rio - the city where pedro never sleeps

  • metro station
  • cathedral in rio - damn ugly
  • rio aqueduct
  • start of the steps
  • not sure what this means about south africa
  • ganstas
  • gangsta girls
  • ganstas and hos
  • lonely gangsta
  • people in the favela trying to get a new power genrator up the stairs
  • the favela
  • view from the top of favela
  • favela kids
  • us and some of the kids
  • islands off rio as seen from favela
  • getting attacked by the kids
  • more favela kids
  • lagoon as seen from favela
  • favela at night
  • view from corcovado
  • great view from corcovado
  • christ the redeemer
  • maracana
  • maracana
  • great seats
  • ready for kickoff
  • small crowd
  • at the big derby
  • why does holly love the spaghetti mopney shots so much?
  • gotta stop with the thumbs up
  • holly, loving the bottle of cheap vodka
  • not sure what i´m doing here
  • tram up to st teresa
  • quite liked this building
  • lapa

When Tav and I rolled into Rio on the 28th of September I knew we were going to party a bit, after all it's a city known for good parties, but what I didn't know was that Rio was a candidate city for the Olympics, and the partying after the announcement and for a few days after was more than I could handle.

As the bus rolled crossed the massive bridge over the bay, entering Rio, I flicked my ipod to Corcovado by Joao Gilberto. Cheesy, yes I know, but I thought it was quite appropriate as I could see Christ the Redemmer atop Corcovado in the distance. We checked into a hostel called Stone of a Beach - I still have no idea how they came up with that name. It's one of those party hostels where there is pretty much always somebody propping up the bar.

After checking in, I hoped to go for a quick surf session. This didn't happen because Copacabana beach is not really surfable - massive waves that close out with a spray that shoots metres into the air. So, surf session failing I decided to go for a nap cause the 24 hour bus ride had taken a lot out of me. That night, if I recall correctly we didn't party too much, instead we mingled with some of the people at the hostel bar. We also bumped into Holly and Vicky whom we'd met in Pipa, and happened to be staying in the same hostel as us.

The next morning the 4 of us went in search of the "Escadaria de Selaron" or "Selaron Steps" made famous by several music videos, the most recent of which is the Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams video to the "Beautiful" track. The day before we all spoke about filming a music video there, but those were ambitions geared by the beers we had. What we did instead was try to pose like the dudes in the video. The same day we also took the tram up to Sta Teresa, a Bohemian part of Rio. We also went by the Rio Cathedral, which I think is a hideous piece of modern achitecture. I can't understand how anybody could have thought that would look good in this city.

In the afternoon, I went on a tour to the favela (the ghetto) with Holly and Vicky. I don't really enjoy these sort of things and don't approve of the tours in the townships in South Africa because I think it's kinda rude that we go in there and stair at these people as if we were in a zoo. But, that said, I was told that the locals really want to show how they're making things better in the favella and a percentage of the tour fee goes to the community, so I went along. I was quite surprised at how safe I felt in there and how friendly everybody was. The guide told us we would not get robbed in there because the community has it's own law. If people get caught robbing they get severly punished - likewise for other crime, except for drug dealing as this is one of the the things that drives the community. We met up with a group of kids that were really loving the cameras, not so much the being in the photos part, but rather taking of photos. They hung out with us pretty much straight through the tour. I really enjoyed chatting to them asking them about the community and what sports they're into and stuff - I think it's not often they meet a "gringo" that speaks their language. The oldest of the kids asked me loads of questions about South Africa and was stunned that I live so far yet speak Portuguese. He knew South Africa purely because the world cup is being held there next year. In Bolivia I mentioned on here playing football with the local kids and said that it seems football really does bring the world together, and again this is the case. A kid who lives in a favela, knows South Africa because of football. Mind you it could just be cause he saw it on the internet - I was really surprised that the favela has broadband internet cafes. On the one end of the favela there's what was meant to be a 5 star hotel that never got completed, so the community have converted it into a rec centre. It has a pool, dance studio, boxing club, basketball courts, a library etc.

Later that night we headed out to a club called House. It was a pretty good night because of the company but it wasn't really my sort of club - basically it was all gringos so we didn't really get a feel for the locals. That night I also met up with Niamh, whom I'd met in Mancora and who's now pretty much living in Rio. Very cool to catch up with her.

The next day I didn't do much because the night before was a pretty big night. Later in the afternoon we said goodbye to Vicky and Holly because they headed back to England. That night if I'm not mistaken involved a couple of beers in the hostel bar. But I'm not sure - getting the days a bit mixed up here.

On Thursday morning we decided to go see Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado. It was pretty col, but I think it's quite overrated. Sure, the view from the top of Corcovado is beautiful, but the statue itself is not better than Cristo Rei in Lisbon. In the evening we headed out to a football match at the infamous Maracana stadium. This place used to seat 140000 and now seats 95 000, unfortunately though the match we went to wasn't exactly capacity crowd. Only 10 000 people showed up. Not totally upset about it because how often would somebody get the chance to sit about 4 rows from the dugouts, and right on the halfway line at one of the world's biggest stadiums. The match was hilarious. I lost count of the number of yellow cards that were handed out, and there were 4 red cards. 1 red for Fluminense (a Rio team who is pretty much bottom of the league) and 3 reds for Alianz (a Peruvian team). Final result was 4-1 to Fluminense. I also last count of the number of times I heard "Filho da puta" (son of a bitch) being shouted out. And the chants really cracked me up, the most popular one being "Tu, tu, vai levar no cu" (You, you, go take it in the bum) sounds hilarious in Portuguese. After the match we headed to a club next door to the hostel, for a hip hop night and once again we partied til the early hours.

Friday was the big day when they would announce the host city for the 2016 Olympics. We headed to Copacabana beach with a group of Chileans staying in our room - Juan, his sister Claudia and their friend Denisse. At first we sat outside the crowd because we were all struggling because of the night before. Just as we were about to move to where the party was, the announcement came through and the crowd went nuts. There were loads of Caipirinhas and beers flowing, and everybody just seemed on top of the world - especially Juan who got stuck into the Caiprinhas so badly that he was struggling to cross the street. After that we all headed back to the hostel for a bit of a nap before heading out to the infamous Lapa party. On Friday nights, the Lapa neighbourhood turns into one massive street party and pretty much everybody is there. And the fact that most people had been partying all day probably made it even bigger.

On Saturday morning, everybody in the hostel seemed to have aged a few years because of the previous night. I wasn't really up for doing anything, but Tav convinced me to head out to Ipanema beach, and the supposedly talent filled Post 9. Post 9 is where all of Rio's most beautiful hang out. Unfortunately though the weather was pretty crap, so there wasn't much skin on display. That evening a few of us headed out to an Irish bar called Shenanigans where they were having a live rock gig. Funny that an Irish bar turned out to be one of the most non-gringo experiences I had in Rio. We were the only gringos with a group of American girls and the one girl's husband who was an absolute dickhead!

The next day I said goodbye to Tav after a very cool 7 weeks of travelling together. Felt pretty weird thinking that after that long I would be travelling on my own again. After saying our goodbyes, I headed to Maracan stadium with a few lads from the hostel, hoping that we could get some tickets to the sell out derby that night between Fluminense and Flamengo. I figured it'd be easy to buy tickets on the street but, the touts were selling them for like 5 times the face value - I didn't have enough to pay for it. Was gutted that I couldn't get the tickets, but even the atmosphere outside the stadium was crazy. At one point we were standing outside the entrance for the Flamengo players trying to get tickets, and a Flamengo supporter walked past pointing a gun at everybody. I think all us gringos possibly soiled ourselves. The cops then chased him. I didn't stick around to see what the result was. Accepting defeat I headed back to the hostel for a couple of drinks with some of the lads who also didn't get tickets. Later in the evening we all headed to a party in one of the Favelas (slums or ghettos). It was absolutely crazy! The way people were dancing was pretty much just dry humping. A few fights broke out, but generally I fealt quite safe in there.

Monday morning once again I woke up feeling rough than a badger's arse and I decided I had to say goodbye to Rio as she was now beginning to suck the life out of me. Next stop would be Ilha Grande for some serious chill and surf time.