Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – February 2014
Day 1 – I couldn’t believe the end of our adventure was here. We arrived to Rio quite early. A cleaner in the airport came up to me to ask me if the food had been ok. I said yes, then she asked why my friend has said it was not ok. I had not idea what she was talking about, she pointed at one of the guys from our tour who was eating. It turns out he had said to her “this is the sh*t!”. It took a little bit of explaining to let her know it was a compliment and really highlighted what a stupid saying it is ha-ha.
We went to Rio’s old cathedral, visited the historical buildings around the city and then visited the Lapa district and other areas. After the orientation we checked into our hotel and then went out drinking. We were staying in a pretty good area, I think. The hotel we were in was super dingey but we were all together and safe – which is what matters!
Day 2 – Today was the day! The day we finally set our eyes on something we had been dreaming of, the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of the Corcovado. The statue is huge and the view is astronomical – it has soooo many tourists though. To the point where you would be physically pushed so someone else could stand where you were for a picture!
After Christ the Redeemer we headed to Sugarloaf Mountain for the 1300ft climb up to the summit. Again – the views were amazing, so beautiful and camera really just does not do it justice.
We then had free time so we walked around town and hunted down THE havaianas store, big fans of “havi’s” here in Australia / N.Z and I had lost my beloved golden ones year before when they broke. I think we each left with maybe 6 or 7 pairs? I got x2 pairs for me and the rest were gifts – including a little teeny tiny pair for my newborn Niece :).
We did also find ourselves a beach bar and got our drink on, visited the markets and watched the sunset whilst eating McDonald’s (cheap, near our hotel and easy to order). Some people chose to do the favela tours, but it was not really for me – as Jemma aptly worded it ‘poverty tourism’ – so we used the money the tour would have cost and gave it to our tour guide to pass along to a charity in Rio De Janeiro instead. It might just be me, but taking selfie’s with homeless children for your Facebook profile picture to get likes and then walking off doesn’t make you charitable. It makes you kind of a huge jerk.
Jemma went out to the football and I stayed in and ate an impromptu snack plate and watched movies – I was exhausted and needed some ‘me’ time. Also, in South America – Club Social biscuits – oh my god, amazing. I want some now and it’s been years! That afternoon of reading, texting, looking through my photos and at one point napping – was amazing.
I was missing home, missing fresh food, missing my home and missing speaking English. You never want to sound as though you are not appreciating your holiday but I think there comes a time where you are just exhausted and that’s a really long time to spend with people.
Day 3 – It had arrived! Our last day in Rio – not really knowing what to do. We hung around with our travel buddies, ate Mexican food, drank margaritas, went to the beach again. Found out the biggest guys on our tour had been robbed by a kid with a knife – so, we were a little hesitant about going out that night.
Our amazing tour guide from Peru had arrived at our hotel as she was running the Carnivàle festival. So that was pretty cool that we were able to see her but also being able to experience the vibe and excitement of the upcoming Carnivàle.
Day 4 – This was it! South America was over, it was time to head back to L.A before our holiday was officially over. We were in two-minds about this. Yes, we were ready to be home but no, we weren’t really ready to have our adventure end.
When we headed to the airport to fly back to the States, we were lucky enough to be having similar timed departing flights with a couple of our travel buddies. One by one it was our turn to leave though, so there were quite a few tears!
The flight was HORRENDOUS. We had the back, back row – which as you know – the seats don’t decline. That and a 5″ nothing guy sat in front of me and immediately declined his seat into me. Also, I am not sure I have seen planes as filthy as American Airlines – just grubby, dirty, slimy. Absolutely revolting. At one point I had several pills ready to knock myself out for the 10 hour flight, as I went to take them – we hit turbulence and they all went down the side into the grotty abyss. Not pills.
I was super uncomfortable and incredibly annoyed about old-mate in front of me. I am sorry but you’re teeny tiny, the seat next to you is free – you don’t need your seat ALL the way back. When he jumped up and went to the toilet I moved his seat forward 2 inches and then locked my legs in behind his seat.
He ended up working it out and stood up, turned and looked at me and said something in not-Spanish and not-English, I’m assuming “please let me continue to squash you into oblivion because I’m an ar$ehole”. Anyways, it didn’t happen. I didn’t move. Jemma went between being super sympathetic to being worried we would be detained haha, so I couldn’t go super crazy.
Then…..Miami – the gorgeous Florida coastline at 6am in the morning. Our South American journey, was over. Thank you South America, you were amazing!