Saturday, 13 September 2008
Hola! Thought I´d better pause for a minute, catch my breath and try and make sense of the last few days! We arrived in Rio after a 4 hour delay to torrential downpours reminiscent of monsoon season. At first I thought the pilot had made a mistake and flown us right back to Heathrow, but there was the unmistakable sight of Copacabana beach to assure me otherwise. If I thought we were glad to get off the plane, I had to spare a thought for the poor English guy off to meet the Brazilian in-laws for the first time, whose daughter had kindly just weed on him in her sleep!
We were staying in the Mango Tree hostel in Ipanema and as soon as we walked through the door I knew Melissa had picked well. In the past few days we´ve met loads of lovely people, including an American couple studying at possibly the best University in the world. Basically they get to spend a "semester at sea" - sailing round the world on a cruise ship cum floating classroom and stopping off for holidays all the way round - Gordon Brown take note. We´ve been to see the big JC, take th obligatory stupid photos, arms outstretched, we´ve watched the sunset from Sugar Loaf mountain, Caipharinias in hand, been on a really enlightening Favela tour, spent some quality time on the beach and eaten anything with bananas in that we could get our hands on. We also got into the spirit of things at the Brazil vs Bolivia world cup qualifier, which was immense fun, despite a being a no-score draw. I did after all score a free baloon hat and some face paints out of it!
The food had been great too, even though my exotic order of chicken, bananas, bacon and potato basically turned out to be the Brazilian equavalent of a KFC fun bucket with a banana fritter on top for good measure. We did manage to get some great traditional Brazilian food from an enthusiastic resturanteur called Mario, who had added his own authentic Italian touch (or Mario splash as we decided) to our black beans, rice and meat with... well tinned spaghetti. Slightly odd but very tasty.
Anyway we´ve left Rio now and taken a 20 hour coach up the coast (only in ride entertainment a video, yes a video, of Ice Age, only on silent cos it was night time). I managed to read 2 books and get some quality window gazing done. We are in a stunning town called Arrail de Ajude, full of coloured buildings, beaches and the worlds nicest hostel with a lovely pool, hammocks, big wooden balconies and a poodle, who is staring at me as I type. We originally planned 2 nights here but I could stay a month so we will see, anyway we´re off out now in search of seafood, samba and perhaps a couple more cocktails. Hope everyone at home is well, miss you all! xx