountain in the background.

Then I turned around and found Jesus!

This is Flamengo. I nearly got hit by a taxi crossing the road. I don't know why but some taxis and buses seem fine with running red lights here. Is it not illegal here?

Today (2 Jan) was my big tourist day. It's still raining by the way. This is beginning to remind me of summer in Brisbane. Our guide picked us up at the hostel at 10am and drove us to the Santa Maria favela. This is the one Michael Jackson came to in '96 to film They don't Really Care About Us (some is filmed in Salvador too). When he died they constructed this statue if him, where you can see he did a lot of his moves in the video.

Nope, he doesn't smell.

Apparently more than 20% of Rio's population live in favelas and they can be quite dangerous to go into without a guide. However, three years ago the government decided that there was no way they could get rid of them and ship everyone out (the original plan) and decided to provide services instead. Now there's a novel idea! So now there are cable cars to the top (since there are no roads), schools and police.

8,000 people live here in Santa Maria, the biggest one has 70,000 people. A lot of people here work down in the city. Apparently employers like you to live in the city cos it means you're more reliable for getting to work cos you're closer.

This is the very top.

They have awesome views. Anywhere else, this would be worth an absolute fortune. This is the view of Jesus.

And what Jesus would look like if it wasn't pissing down rain!

Sorry, I didn't realise how shit that photo of the postcard is until I saw it on a PC, but you get the idea.

A bar. Yeah, this looks like a happening place! Maybe I'll come back later so I can get robbed by the group of guys we passed standing around smoking pot.

Slum dog.

Slum Iguassu (and also my water feature for the day, Tim).

This is the town square equivalent. There are a few shops here and a paint company sponsored this project. I like it.

Then it was time for Jesus!!! Seriously, I've never been so excited for religion. Mostly cos I think it's a load of bollocks. I have more faith in commercially viable clean coal technology saving us than a mythical dude. Plus as an Aussie it's natural to love big things. Big pineapple, big banana, big bloody rock in the middle of our country. I was excited about big Jesus.

Unfortunately it was still pissing down rain so the views were limited. On the plus side there were no lines to get up there. Straight to the top for us. Besides you can't come to Rio and not visit Jesus even if the weather is shit.

Here's the compulsary picture. Sadly there are always other people in the way.

The views were not great cos the rain.

Next up was Lapa and the escadaria de selarón. This is a famous staircase by a Chilean artist who has been covering the steps since 1990 (thanks lonely planet). Apparently he still lives on this street. It is very cool. I liked these steps a lot.

There's something like 58 countries represented in the tiles. I found three Aussie ones. Germany seems the most popular.

Here's one for Scotland.

The artist likes to draw black pregnant women the most and also represent himself as a pregnant woman. I guess you don't get to be artistic without a little crazy.

This one confuses me. It's like Blinky the fish, but a woman and boobs.

Then came time for some açai, which I've now learnt to pronounce correctly.

A lot of what I say here (after the pointing and some Spanish) ends with desculpe, which is basically saying sorry and admitting I'm an idiot. Stupid tourists. Fail! Anyway, this purple fruit is amazing for you (very high in antioxidants) but you can only get it in Brazil. Yum! It tastes so good. I then decided to try a graviola juice. Surprisingly, I know, it has nothing to do with gravy, granola or ravioli. It's another Brazilian fruit that you can only get in Brazil. I also love that everywhere does fresh juices. And they are cheap. Brazil rocks.

Next stop, sugar loaf mountain. At the bottom is this statue is a soldier. He is in an odd position. I think he looks like he's getting tickled. So I did.

The ride up involves two cable cars. These things freak me out a bit, mostly cos the one I went on in Austria was full of kids on a school trip who thought it would be funny to jump up and down and try and rock it from side to side. Well guess what kids? It's not funny. And now you've scarred me for life apparently.

Again, you'd get spectacular views on a day when its not raining. Here's Copacabana.

There are also these tiny monkeys up there. They are so cute.

I was eating so they all wanted to be my friend. I dropped a piece of my sandwich. Yes, I'm well aware that vegemite sandwiches are not part of the monkey's natural diet (although vegemite IS awesome) but it kind of fell off and then they were there like flies to shit. The one that ate my sandwich had a baby clinging to it (you can see his eyes near his mother´s head). SO cute! I feel bad for feeding a monkey bread, but got a cute photo, so yay.

I came back to Copacabana after and went to another per kilo restaurant for dinner. I love these places. Fresh fruit, veg, beans and they're cheap. Dinner and a beer costs about $10. I also like that they all seem to have a big tv. Tonight I was treated to the Brazilian equivalent if Neighbours. It looks just as rubbish.

So that's it, Rio done. Tomorrow I'm off to Ilha Grande. Hopefully for some sun.