Country Brazil | Dates April 29 – May 2 | Accommodation Discovery Hostel
Upon arrival in Rio, we got terrified due to so many warnings and shoved our valuables into our bras in large chunks for safety. Gripping our bags we got a taxi to our hostel and arrived without much fear. Our room had bunks 3 levels high (!), which also looked like cribs and were dangerous to climb. The hostel overall was great, albeit very social.
We went to a street party in front of our hostel, with people dancing, live samba, and tons of vendors selling homemade food and beers.
Christ the Redeemer
We skipped the free breakfast (hard decision) and left early to see the statue of Cristo. We took the metro with minimal items in hand, my camera was safely concealed in my headband behind my hair (genius idea). Our early starit paid off, and we were the second people in the tour office at Largo du Machato. Once we arrived we made our way to the front of the statue to imitate the pose alongside other tourists.
Copacabana & Ipanema
We walked the entire beach, with vendors selling caipirinhas of all sizes from sketchy plastic bottles (unsanitary). Also they sold beach chairs, plastic toys, and random, largely-sized bathing suits. Guys were also carrying small oven things where some square unknown item was placed inside to cook.
At Ipanema we got an unsanitary caipirinha and shared it on the beach, both getting hammered from 1/2 cocktail because it was very strong and also we hadn’t eaten a real meal in days. I removed my skirt (spandex beneath – don’t fear!) and we used it as a towel. Sarah got random sunburn. Then we became deranged and headed back, passing out hardcore on the beds and missed sunset we had planned to see.
Escadaria Selarón (Lapa Steps)
Instead we went to the Escadaria Selarón, mosaic-ed steps that are beautiful and iconic, pieced together in yellow, red, green and blue. We trekked up, keeping our wits about us as a fellow hostel-goer told of an alleged knifing in this area in daylight. We put safety first (no bags whatsoever, watched for USC – unsavory characters) and it was fine. Very awesome area, too. Grimey and full of street art, with many sketchy individuals on the street selling things and milling about it was interesting to see.
We looked for a recommended dinner spot in this neighborhood, but on arrival realized it was Italian which is NOT AUTHENTIC and unacceptable. We had not eaten since 7am so we were weak and dying, and choose a random meat place. My pastel and empada was great, while Sarah’s meat sandwich was not ideal. For drinks, Chopp beers (not in budget) that came with regret. We walked back past the many homeless people selling very random goods on sheets along the road – phone chargers, used toothpaste, stuffed animals, mismatched shoes, clothing, photos, anything you could image. I do not know where it comes from or who buys it, but these “vendors” were all around the city.
No photos because we did not carry bags or phones. We carried money in our bras in FlowFold wallet!
Prada del Sol | We joined people from our hostel at a local party in the street, Prada del Sol, with live Samba music. The street was PACKED with thousands of people, so crowded you could not move. More caipirinhas out of dirty plastic and beers were sold. We grabbed drinks and got a spot near the music among the people and graffiti and filth-lined streets of the square. Here we conversed with a nice local girl, then continued on to a local samba bar. Honestly we wanted to go home at this point but were scared to take a cab alone and advised not to.
Botequim Vaca Atolada | We went to an awesome local samba bar, with a hole-in-the-wall feel and musicians right in the middle of the floor playing loudly. All around them, people showcased literally amazing dancing skills. Paper signs hung around the bar displaying items for sale and pricing, and it was so packed with sweaty revelers you could barely move. The hostel man showed us the steps and we practiced our own moves. Then, we played another favorite travel game and made a bet about how long until our two hostel cohorts made out (my sister won with her guess of 20 minutes, as it happened at 22). Eventually we got tired and took the cab back alone, making it safely. Thank god, as our “friends” did not arrive back until 8am the next day.