Special English edition
01.06.2013 - 05.06.2013 25 °C
After spending the last two months of my life, mostly travelling but also practicing my Spanish, in South America, I managed to squeeze a few days into my itinerary for checking out Rio de Janeiro. The hostel I wanted to stay at was full so I ended up at a hostel in Batafogo, further away from the famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. However, "Stand fast hostel" turned out to be a great choice, best hostel breakfast I have had and very friendly and accommodating staff, I ended up several nights just hanging out and drinking with them. One of them even gave me a tour to the local favela, or communities which their inhabitants prefer to call them, called Santa Marta. In Santa Marta I would have what very well may be the craziest coincidence of my life.
Some famous statue, Wonder of the world #4 of 7 i've seen in the last twelve months
I was a bit sceptical to just walk around in a community without any "protection" since i have heard a lot of things about these places, but my guide Eddy assured me this was no problem. he was right, and i totally agree with him that this is a way better way to see the favelas rather than going in a "safari truck" taking pictures out the window of how the less fortunate reside.
Some time in the 90's "sir" Michael Jackson decided to shoot one of his music videos in the Santa Marta community, he is now "forever" living in these hills of Rio in the shape of a statue and a mosaic mural. I tried out my dance moves and added a new pose to my repertoire.
Me and "MJ" at a viewpoint in Santa Marta community.
Eventually it started raining heavily so me and Eddy started our descent to "safer" areas. It was just outside the community I would meet someone I hadn't met in a long time. Since the rain now was pouring from the skies, me and Eddy decided to take shelter under a roof, he started to chat with another local who also was hiding from the harsh weather while I took pictures and tried my best to keep my feet dry. After a Few minutes another guide and tourist joined us under the roof which by now was becoming quite crowded. It turned out that the other tourist was a guy that I went to school with nine years ago at "Østersund ungdomsskole", and I don't think I had seen him since. Coming from a place with only 10 000 inhabitants the odds for this happening must be sky high.
With the World Cup being set in Brasil next year, the Maracanã stadium has been under "refurbishing" for quite some time citation needed. Luckily, the first official match ever to be played on the refurbished stadium occurred during my short stay in Rio. I joined forces with Greg, a guy with a strangely big interest in football for a Canadian, and set out to inagurate the stadium along with the 78 000 other visitors that day.
Twe two four-eyes excited for the match.
After a few mandatory beers just outside the 500 meter "no beer" perimeter around the stadium we were ready to enjoy the friendly match between Brazil and England. I found it strange that Bale wasn't playing until someone told me he was from Wales, then I felt embarrassed. After a goleless first episode, the second half of the match would be much more exciting with a total of four goals, two for each side.
Maracanã stadium, go match.
The main reason I decided to go to Rio was for the opportunity to rock climb the face of Corcovado mountain, the home of the famous statue of some guy who they said lived a long time ago. Sadly, the weather in Rio the last few days didn't allow me to go there since the route takes forever to dry. In stead I set out with Andrew to climb the second most famous mountain in Rio, Sugarloaf. On the day of the climb it turned out that also this mountain was too wet, we then climbed one of the neighbouring mountains in stead. A three pitch route guided us up to about 100 meters, even though this was not nearly as much as the 250 meters up to Sugarloaf, the view of Rio was quite nice and I had a great time climbing again
Literally hanging around in the sugarloaf area. I realised that my respect of heights is the same as any other person's maybe it was just as well I didn't do Corcovado.
My visit to Rio concluded with a few drinks with my previous school mate before I took an expensive flight to Sao Paolo and then Johannesburg, now Beijing awaits with another G adventures trip to Hong Kong
- Use the metro to get around in Rio, it is perfectly safe and quite cheap, refillable cards are given out for free
- Ask the people in the communities before you take pictures of them, they are just going about their daily business and aren't there for you to take pictures of them
- Getting up to Sugarloaf and Corcovado is relatively pricy, it's not with doing on a foggy day as you won't see anything