A Travellerspoint blog

The best and not-so-best of Rio

Copacabana, Ipanema and Favelas

sunny 35 °C
View The BIG trip on cam_sarah's travel map.

We headed out to the beachy suburbs of Copacabana and Ipanema, which are nicest parts of Rio. We walked (yes, Seth walked) the length of the beaches stopping frequently for swims as the temp was about 35degees, and thankfully the water was freezing! Making the walk a little easier. The beaches were packed - I thought Bondi on a busy holiday was bad, but these were crazy.
All the Brazilians wear the tiniest bikini bottoms and padded tops (yes, Seth they are all padded!) and the boys all wear Euro-togs... so, Seth and I stood out a little in my big-bottomed bikini and Seth in his Speedos! Even the fattest bottoms wore tiny biknis - really not very flattering. Girl from Ipanema and other bloke

Girl from Ipanema and other bloke

Breathing in at Copacabana

Breathing in at Copacabana

The crowded beaches did make it very hard to continue my celebrity-spotting, but when we were outside the Copacabana Palace Hotel we were told that Madonna and Beyonce were in there!

The beaches have a beautiful outlook and some great paving along the boardwalk, just a shame there were so many people there.
GRoovy footpath at Ipanema

GRoovy footpath at Ipanema

Copacabana

Copacabana

In the afternoon, we headed off on a tour into the other side of Rio, the favelas (slums,shanty towns) - these are communities that have grown within Rio, usually on the side of hills, giving them great views and usually where the good parts of a city are built! Usually favelas develop (or are pushed by the Govt) on the outskirts of cities, but here in Rio they are right next to the posh bits, one we visited even backed onto the best Golf Club in Rio.
In the 80s the Govt´s plan was to get rid of them, but in the last 20/30 years they have decided to integrate them into the city, provide services (water, elec, sewerage and actual addresses) - because it~s cheaper and easier than building homes for all the people in them.
We visited 2 - Villa do Canoas and Rocinho.
Canoas was a small, clean, well run favela, just a hodge-podge of houses built on top of each other, which a great community school (funded by our tour).
Rocinho was a drug-run favela, there were places we weren~t allowed to photo and we had to open all the windows onthe minibus so that they knew who was coming into the favela. It was more what expected, but again looked to be run in an organised and community way - I guess the drug lords are good at that! We were warned that we might see guns and drugs, but didn´t (probably just a tour-tactic!).
Both favelas were quite fine with having tourists walk through and it didn~t seem too voyeuristic - we got some great pics from the top of them both!

Villa Do Canoas Favela

Villa Do Canoas Favela

Rocinho Favela - commercial centre - run by drugs

Rocinho Favela - commercial centre - run by drugs

Villa do Canoas

Villa do Canoas

Rocinho - view from the top

Rocinho - view from the top

Posted by cam_sarah 11:03 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Rio Carnival!!

sunny 38 °C
View The BIG trip on cam_sarah's travel map.

So, after about 36 hours of flying and 10 hours of airport waiting. we finally arrived in Rio. The flight from Sydney was great, we were on the A380 and had 3 seats, so we both managed to sleep about 9 out of the 13 hours flight, but it was a different story on the American Airlines flights - both really old planes with poor service and 1 movieeach, which was hard especially on the 9 hour flight from Miami!
OUr hotel in Rio was old but quite nicely oldy-charactery and very clean, but in a little bit of a dodgy area, with a favela just up the road, but we managed to get about very easily.
Rio is a crazy place during Carnival and on our first evening we bumped into a few Blocos (which are Samba bands playing on the top of a truck made into a giant speaker system, with a few thousand followers, dancing in the street) really quite a spectacle! The atmosphere was fab and the people danced following the truck for hours.

The next day we had a good explore of the area and got up to the Christ the Redeemer hill, which has a fabulous 360 degree view of the city, but being the busiest time of the year it took over an hour of queuing for a ticket, which booked us onto a train nearly 2 hours later (grrrr) - a lot of waiting around in 37 degree heat! We wished we had succumbed to the taxi touts at the entrance. So, 3 hours later, 7 bottles of water, 2 ice lollies and a hot, grumpy Seth... we got to the top. The views were worth the wait and the photos are pretty cool.An Angel and Christ

An Angel and Christ


View from Christ

View from Christ

That evening we set off for Carnival! hurray! We had booked tickets over the internet and they were delivered to our hotel, I was a little apprehensive, but it all turned out fine. The parade started at 9pm, and we were told to get there at 6pm to get a seat, basically our tickets just got us entry to a bleacher-type concrete slab , which held about 1700 people. We headed off to brave the Metro system as were surrounded by quite a few people in costume and very dancing and singing. When the train arrived, the dor
doors opened and it was like opening an oven!
The train was packed and ridiculously hot! All you could see were people dripping with sweat, it was gross! But we pushed our way on and coped with a 6-stop ride - yuk!! I don´t think I have ever been anywhere so hot!
When we finally made it to our concrete slab we actually managed to get quite good seats, not too high up and just across from the ´famous people´box (we spotted Gerald Butler at the airport and Madonna was there too - we have some fuzzy pics!). The concrete was so hot, you could feel it through our shoes and we were glad to have bought $1 cushions from a street seller.
The parade itself was amazing! There were 6 samba schools competing that night and we watched 5 of them. Each school had about 5000 people performing and took about 1 hour to pass through. It was a mix of Sydney´s Mardi Gras, NY´s Macy Christmas Parade and So You Think You Can Dance. Each school had a story and told it through floats and costumes, some were a lot more entertaining than others, and most didn´t really contain much samba dancing. The logistics of putting these shows together must be huuuge! Each school had about 200 directors making sure people were in time and getting it right. The costumes were awesome (can´t imagine dancing in them in 30 degrees heat!) and the floats were huge (and sometimes a bit wobbly to be dancing on). Each school had a song , that they sang over and over continually for the hour - they only had 2 verses and a chorus, but I still found the Portugese too hard to follow!
We left the revellery at 4am and headed back through the crowds to our hotel, exhausted!Carnival Float

Carnival Float


Carnival Crowd

Carnival Crowd

Posted by cam_sarah 08:51 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

Cape Town - End

Great Whites

I recognise this is a quick follow up but it is also the end of Cape Town- the first phase of the trip.

We leave Cape Town tomorrow morning and get back into Sydney at 830p on Thursday night. Given Sarah and I then fly out to Rio on Friday at 3p I doubt that there will be many follow ups prior to getting there!

Diving with the sharks was amazing. Obviously the guide talked down the possibility of finding the sharks and on the way back he told me that at this time last year, since Jan 1, they had already had 30 missed trips (0 sharks). Lucky for us we had 7 different white pointers come and visit us. There were four people in the cage at a time- guess who was first in- ME!

We jumped in at the first spotting of a shark- me and the second guy saw it but then it dissapeared. We were in the water for another 25 minutes before the proper onslaught began and a group of sharks started to hang around and grab the fish head, bounce off the cage a bit and basically scare everyone. There was a lot of very excited people on the boat as each of us jumped in and out of the cage, having a second go if we wanted. There was probably a good hour that we had sharks around the boat.

Me in a cage

Me in a cage

The smallest and only male was about 2 metres, the others were all female and ranged in size up to about 5.5m. Fare to say a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hopefully I can get some photos of it up in the coming weeks as it is well worth a look.
Big Shark...

Big Shark...

We have our last Kangaroo Court session tonight at 530p which means a few drinks will be had. Then some dinner and bed. Have to be up and ready to go at 830a so no going out of the hotel tonight.

A long flight back to Sydney, via Joberg and Singapore- terrible!

But it will be great to get back, hook up with Sarah, catch my breath, throw out the Rugby boots, throw in the hiking boots and set off again.

Well- until next time- enjoy your day at the desk!!!

Posted by seth_g 05:52 Archived in South Africa Comments (2)

Cape Town

1st Week of Holidays Finished

Howsssit! (As the South African's say)

Cape Town is a great deal of fun. We played the tournament over the weekend and unfortunately lost all four games. The best performance was achieved when myself and a couple of other old boys sat out the whole game! There was some good Rugby played and it was a bit different to play in a tournamentwhere there were no Pacific Island teams, refreshing, and much better on the body. I am happy to say that other than a grazed knee the body held up well. Injury sufferred falling of the one tackle I attempted- luckily I knocked the ball loose in the process!

Inbetween the rugby we have found time to go out to Robben Island where Mandela was held as a political prisoner- along with many others. We also went up table mountain on the only day since we have been here that there was not total cloud cover on it. The view is amazing and the mountains aroud the city are stunning. It has been very hot and most of us are sun burnt as in the morning it is quite cool but then the clouds clear (from everywhere but the mountain) and it is really hot.
Table Mountain

Table Mountain

We got down to Camps Bay yesterday which is a very nice beach spot with Sunday afternoon bars for a drink. The sun was hot and the water was inviting but also very very very cold- feet in just to find out and that was it- maybe two people swimming and one was in a steamer!

We went to the new stadium which is across the road from the hotel and next to the ground we played at. It was the second time it had been used, the stormers played an invitational squad. The pitch was impressive and being so new it was an excellent spot to watch the rugby- very similar to Suncorp but at 75 000 capacity a little bigger. They did not open the top section so there were 'only' 40 000 packed in to the lower area.

Today we went to a private game park and saw the 'big 5'. It was good and 5 of the young boys got quad bikes instead of going on the back of the 4 wheel drives- surprisingly the guide encouraged them to do donuts and burn outs, which there is some very funny footage of, including one of them rolling one of the quads. I think they harrassed rather than apreciated the wildlife......
Two arsed Rhino

Two arsed Rhino

Tomorrow we are off around the coast again to go diving with White Pointers- I may end up a two finger typist through neccessity rather than inability after tomorrow. A little bit anxious about it but think it will be a great experience.

I assume blogging is meant to be much shorter... but this is my first time. Until the next update......

Posted by seth_g 05:53 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Seth Departure - South Africa

So, Seth is in Sydney and leaves for South Africa tonight. He's going to Cape Town for 10 days to play rugby (2 days) and to drink (8 days).
He's left me in Brisbane to pack up the house (we're renting it out while we are away) and I'll meet him in Sydney before we fly to Rio on 12th Feb.

Pre-trip weigh-in:
Seth: 94.9kg
(somehow he managed to put on 2kg over the weekend!)

Posted by cam_sarah 16:42 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

(Entries 16 - 20 of 20) « Page 1 2 3 [4]