After the time in the semi jungle, I was visiting one of the biggest cities on the planet, felt like a child again and found new friends.
The thing with the mini buses
Again having slept very little, we decided to take the tour to the Christ The Redeemer statue right after we arrived in Rio de Janeiro early in the morning. We took the public bus to the bottom of the mountain and had in mind to walk to the top. When we arrived there we were even more tired and went with one of the mini buses instead of taking the 2.5 hour hiking trip. At the first stop we realized that this whole thing might have been a mistake. I am not too fond of all those "must see" tourist places and time and time again it seems that this feeling is being strengthened by new evidence. Also on this day. The first stop was not the start of a 15 minutes walk to the statue as we expected, it was rather a place to queue up for the second mini bus that would take us to the top. The place was already packed with people and the sun was burning down relentlessly with its purifying beauty. A fleshy snake of sweaty tourists slowly ground its way towards the endless stream of buses that just stopped to take on a new load of people. Finally we arrived at the statue and there we found another queue of people that wanted to take one of the cars down again but this did not concern us at that moment and we were happy to be there. The place was so prepared for tourists that we did not even have to walk up any stairs, we could just take the escalator directly to the statue almost without moving our feet. Standing there in the sun, surrounded by what felt like one thousand individuals, I realized that I would much rather be somewhere on the beach in the water. We took some pictures and went down again. This time we kind of forced ourselves past the guards and went back on foot because we did not want to spend another minute in one of those air conditioned ice boxes. On the way back to the hostel we took the wrong bus and got an almost free city tour as the one we took was going on a round trip through a big part of Rio.
A city going crazy
After refilling our batteries with a few hours of sleep and home made pizza, we went out to see the finals of the Carnival in Rio. It was amazing to see a whole city going crazy and watching the samba schools awesomely prepared choreographies. The guy at the hostel reception told us that there were around 3 million people on this one nights party. One of these choreographies lasted about an hour and had five or six decorated vehicles and dozens of dancers in flashy costumes. Unfortunately I left my camera at the hostel as we got warned before not to bring any valuables. This turned out to be a false warning as everyone there was very friendly and busy with dancing their butts of to the sound of song prepared by the samba school.
Making new friends
We booked our accommodation for Rio in quite a hurry and where very happy to find out that he El Misti house, that was located almost directly at the Copacabana Beach, was a very nice and friendly hostel. Being greeted with a ice cold Caipirinha, I got to talk with the bar man, Chris, who has the gift to create cocktails that taste like a sip of heaven. He lives what I find to be an exciting and seemingly easy live, travelling from country to country and taking up jobs as bar man. I was a bit astonished when so many people told is that Rio can be very dangerous, especially after midnight, because I found people there to be very friendly and helpful. We stayed out late every night and never had any problems. Also compared to the other cities of Brazil that I have seen so far, a lot of people can communicate in english and are quite happy to do that. So I got approached by a few people on the metro, who seemed to be quite eager to improve their english and told us some places that we should check out. When we made our way to the Copacabana Beach on the second day, I found myself being a child again. It was so much fun to jump into the breaking weaves that would just take you and whirl you around in the water. The feeling of this natural force that steadily comes up the shore and tries to smash everything in its way is just overwhelming and I think I could spend a few days just playing in the sea. Having so much fun in the water, the last day in Rio was even better, because we went to Ipanema Beach and this time we had gorgeous company. Sofia, who got to know at Chris' cocktail booth, came with us to the beach as she had booked the same flight back from Rio to Salvador. Seeing her swimming, smiling and jumping around in the water like a little dolphin, I think that she had almost more fun in the weaves and this fun was very infectious.
One night in Salvador
On the same evening we caught our plane exactly on time as we had spent the whole afternoon in the water and did not hurry packing our bags back at the hostel and when we arrived in Salvador, we were still in the mood for something to happen. Even the crazy finnish princess decided to stay with the 5 austrians to have a drink or two in the heart of the city.
It is nice to see that some of the things that I set out to learn on this trip are already taking hold in my mind and I feel much more relaxed and open to new things than when I set out for this trip.
The time had come that 3 of the guys had to go back to austria, Sofia's plane left the next morning and Philippe and me are making our way north to check out some of the nicest beaches. I had an awesome time with you all and I am sure that I will soon miss you!