Monthly Archives: December 2011

Escadaria Celaron

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Yesterday I woke up and finally decided to go to Santa Teresa,Β a hippy – bohemian – artistic neighbourhood. My favourite area in Rio so far, and very close to where I’m currently staying (still staying with Jorge… I am moving out tomorrow and I will really miss him!)

The first thing I wanted to check out was the Escadaria Celaron, a staircase made of tiles by a crazy Chilean guy with a big moustache. As soon as I got there I met two Spanish guys who were pretty much doing the same walk with me, so we spent the afternoon together (and I finally found myself in pictures – it’s so nice to have someone to take pictures of you for a change!

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We walked around the area and finally made it to a strange building which offered some very cool views of the city. Much better than from up the Cristo statue, in my opinion.

In the evening we went for some blues and beer – or beer and blues – to a bar with over 100 different beers, many of them European. Leffe was about 8 Reais, or less than 4 euros. Talk about globalisation…

I loved the concert, the singer had lots and lots of energy, so I went to talk to him after the show. He told me his father had passed away a few hours earlier. Well… THAT was quite a shock… I spent the rest of the evening thinking about it. I may see that band again somewhere, but it’s never gonna be the same…

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Christmas in Rio

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I normally spend Christmas with my family. This was the second Christmas in my life that I didn’t. Strange feeling – also it was strange to have a sunny Christmas!

So, I spent most of Christmas’ eve at the park with Dario, a really interesting guy who is more into yoga than me, and we ended up doing a little yoga… I realised how much I had missed it! He does a type of yoga I’ve never heard of before – SwΓ‘Sthya yoga – which I’d really like to try.

In the evening we were supposed to go to a wild party in a hip neighbourhood with Jorge, my current host who is a musician. However we passed by a dinner party first… and never left. There were about ten cool cool people, and after dinner we started to jam… and the jam went on, and on, and on…! Eduardo, our host for the evening, has a fantastic voice – and he’s very funny too! Jorge played some classical guitar at the end… we left at 5am or so!

On Christmas day I went to Ipanema and Copacabana to have (what else) a few beers. People here seem to have “a beer” all the time πŸ™‚ Even under the rain…!

Favela Rocinha…

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One of the places I really wanted to go here in Rio was a favela. I have been to the coptic garbage village in Cairo before, thanks to my good friend Spyros, but going to a favela (especially after having watched “Cidade De Deus”) was something I had been thinking of for a long time.

Before arriving here I thought it might be dangerous… But I’ve already met people who live in favelas here, and had talks with them, and I slowly forgot all my European prejudices.

I was very lucky… An American girl who lives in favela Rocinha, the biggest favela in Rio (60,000 people) which has been pacified only about a month ago, invited CS people to go and distribute some food in the poorest part of the favela…

So, there we were, with bags of beans and pasta and rice and oil, walking in the upper parts of the favela… Electricity, sewage systems and construction in general are extremely far from what we are used to back in Europe… A lot of people, mostly young – or very young – are going around everywhere, excited to see “gringos” who brought them Xmas gifts.

We stayed there for a few hours, under the hot sun, and overall it was a great experience. I only wish I could speak Portuguese 😦 I may come back later on to volunteer here,..

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Foro dancing

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Those who know me know that I am not a dancer…Β 

Well – here in Brazil everything can happen – I went out dancing “foro”. A cool, sensual, not so difficult dance… even for me!

Waiting to see the samba dance this Monday… hehe πŸ™‚

Copacabana :)

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This beach is so famous, it deserves an entry on its own!

White sand, tanned bodies, brazilian bikinis and speedos, big waves… So big that it was impossible to swim! Instead I took a shower (Brazilians take so many showers a day… I love it) and sat under the umbrella sipping some rum and coke kindly offered by Mario from Sweden πŸ™‚Image

Rainforest

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So… today we had planned a hike in the forest of Barra Da Tijuca, the largest urban forest in the world, with a bunch of people from CS. Am I a hiker? Um, no. But I thought I’d try – I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it etc.

So the day started with a bright blue sky! I decided to use sunblock for once, as the sun was scorching before 10am! So we happily crammed in a little van and went all the way to the entrance of the forest.

That was my first time in the jungle and I was surprised to see that I wasn’t scared of bugs. None crawled on me, but I caught myself observing some strange-looking insects – not too close, ofcourse…

So we arrived at a nice waterfall – I didn’t really want to get all my clothes wet so I didn’t go under it… Our team leader decided to take us to another waterfall – had I ever seen a waterfall inside a cave? No! It was cool, but I didn’t really want to get all my clothes wet etc etc so I didn’t go under it πŸ™‚

So it was time to head back.

And then the rain started.

Rain? No. It was more like a waterfall… I think I’ve seen this kind of rain before – perhaps once or twice – but getting caught in the forest with that sort of rain was quite a new experience…

After a good half-hour’s walk and all of my stuff soaked (hopefully my camera has survived…) we found our way to civilisation… I was quite happy to take off my soaking wet socks!

Would I do it again? Hm – I guess so – after all, I didn’t know it was going to rain πŸ˜›

Dario, my next host, took us to a fantastic restaurant with more than 50 different dishes! Yum!!! They have so many dishes with cheese here… They also had lots and lots of different types of pizza… even sweet pizza with chocolate, banana and smarties….!!!

This is a crazy country πŸ™‚

Sunny Rio…

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Ehm… Not so sunny. My host and I spent the whole day walking under the rain. It somehow feels like living in Manchester. Only differences: it’s quite warm and people drink “um schopp” rather than “a pint of lager”.

Even with this weather, the bus air-con is full on, i.e. freezing. I’m very glad I brought my fleece jacket. Has anyone told Brazilians about global warming???

After trying mate (strange drink with near-coffee flavor, pronounced “much”) I tried guarana (a bubble-gum drink). I didn’t like it. The cheeseballs that came with it were yummy – although greek cheese-pie beats them by far. Have I started missing feta cheese already???

In the evening we went to a very strange house (I think I’ll be going there to cook this Saturday…) and then to the weekly CS Rio meeting. Too many people there drinking beers and eating funny pizzas in a cone and talking in several languages.

Later we went to a bar, where I realised why brasilians think europeans are “cold”. People here look – and if you look back, they stare. Flirting is everywhere in the air. I also met someone who organises favela tours… I guess I’ll go there pretty soon!

All of that with the necessary havaianas (pretty much the only thing that is cheap over here) and tight, tight t-shirts and super mini dresses. And… mannequin dolls have bigger butts over here!!!!

Oh yes, it’s a different world πŸ™‚