Wednesday, January 14, 2009
29 December 2008
I’m starting to feel like part of the furniture around here. I’ve been here how many days, and yet it feels like weeks. In a really contented ‘gosh I’ve really just slotted in here’ way. New arrivals at the hostel today, a bunch of very cool American chaps from LA, and they’re like,
“Hey it looks like you’ve been here a while, any good places around here to eat/dance/do stuff – what’s the party circuit for tonight?”
Or like when my Brazilian mate who owns the hostel said, “Oh ask Peas, the South African girl. She did that tour the other day.”
Christ, it’s going to be hard to leave.
The Brit girls are unfortunately still lying in bath tubs of yoghurt to ease their sunstroke.
One dude, in his 40s, was running around reception in his underpants this morning. Him and Dad would’ve got on like a house a-blazing.
So I gathered up a bunch of troops, including the new Californians, [who wear aviators inside – hilarious], and we went on a Carioca Tour. (Carioca means ‘Local Rio inhabitant.’)
It’s a one stop bus tour that covers most of the sites and hot spots. Plus a few extras like traipsing through the jungle, which sounded adventurous, or ‘adwenturous’ as the German says.
‘Peas what’s the wibe?’
‘The wibe. For today.’
‘Oh you mean the VIBE.’
….’The vibe…..how about some jungle stuff. You know, we can hire scythes and pretend we’re in Indiana Jones.’
So we headed out to Tijuca National Park – this fuck off beautiful lush tropical forest just outside Rio. The front of our bus said Don’t Be A Gringo, Be A Local.
Walked through the jungle, which was literally steaming and moist…and wet and green…ended up in a cave full of bats and spiders and the tour dude told me with a wink that anacondas DEFINITELY lived in there.
An incredible dichotomy from the world’s sexiest city.
Tourists running amok everywhere, we had to queue to get up Corcovado mountain to see Jesus.Christ, quite literally.
We decided instead to leg it up there in the seering heat, me sinking a giant acai smoothie as we did so, to see Rio’s statuesque icon. (A religious gift from the Portuguese, apparently.)
Hectic. It’s difficult taking pictures with yourself in it. People have to lie down on the floor to get your head in with The Dude in the background.
Great view though.
We meandered through Santa Teresa, the hippie old suburb filled with artists and wall murals and colonial houses, replete with a ‘bonde’ or tram that it is 100 years old and winds its way through the streets. Favelas surround this place, so it’s not safe at night, but it looked great during the day.
Stopped at these stairs which are now famous because they’re plasted with tiles from every country in the world. Exquisite. This Chilean fella – who makes a point of reminding us he is crazy – called Selaron – has made it his lifework. He chills there and tiles and then re-tiles these stairs. What a character. Ended up under Sugarloaf Mountain, but the queues were too adminy to sit through, so instead chilled a bit at Leme Beach just below it – an almost private little oasis filled with minimal Johnson slotters and blue blue waters.
Ended the afternoon with a swim at Copacabana. The waves here are hardcore. If I was a true Vaalie I’d be suffering. Just saying.
Then did a spot of shopping and drank more smoothies and caipirinhas. The hostel is now chokkers; too much fun.