So we had a little scare on the way out of Miami, American Airlines were convinced that I needed a visa! Luckily a quick google and we realized the guys at the desk were wrong but they did get us a little worried as they thought we didn’t have enough paperwork to get in!!
We had no choice but to go, thinking that dealing with the Brazilians would be easier than trying to extend a visa in the US. How right we were, after pointlessly rehearsing our stories on the plane we were straight through customs and a couple of hours later had checked in to our hostel!!
Shortly after that we were sat on Copacobana beach sipping caipirinhas!!! We spent the first afternoon just relaxing and watching the sights and sounds on the beach!! People playing football, volleyball, people in skimpy bikinis (the translation is dental floss!) people selling beers, caipirinha, water, bracelets, food, clothes (you can get anything)
The chap at the hostel suggested we head down to Botofogo to watch the sunset, and although we listened carefully it wasn’t long before we were fairly lost and had definitely missed the sun setting. We walked up and down a couple of streets until we saw a small bridge and beyond it a group of people gathered next to a harbour. To the right was an enterprising restaurant selling beers to everyone on the street and to the left was the harbour and Christ the Redeemer lit up in full splendor on top of the hill behind!! Fantastic we couldn’t believe our luck. We couldn’t have picked a better place to have our first evening in Rio.
Our search for dinner began in much the same way, lost within ten minutes, but once again luck was on our side as we stumbled upon a street full of restaurants and packed tables lining the street. We seemed to have found the student area. We sat and had a fantastic plate of fish while sharing our beer. What a great start to South America already so many sights and sounds.
Just a quick note, that one of the first things we have noticed straight away is the huge cultural diversity here. There is a completely eclectic mix of different ethnicities, white, black, Latin American, Indian and just about every combination too. Just so refreshing and fantastic to see. It means it’s almost impossible to tell whether someone is a local or a tourist. T
Even with my written out address the taxi driver had a bit of trouble finding our accomodation! Lucky they had written the name of the place and the number in graffiti on the side otherwise we would never have found it! The location was great, right on top of an incredibly steep hill (walking to and from the hostel was our exercise for the day!) in between Copacobana and Botofogo. We were the only people staying there for the first couple of nights which was lucky as there was only one shower and toilet, we wouldn’t want to be there when the dorms were full! Our room was right in the top of the attic at the front, up some very suspect stairs, not quite level and at least on flight was lacking a bannister.
The view across towards Botofogo with Christ the Redeemer illuminated on top of the mountain in the background. The harbour was full of small fishing boats and there was quite a crowd say along the harbour wall all drinking their beers and chatting away which gave the place quite a buzz. The Brazilian way to have your beer is to buy a large bottle in a cooler and then share it in small glasses.