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Rio, Brazil

I arrived to Rio in the afternoon after a very long journey and felt like I was in another world. It was a maze at first to get an Uber because the airport Wifi wasn’t working and I had to ask the security guard many times if I could go back inside to the Duty Free section and use that Wifi to find where the Uber was since it wasn’t working outside of the Duty Free section (literally the most frustrating part about relying on airport Wifi). Thankfully the security guard was able to direct the Uber to where I was trying to go in Portuguese. Thirty minutes later I was finally in the Uber who didn’t speak any Spanish or English so it was off to a great start haha but atleast the drive was beautiful. I arrived at my hostel and checked-in, the vibe was like a punk band/disco feel and quiet, along with some construction going on, so I wasn’t amused. The girl checking me in thankfully spoke a little English and I paid for my room and got taken there right away as I told her I was exhausted from my trip. She informed me of the free Caipirinhas at 8pm every night and so I decided I would take a quick nap and get dinner then grab a Caipirinha. The room next to me was loud, with two obnoxious girls chatting on the porch very loudly and probably drunk, which sucked because I was trying to get some rest. After a while, they were still loud, so I went to ask if I could change rooms because I knew they weren't going to stop and needed the sleep. Thankfully she was nice enough to switch my room to a quieter room and she also let me borrow her adapter for the different outlet I was unaware about (I previously looked this up and thought my adapter would work, but apparently they only use European outlets in Brazil). I went to get dinner at this fancy restaurant that I didn’t realize was going to be from the reviews, but ordered a sausage and rice dish and tried my first Brazilian cerveza (which I enjoyed) in this quaint expensive spot near my hostel. Then it was time to go get my first/free Caparina! Thankfully the same girl who checked me in was the bartender that night and she made me my first Caparina, which didn’t taste like anything I was expecting and very different than anything I’ve ever tried - very fruity/sugary/sour. I sat alone on my phone and there were other guys around but they only spoke Portuguese and I didn't really feel like socializing so I just chatted with the bartender. Then these two girls walked in and ordered Caipirinhas. Thankfully one of them spoke English, the girl from Holland, and then the other from Columbia. The Danish girl and I talked for a bit about our travels and realized we were both going to Iguazu Waterfalls around the same time so we got excited about possibly meeting up because she was switching hostels the next night (what a coincidence). She also said she would maybe come on the walking tour with me the next day if she wasn’t out too late/hungover since she was going out with the other girl that night. After a few Caipirinhas, I finally went to bed around 10pm after a long 24 hours of traveling (3 flights from Bolivia). Woke up the next morning to a nice buffet breakfast and the Danish girl and I split an Uber to the free walking tour, which was difficult to find at first because the meeting point wasn't very clear. It was a nice walking tour because we had a great guide and we walked around the downtown area for 3 hours and saw the main attractions from the busy streets, restaurants, stairs, statues and churches. The tour ended at the steps where they filmed a music video with Usher and Pharrell (Beautiful) and then we had a buffet lunch with the tour guide at this local restaurant with different types of meats. Then I had booked a ticket to Christ the Redeemer that afternoon so we parted ways as Chantel went to her other hostel which was an hour away and I went to Christ the Redeemer (I ended up meeting up with Chantel that night). As I headed to Christ the Redeemer, I met this couple from Australia in a Starbucks and talked to them about where I should go in Rio. Then it was a lonely yet nice train ride up to Christ the Redeemer. Very touristy and a lot of people trying to get the same pictures. I stayed until it got dark, watched the sunset there and got the last train back. My phone was about to die and there was no Wifi at the bottom so I couldn’t order an Uber. I got a taxi instead and then went to get something quick to eat, such as these Brazilian cheese puffs that are all around downtown and an acai bowl which is very popular there. I was planning to go to bed but then Chantel wanted to go out as she said a group from her hostel was going to Lapa for her birthday, which is this hipster neighborhood so I decided to rally and go out. I’m really happy I did because it was a really fun time. To my surprise, I got a taste of what carnival is kind of like with the drumming and parading in the middle of the streets, drinking caipirinhas and walking/dancing around town - a very lively wild scene! Thankfully one of the girls we were with had worked at this bar/club so she got us in for free and we danced inside and they sang happy birthday to Chantel. The streets were packed with many young people, and there were trapeze dancing in an open window bar. One of the guys they were with was carrying around a bottle of vodka and liter of orange juice as he walked the streets nonchalant. We walked around some more and I was getting tired so ordered an Uber back to my hostel around 2am. I slept in and skipped breakfast, was pretty hungover so just ate snacks, went to Sugarloaf Mountain (viewpoint with cable cars to the top) and had lunch at the top of the second cable car with the most beautiful view of Rio. It took a lot longer than expected (I was planning to go to the beach earlier and meet up with Dev, a Canadian guy I had met with the group of people from Chantel’s hostel the night before) but we ended up meeting up around 4pm at Copacabana beach. We chilled there and ordered some slushy alcohol drinks, got in the cold water, and then some homeless guy wouldn’t leave us alone and actually got up all of a sudden and touched Dev’s leg so we moved to another point on the beach. It was really strange and random but also funny at the same time - didn’t feel in danger but just weirded out. After sunset, we went to get sushi at this more elegant place and then went back to my hostel to get the free Caipirinhas duh! There was a disco night theme going on but no one really partying yet, solely guys on their phones. I went to change/shower and then we met up with Dev’s friend he was visiting with to this area in Rio called Flamingo. Turns out we ended up meeting a gay couple and lesbian couple who invited us to their apt and had a drink there before heading to a gay club right on the beach. It was really packed and crowded with mostly gay men with their shirts off dancing and singing to Lady Gaga, which was a site to see and interesting experience nonetheless. After about an hour I was ready to leave, so ordered an Uber back to my hostel. Slept in really late and barely had time to go to the beach that day but the weather was shitty so I got some pizza and sat and watched some beach volleyball until it started to pour down rain. When it stopped, I decided to go on a run and realized one side of the street was closed so that worked out because everyone was running, biking, skating or rollerblading on the street so it was motivating. I had a really nice run along the beach and went to the end at this point with a big rock and cactus and a nice view of Copacabana beach (some surfers still catching waves). After my run, I showered and met up with Chantel for dinner. We both got a hamburger with sweet potato fries and we were both so tired so I packed up and went to bed early that night. The next day I had an 11am bus to Sao Paulo so I checked out and was on my way, sad to leave Rio but ready for the next adventure.

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