I am now in the airport at Rio waiting for my flight to Iguazu the largest waterfalls in the world. I have just spent and incredible week in Rio discovering the most vibrant city I have ever been lucky enough to visit. Arriving in Rio I had been hit by the flu and speant my first few days in bed (very annoying!!) but soon I was on my feet again and I hit the ground running.
The Christo Rentedor, like Sydneys opera house or Pariss Eiffel tower, is a symbol of Rio an idea which is only emphasised by the fact that it can be seen from almost every part of Rio. Reaching the summit on which it stands, the true beauty of Rio is quickly understood. What a city! Lakes, mountains and the sea come together displaying breathtaking views. Visiting the Christo Rentedor is a part of any Brasilian trip and although the structure (which took over 8 years to build) is continually surrounded by hoards of tourist, its presence is still truly impressive. The detail to the face and hands (sculpted in Spain) is intricate and the sheer size of the sculpture leaves everyone understanding the amount of work that went into constructing it. While much effort was made to get that photo of arms outstretched below the Christo, the sheer number of people made things difficult, but I did manage to get a few good shots!
The mix of cultures in Brazil from Portugal to Africa has created a vibrant mix of food, music and dance. Brazil has the largest black population outside of Nigeria and the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. Poverty mixes with extreme wealth to form an eclectic mix on the streets and beaches. In Lapa, the district know as the heart of samba, the Lapa steps were the idea of a crazy Chilean guy who arrived in Lapa and loved it so much he never left. He thought that the Lapa steps were shabby and boring in district which lives and breathes one of the sexist music and dance forms on the planet. He started collecting tiles from all over the world and as people heard about his project people from all over the world began sending tiles to him. He used the tiles to brighten up the Lapa steps and now there are tiles from all over the world (including one from the Sydney opera house). The steps are totally my style! I would love to have a bathroom or kitchen done in this style one day!
My hostel was right on Ipanema beach which is a lovely beach on the other side of Copacabana. The waves are pretty rough though and the sun super strong! There were a couple of guys in my hostel who had suffered second degree burns after falling asleep on the beach after a big night out! One of them had giant blisters all over his feet and as he had been lying face down and soles up when he got burnt even the soles of his feet were blistered. He couldnt walk anywhere! Way to spoil a holiday! Diego and his friend Damian met me in Rio on their second to last day before they went back to Buenos Aires. So after a big night out in Lapa we hit Ipanema for the day. It was fun to hire and umbrella and order coconuts!
Diego in the budgy smugglers! he he he!
My lack of Portuguese has been super downer in my trip to Brazil and is the part of the reason why I am not staying longer. But at least it gives me something to come back to! I have absolutely loved Rio and I cant wait to come back again after I have studied a bit of Portuguese and dont have to try and talk to everyone in Spanish! So now on to Iguazu and the waterfalls and then back into Buenos Aires for a couple of weeks before heading home!
posted Tuesday January 2009