Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Rio part two - the best city ever ;)
Rio is simply gorgeous, the white sand beaches, filled with beautiful people, surrounded by mountains for lush rain forest, plus the fact that you can walk without shoes (and your bathing suite on) anywhere in this city makes it my favorite on this planet yet.
I checked myself into a hostel in Ipanema for the last week and am thrilled to say it has my best week ever. Since it has been about 4 weeks ago and the fact that I am writing this at 4:30 in the morning (due to a heavy snorer in my Auckland hostel), things will be bit less accurate ... but more fun in this post:)
Going to the beach is serious business in Brazil. Not serious in the sense Germans use it, but more in terms of importance. It's part of the culture (and backed up by facts, since Brazil has been blessed with enormous amounts of amazing beaches, most of the population lives close to the beach ... I can make up some stats: like 85% live within 30 miles of the beach :))
This said, the beach has a life of it's own. Everything is right there: chairs, drinks, food, art, music ... and lot's and lot's of people.
Coca Cabana is the most famous beach and similar to Ipanema filled with beautiful people. However it was about 30 minutes walk for me and not worth the extra energy, considering Ipanema beach no.9 right in front of my door. All beaches are, in a way, separated or dedicated. One part of the beach for families, one for artists, one for the young, one for the gays - all numbered ... however, no one would ever see a difference while looking at the stream of people lining the seemingly endless beaches (only when you read your guidebook, you find out about the differences -no.9 the younger crowd:)
Once you arrive you have the option of renting a chair and umbrella for about 7 $R ($3) all day, which I discovered to be much more luxuries and comfortable than having to use your travel towel, which guarantees you being sandy for most of your stay. The beach life is organized in a manner that let's you stay put in your chair all day long - if you'd like. A steady stream of vendors will offer anythings from grilled cheese on a stick (on of my favorites), to beer or soda, ice cream to art, ear rings or other useless things you don't need, but look at anyways, since you are in such a good mood.
Rio's beaches can also be intimidating ... the people are really gorgeous, and with a fragile ego (as some women have), it's hard to resist the urge to not run back into a gym or get butt implants the next day. I managed to accept the fact that Brazilian women were simply blessed by god, and focused my attention to their counterparts...
You might already know by now what I ended up doing the last week in Rio. Yes. ok. so i did - turned into a Beach Bunny and even developed a routine. A must in Rio is Acai - an amazon fruit which is supposedly so good for you that it makes you look decades younger, just by consuming it for a week! Ok, not quiet, but healthy and very yummy, I always started my way to the beach by stopping at one of the many fruit juice places ... just ask for no azugar ... the Brazilians love their sugar (too much even for my taste!). Chair and umbrella a must. Meet your friends. Get into the water twice. Enjoy the views on the beach until the sun goes down.
The night life in Rio is great as well - of course. One can go out and get drunk any day of the week. My favorite was a gay club me and the ladies visited, called El Boy. A def. must for the girls ... and negotiate the price. Guys get in for free, but girls are supposed to pay 100 $R ($50), which you can get down to 30 R$ ($15), if you bring a tipsy friend that does not have the funds available, but really wants to get in. Absultuley worth it, even if you end up going home by yourself :)
I managed to make it downtown Rio for one day, but can not say that I was overly impressed (max. 3 hours needed). The same day me and two girls also tried to find the steps from Snoop Dogs Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFfb_CwBma0
Thinking it was in Santa Teresa we took the trolley up the mountain of this artist district of Rio. Wandering about for a good hour and asking a few people for the name of the steps didn't get us anywhere ... however, once we asked a women (in her 20's) about the Snoop Dog Video a knowing look told us we had found the right person to ask. She walked us a good 20 minutes to them (into the not so good part in town) and told us more about the culture: Brazilian are said to be so happy all the time, because they don't have any history (meaning their independence came without shedding any blood and no big wars or cruel dictators ruled this country). Also the women look so good because of the strong African heritage and the fact that they dance samba starting at 5 :) Beatrice was the perfect example of Brazil - she is a dancer and Fitness coach, blond and blue eyed and extremely nice to visitors look for the a silly place :)
All in all, Rio is simply amazing. Yes, one should be smart about where and when to go. Even though I had a great and very safe time in South America, it can be dangerous. Understandable so, due to the poverty that still exists in many of these countries. However, the people are incredible friendly and the country is simply beautiful.