What happened in Rio...

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We landed late with NO bags!  So we informed Varig airline customer service department who logged the problem and told us the bags would be with us ‘some time’ the next day.


We thought while we were at the airport we would go to the other terminal to check on our original flight (that we should have connected onto), only to find out that flight had been delayed and was arriving late in Rio.


We hoped with a slim chance that our bags had made the late flight coming in.  But there was no-one around to ask and the people we flew with said they needed to wait for instructions from the other carrier.


Aaarrgghh Red-tape.  All we wanted was for someone to go and see if there were 2 bags going around on the carousel not being collected from the late flight in with our names on.  We were willing to wait for them!


Again, we were told no staff were available to do this and we would get them sent to us.  So we headed off into the unknown with no bags.


We had been warned and read lots about safety in Rio.  So with the hostel we had booked, we used their pick up service.  Felt a lot safer!  We got to the hostel to find it wasn’t what we really booked, but the bloke on reception was really helpful.


First thing next day we called the airport to see what was going on.  Only to be told Lan Chile had a lot of lost bags to deliver to Rio and that we wouldn’t get them until gone 5pm.


Hhhmmm  nice.  Same clothes, no teeth being brushed for a few hours now!

What the hell lets get out in the sun!  Nice heat here, not humid with a sea breeze and it was their winter.  Need to play by the Rio rules though.  Don’t wear a watch at night, no jewellery and certainly no more money than needed…  We weren’t too happy with the place we had booked so we dropped by a few hotels to see what over the counter deals could be done as we were staying a few nights.  Being their winter time, we found a few nice places offering some great deals.


Anyhow we stopped for something to eat, when a guy started talking to us as he heard us speaking English.  An Albanian man who had lived in England for years and for the last 8 years had lived in Rio.  He had also led an interesting life so we found out!!!  We told him of our plight about the bags and looking for different accommodation, when he said he would help.  Next thing, he’s on the phone to his friends, walking us around to various apartments only to bump into another man in an apartment block who legitimately rents out apartments for tourists usually on a monthly basis, but because it was winter, he was keen to do some business short term.


What a result - we got a 2-bed apartment with kitchen, mod cons etc… and 30 seconds from Copacabana beach for the same price we were paying for the hostel…


So a well deserved beer for the Albanian man called Numy, before we headed back to see if our bags were going to turn up…  A few phone calls later we got a good answer to finally get our bags about 8:30pm that night.  So nice to see a toothbrush and have shower gel!!!


Early next day we checked out and got to our cool apartment!  10 days to have some space, wardrobes ‘n’ things and Rio’s famous beach on the door step.  It sure felt like being on holiday.  So after a quick shop for food we hit the beach with the locals…












Us at the Christ statue

It's 30M tall!































































View from Sugar Loaf

1912 Santa Theresa tram

Ipanema beach




Copacabana beach

Leme beach



Brazil is such a big place (take off Alaska and it’s bigger than the whole of the USA) and because we did the Amazon in Peru and visited the Iguazu Falls in Argentina, we had planned the short time here to catch some rays before the cold of Chile, do the local sights to Rio and stay put for more than two nights. So plenty of running along the sea front in the mornings, eating great fruits with the odd cake thrown in and a start to the tanning, which seemed to be good for my bed bug bites… 


It may be winter here but we’ve seen the temperature signs about, reaching late twenties at 9am in the morning, so god knows what it’s like in the summer!


Typical, the day we had planned to do a day trip to see the Rio sights we woke up to rain.  We waited for our pick up only for them to not turn up.  We were glad in a way as it was now pouring down with heavy rain.  First time since we have been away we have had to use our waterproofs as well.


We re-scheduled our trip for the next day with our fingers crossed for some more sun.  Well we were the only two on the trip for the morning session.  We had a mixture of rain with the odd clear spell thrown in as well.  We got to go up the Sugar Loaf Mountain and we saw the bizarre shaped cathedral and the amazing Christ Statue that Rio is famous for.  It stands 2330M up and the statue itself is 30M tall.  We were lucky at both high points in that the rain stopped and the clouds cleared enough for us to take some photo’s. 


Lunch on this trip was a Brazilian Bar-B-Q.  We had heard about them.  Again vegetarians don’t read.  They come to your table with skewers of bar-b-q’ed meat.  You use a card which is green on one side if you want more or turn it over to red if you want them to stop for a while…  Great food!


We visited the Embassy on Friday morning to see if our bank cards had been delivered.  They wouldn’t tell us that sort of info over the phone, so we went there with everything crossed.  Hooray, they where there and they even worked!


The Friday, Saturday and Monday nights were nights you sure wouldn’t get if being a back packer in a hostel or found in a guide book.


The guy we rented the apartment from (Lucio) is married to Zulema, a mad crazy woman who is full of energy.  To think she’s a doctor as well.  She does the Brazilian Martial Art dancing of Capoira and asked if we wanted to go along with her to a festival night.


Her driving there was scary enough, but then we headed into a favela (slum). She’s been doing this class for years and knows all the locals really well, thank god!  It was great to watch; very acrobatic and graceful with a martial art feel all done to an African drum beat background.  Being a festival there were schools from all over the world there doing their stuff.  Then they had a bit of a knees up in the hall afterwards.


Next night we went out with Numy who did all the walking around with us to find an apartment.  Well he is a guy that loves the night.  He may be 61 but he knows all the bars ‘n’ people that go with them…  He’s also known as the Sheik as he was raised in Egypt!!!  He just says “don’t worry leave it to me.”


He picked us up in a cab with a work colleague who lived in our block and whisked us off to the centre of Rio to a great Samba bar/restaurant.  Lots of great locals in there all smiling, dancing, eating and drinking.  We practised our moves, ate and drank.  Then he whisked us all off in a cab to another local bar of his where the drinks just kept coming.  Then off in a cab again to a place to see the show girls after they had finished the big local Brazilian dance show.  He introduced us to lots of people that night.  He dropped us off at 2am for him to still keep going, to have something to eat then onto another club!!!


Well, still keen to show us more of Rio, Numy said we should all go to the Plataforma dance show, which is held nightly and gives displays of all the different types of Brazilian dancing from the different regions.  He picked us up in a cab again and whisked us off to the show.  Even being a Monday night it was still quite busy with plenty of tourist coaches there.  The show was a bit of a very small taste of what the carnival would be like with all the glamorous costumes and a variety of dance being displayed.  A great show!  We even had our names mentioned.  The compare recognised us with Numy in the audience and when he did the big country welcomes, he had remembered our names from meeting him on Saturday night. 


Afterwards we went over the road to meet some of the cast like on the Saturday night for a drink or two.  Even though this was a school night for Numy he insisted on keep showing us more.  Well he phoned ahead one of his favourite late restaurants to cook a lump of fillet the way he likes it.  Now it’s about 01:00 in the morning and we are eating a melt in your mouth steak and chips.  Still keen to show more of Rio and that area’s mix, he took us to the strip club round the corner, to show that a normal bar can be quite bizarre in what goes on.  After seeing plenty of tits and arse we left him to it!  We said our goodbyes and he paid for the cab to takes us back to our apartment…


From all these nights we met some great Brazilian people from all walks of life, who are really friendly and just seem to smile at everything and enjoy what’s going on.  These people have made us very welcome in Brazil and have said we have to come back to see them again…


Must admit we would love to come back when it’s carnival time now knowing how much time and effort they put into it!!!




Plataforma Show night!


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