In our almost 30 years on this earth (oh shit. . . almost 30) collectively we have had the opportunity to visit over 35 different countries and countless cities (We know, it’s a tough life). We have been on the road for over four months straight and have at least 9 more to go! The fact is, it isn’t that places become less amazing, but sadly it becomes standard for you to be in these amazing locations and thus more difficult for an individual place to register above the rest (there is just too much awesomeness). We each have our own list of places that have managed to hit us hard enough with what they have to offer that they have found a permanent spot in our memory and made it onto our short list of places we know we will return.
We both definitely agree that Rio has made each of our lists.
If you have had the opportunity to meet a Brazilian, one of the most common features I am sure you noticed was their undying and unrepressed love for their country. Of course every nationality is patriotic and proud of where they are from (America, fuck yeah!). But it seems that Brazilians manage to top even the proudest, only buy American, gun totting redneck, country music loving, ‘Jesus Christ only loves The States’ bumper sticker on a jacked up truck, redneck. Did I say redneck twice? Just trying to get the point across.
Before I came to Brazil I thought maybe there was some kind of class in school that brainwashed them to only have a taste for their own culture, no matter how it actually ranks against others (no offense Brazilians). Similar to people who smoke cheap cigarettes for so long they actually prefer GPC over a Marlboro or Camel. Or those that really believe that Hamms is a superior beer and that all bars should be required to have it on tap.
The fact is, I now sit writing this very blog wearing capoeira pants, a green and yellow shirt that says “Ordem E Progresso”, and I am listening to Michel Telo ” Ai Se Eu Te Pego. (A song that has followed us all around South America. I still have absolutely no fucking clue what he is saying, but damn its catchy.)
Oh, and we are going to kick ass at our country hosted world cup in 2014!
Turns out these Brazilians might have more than a little ground to stand on when it comes to reasons for being proud, and I don’t even think they have the right to bear arms!? Or at least not a Saturday Night Special and or assault rifle.
Alright, I may be slightly living in the moment. Infatuated with a new love and not judging it in a rational manner. Simply overlooking its negative sides and highlighting the positive. It’s not like we are going to rush into a marriage, not fully knowing each other and hope love conquers all. . . we all know that shit never works out.
We spent a week in Rio and it was able to provide us with everything we were looking for and more. In fact, we were so happy with Rio that we are not really sure what we did in Brazil before Rio or what we have planned after? When I think back on our 30 days in Brazil it will be overshadowed by a single week.
Late night (turning into early morning) parties on the streets of Lapa, great food, perfect weather, awesome beaches, and it even has well laid out running paths for those (few) days we felt up for it. The sights are worth the money and the people are quick to ensure you are happy (with a smile and a thumbs up) and in our case, not lost. Don’t feel like trying to navigate your way around? Just whip your map out, start looking confused, and you will be helped shortly.
Lapa captured a majority of our late night adventures as the clubbers have a tendency to spill out into the street, the drink stands ensure your not wasting your money in the club – both in price and alcohol content, and the food stands help you extend that drunken stupor well past the wee hours of the morning and into the start of the following work day. On the weekends they close the street down and no bull shit, it is right on par with Bourbon Street (only cheaper!). Plenty of people, action, music, and craziness.
The food in Brazil is insane and Rio does it as well if not better than anywhere. Our appetite was well passed suppressed with the by kilo buffets or all you can eat spots. The street food was out-of-this-world. Barbeque is not just a standard that is upheld to the highest degree by fine cuisine establishments. The guys on the street take pride in their R$4 / $2 kabab. The 6 large chunks of awesome of meat (chicken, beef, sausage, cheese, mixed) ranks second on my all time favorite street food item, behind the street taco of course which will always be my first love. (I see you Tacos Flair)
The beaches in Brazil don’t need my pathetic attempt to describe how beautiful they are. If you google top ten beaches in the world, depending on the list, Brazil will grab at least two of the top five spots. It seems they are always busy and if your thirsty little habit so desires, you can be well on your way to smashed for reasonably cheap right there on the beach. As it is littered with drink stands and the mark up for the prime location is minimal.
While at Impanema beach we were fortunate enough to catch one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen in my life. The sun was setting over the mountains that surround Rio and the sun was reflecting off the haze, presenting a fairly impressive array of colors. The beach was laid out in front of us with the ocean crashing gently on the sand. As we stood at the edge of the pier we looked to our left toward Copacabana beach and were amazed to see the full moon raising from the water. It was close enough that you could easily make out every detail. What blew our mind was with each passing minute the moon would change colors, matching the colors presented by the sun as it set. Sunset to our right, moon raising to our left. Pretty damn spectacular!
Sally even managed to get a little dancing in! Every weekend there is a festival held in a stadium on the north side of town. Apparently it use to take place in the street, but it got so big that the city moved it to a permanent location. The inside of the stadium is now structured into different booths, restaurants, and dance floors. I was fortunate enough to find a Forro club that was right around the corner from a reggae club. So we would do a couple of songs at each to make sure I kept my sanity while still appeasing Sally’s thirst for local music.
The only downside about Rio, is like the patriotic Brazilian they realize what they got going on. Hostel prices are double compared to other places in Brazil, beers cost a little bit more, and of course that all you can eat buffet doesn’t seem like such a deal with the spike in cost. With our plans of a year-long trip we had to attempt to keep our budget in mind while still taking advantage of the moment. I use the word “attempt” loosely, as the moment seemed to trump the budget in most if not all cases.
Until next time Rio.