Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Day 1 - Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, meaning river of January, is quite simply the most bizarre and crazy city I have ever visited. Granted I am not the most well travelled of souls but from the moment you step out the airport you will be greeted with a menagerie of rushed Portuguese, construction work noise, countless horns beeping and people coming at you in every different direction. To put it plainly; an assault on your senses. As we took the Onibus from the airport in the direction of Copacabana it is clear to see that this city, in all its beauty, is one that is moving at a lightning speed many will struggle to keep up with. Buildings are being put up faster than you can say the word "vamos" thanks to the 2016 Olympics just around the corner whilst the older buildings are left to decay with peeling decor as their exterior face. What's more, the government seem to know it. The walls are plastered in posters asking "please ignore the mess, we are building a new city"!! whilst grafitti across the city shout "Fifa go home."

In light of all this, this city in the seventh biggest economy in the world, is quite literally booming with life from all corners of the globe. It is hard to pin down exactly what a "typical Brazilian" looks like thanks to their varied history but they certainly live up to the stereotype: passionate and loud with not an inch of self doubt. And it's not just the people who made a good first impression. Behind our hostel we came across a park which lead to an overgrown jungle trail. Hiking as far as my flip flops would allow we were joined by a group of tiny Marmoset monkeys (and yes I only know that after an expensive Google search). Darting through the trees and hopping from branch to branch it was like the Brazilian version of spotting a squirrel running through a British wood and a really amazing experience to see these wild animals up close. 
After a tasty and relatively cheap tea of steak and scrambled egg with Manioc, a Brazilian condiment with a floury texture, we headed back to the hostel and as I sit and write this, I think bedtime is fast approaching. Almost 20 hours of travelling with two flights, one almost missed connection and several mad dashes through airports, this is one weary first time traveller. Boa noite!