A Travellerspoint blog


We dont like Samba oh no, We love it!

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Well today was the day that every man,woman and child in Rio lives for, the first day of competition amongst the big name samba schools at the sambadrome. To the Brazillian people this is bigger than the superbowl is to the yanks, bigger than the afl grandfinal to melbournians, greater than cricket is to the sub-continent. And to think we were lucky enough to have tickets in sector 7 a prime view which came at an equally elite price. Offcourse not as high a price as the people in the Vip covered boxes in sector two who paid in excess of USD2000 for an all inclusive extraviganser that includer samba dancer at their seats.

I wont comment to much on the early part of our day as it pails in comparison to the spectical of the sambradome. But i will mention that as I walked around Ipanema early afternoon there was a buzz in the crowd which had quadtrippled in numbers since our arrival last week. There was an increase in outragous costumes and even more piss on the sidewalks, and I dont meen beer.

I intended on taking a nap before we ventured into the sambadrome but couldn´t in the end as there was too much happening outside the hotel. Men dressed in drag, Markets, Music and overall madness and mahem. At about 5pm I was beggining to feel a bit out of place as it seemed every one on the street had an outfit. I ventured through the market but nothing really caught my eye. So i made my way back to get ready for the nights main event. Whilst Wes and SA were lounging in room 208 contemplating on joining us tonight a zany idea crossed my mind, why not where a skirt to the Carnaval. After all it was Rio. So i quickly ramaged through Harsh´s backpack, the first number i tried on was a classy wrap around which gained the approval of my room mates. However I was not all that convinced, so I ventured even further into the backpack and found a perfect little number. Rainbow coloured halterneck with matching skirt with sequens to go. Perfect!!! Well not exactly because Harsh was not all that impressed as apparently this was the outfit she planned to where for the night. However, Wes and Sa unanimously voted in favour for me to take the honours. Even Wes got in spirit and threw on a Little bikini skirt combo. Hey what happens in Rio Stays in Rio, after this was the norm in Ipanema.

The train ride to the sambradome was crazy, young boys were standing on the seats chanting and trying to gain attention of the girls in the next carriage. The western tourist were cringing as the train got quite crowed and increasingly louder. I was trying my hardest not do a sharone stone in my skirt. Are Centro Station We finally arrived.

A quick walk across the road and we were there. The ticketing system was similar to the tennis centre back home all automated and swift. Harsh boldly went down to the first row and secured two spots despite us getting there later than we planned. This was great as it ment we would have an full panoramic view of the parade. I couldnt wait for 9pm to arrive and the first school to perform. The crowd was chockers not an empty piece of concreate in the bleachers, ushers handed out all sorts of goodies, from Condoms,programs to even a funny shapped cardboard cone for the ladies to Pee standing up. I thought to myself this could come in handy when I had to use the ladies later.

Just a little after 9pm the anouncer opened the proceedings, fireworks followed and we were off, Império Serrano was first cab off the rank. I was pumped I wanted to capture this phenomena for the people back at home, I quickly reached for my video camera, pressed the on button only to be met with the fact that I had charged the battery early that day and haphazardly put the cam in the bag without attaching the battery. Could you believe it the one thing I bought the video camera for in this whole trip and I F&Cked it up. Sorry boys there will not be any zoom on the scantally clad dancers. But hey its Carnaval and it did not halter our festive mood, we did have still camera´s.

We could not believe the amount of work that had gone into the production, from elaborate floats, to the Collideoscope of colourful outfits and offcourse the customory topless sambadancers. The schools had worked since last years carnaval just for this 90 minute performance. Yes thats right each school made thereway from sector 3 right through to sector 13 dancing to their looped theme song. By the end of the performance it was hard not to get up your self and mouthing the anthem yourself. Thats exactly what the locals were doing, armed with the program that listed the lyrics even grown macho men were in sync belting out support for escola´s like grande Rio and beija-flor. That was the beauty of the parade evry one was passionate an into it. Even the cleaners that mopped up after each performance danced along the way snapping there heals. One guy was so good he did countless encores for the adoring public and lapped up his 15minuted of fame.

The fans were so passionate that despite Harsh and myself getting front row seats the people two rows behind us decided that the railing in front of us was theirs and plonked themselves standing smack bang in front of us. After a slightly heated exchange in Engloguese we came to a compromise.
Next time we will have to get the VIP seats in sector 2, none of these jossling for views. Just rock up and eat and drink as you want,close to the action, samba dancers at your lap and your own box. However at USD2000 a ticket it may be a tad out of our budget.

Despite the performance of each team lasting for a staggering 75-90 Minutes we remained engaged through out the night. I was a bit tired due to not taking my seista in the afternoon but wanted to stay atleast for an event favourite Beija-Flor. After the first two schools performed it was a little before midnight with 4 to go. I made my way up the stairs through the crowd to meet Check if Wes and SA had made it to the event. I was supposed to meet them outside the front of Sector 7. It was hectice weaving through the crowd that had by now even occupied the stairs, what was even more tough was climbing the stairs with this tight skirt making sure I did not give an upskirt of my rio underwear.
There was no sight of Wes and SA so I decided this was good time for a quick toilet break. But which one should I go to with this outfit "senhoras or senhores". I decided on the gents, it was a going to be a battle hiking my skirt up so I went the cubical option, there was many strange looks when i came out. The sambradome was not as open minded as the gay section of Impanema I realised. As soon as I returned to my seat I needed to reasure the crowd of my masculinity and tried to land one on Shetty but she did not want anything to do with it and was quite amused at my prodicament.

Well 4 schools had passed the time was just pushing past 4am and there was an Air of anticipation as the promotional staff of beija-Flor canvased the sambrodome hurling Free t-Shirts and flags of their team into the stands. This was clearly a professional outfit with big financial backing.

The wait was worth it as they failed to disappoint right from the get go, the formations was picture perfect, costumes an immaculate fusion of all things colourful it was clear why they had won 4 times in the last 5 years. The floats were as Wes would say "Ridiculous" and their discipline was obvious. The 4 teams we had seen in comparison faded into a distant memory. Both Harsh and I stood in Awe as this massive production penetrated the sambradome like a well oiled machine. The only major disappointment was that our digital camera´s had simultaneously started to display limited battery so we had to ration the photo´s. But we did manage to get a few in. We both looked at each at the end of the performance and decided we would not look at the last act as we wanted to finish off on a high. Kind of like when you go to a buffet and find a dish that is so perfect that you don´t want to ruin the taste by finishing with any thing else.
The time was now almost 6am and we made our way back to the entrance, a place where you had a mix of the crowd, vendors and performers all mingling. The western tourists who had performed in the parade were lapping it up as locals posed to take photo´s with them. But I did not come to Brazil to take a phot with a tourist. We came here for the real thing. As I Mentioned before the still camera´s had limited battery, so potentially we had 2-3 photo´s left. We wanted to secure a shot with a decent speciment, as the performers walked past I actually screened a few due to the battery shortage and then luckily managed to get a photo with one showgirl.
Harsh was getting frustrated as there seemed to be a shortage of hotmale dancers walking in the ground level. So she settle for a female photo. But as we left the sambradome she stumbled on this fiiiine guy just before the train station to cap off what was a great night.

Damn we reached ipanema at 7am on the next morning all samba´d out. What a night We hope Beija-Flor win they were great, the winner will be announced in a few days, after tomorrow nights second group of 6 special schools.

Posted by HonestAnth 01:26 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

Soccer at Maracanã Stadium.

An event bigger than the actual event !!

After a big night, I was gone. Anth still got up pretty early today to buy the soccer tickets that we were researching for the last couple of days. We got tickets to the semi final between Flamengo and Resende. Flamengo was the home team. We were pretty psyched to watch a soccer game with the locals. Our pick up from the hotel was at 13.50. Just before we left Anth had a loose motion. Sorry to specify but its part of the story. So he took the medicine from the bowel kit. We got into our bus and Anthony started to feel very sick and I frantically went looking for a plastic bag for him to vomit in. I nearly ripped this plastic bag which was on the head rest. The driver of mini bus quickly gave me a plastic bag and as soon as I gave it to Anth he just started spuing and stank the bus up. The people in the bus were pretty nice, they didn’t say anything. The driver gave us another bag just incase and Anth left it in his pocket.

After that he felt alright and we were on our way to Maracanã Stadium. It was a very hot day.
Anth was alright by now as I gave him some crackers to eat. The game started with so much drama in the first couple of minutes. This stadium was half full and the amount of noise these people were making was just unbelievable. The noise would nearly beat a full house footy crowd. I am not exaggerating!
Resende hit the first goal. Anth is starting to feel claustrophobic, so we moved away from the crowd and the noise so he could breathe some fresh air. After a while he told me he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to lie down. As he was feeling very weak I was helping him up the steps and don’t know what happened and he started to puke again. The second bag came in handy here. I wanted to tape this for the crowd at home as I thought he was puking because of too many Caipirinhas last night. But I got a bit worried as his puke was pink but then I realized that baroca pink flavour before we left so I continued taping. But this time he didn’t get up and feel ok like the first time He did feel really weak so I had through the puke bag away and find him place to sit. After sitting for a while he started feeling better. By this time an English speaking volunteer came and asked us if we needed help. The volunteer said its better if we just get him checked by a paramedic. That sounded like a good idea anth didn’t want to go but ended up being walked by two guys one either side. I just couldn’t resist getting this on camera. Don’t worry Aunty I was helping him first. I cant put it into words. I will upload pics and videos of this event. Yes it was a bigger event than the actual soccer game.
We get to the paramedics through this band and the way people were being moved away, like this English speaking volunteer and this other massive guy were his body guards and Anth is David Beckham walking through the crowd. I don’t think even the video does justice to the whole thing.

The paramedics checked him up, gave two shots one on each shoulder and prescribed some meds. I couldn’t get the second shot on tape which was the painful one of the two as I had to get water for the GOLDEN CHILD as he had finished the first bottle.
He rested in the paramedic´s bus for a while and as there wasn’t enough space in the bus I just waited outside and watched the game for a little while. We then made our way to the exit couple of minutes before the game finished as he wouldn’t have felt comfortable walking through the crowd.
We then were dropped back near our hotel in a coach that was high on carnaval, both driver and tourguide were dancing and singing the wholeway back. We had to walk a couple of blocks as the roads were blocked due to the street party.
This pic is of the guide
Oh Resende won 3-1.

Going to the Sambadrome tommorrow night. Anthony wont be going out to this street party tonight as he has to rest up and be ok for tomorrow. Cse if he aint coming I am on the bus to get to the Carnival. So he better rest !

Posted by Harshu 20:27 Archived in Brazil Comments (3)

Ipanema, Copacabanna and in between it´s all a blur

Well in the last few days it has been hard to consistently write or get to the PC to update. The crowds here in Ipanema has considerabily increased as the carnaval is fast approaching. Our days have mainly consistented of morning jogs, beach during the day and partying in the countless street parties throughout the night.

18th Feb
My self and Harsh did a quite stroll along the beaches of Ipanema and Copa,nothing much to report there apart from amazingly defined bodies on the gay guysa and crazy asses on the women. There is even an outdoor gym that overlooks the beach where you can sneak in a few reps incase you loose your pump-Imagine the Pleasure.
We have found a few good restaurents here which we have frequented daily. The first one is an pay by the kilo buffet. I must say the food is fantastic, the freshest salads, great variety of seafood and meats and also the famous juices. We were a bit skeptical about the whole weight thing especially as the plates seemed heavy, but were re-assured when the scales subtracted the weight of the plate before measuring. All in all we have a well rounded buffet for about 15Real=8-9AUD.

Another place we have taken a liking to is a Juice bar & snack bar, that has a massive crowd each day but manages to serve our meals within 5 minutes with out fail. not sure how they do it but the food is cheap and the juices amazing. You can tell why the brazillians look so good. Because in Chile there was hardly salads, just empanada´s and Pisco. Here there is Juice and salads and yogurt.

19th Feb

Are apartment got new visitors on the thursday, yes Wesly and his girlfriend Mairaid(SA) joined us after their trip to the amazon. It was lucky we were there to greet them as we had planned a trip to the jesus statue on the day but had cancelled last minute. We did not waist anytime cracking open the Leblon cachaca I had purchased for 25US in the aiport. After a few caiphinaras we were off to the beach, where we hired a beach umbrella and sipped on more caiphinaras, Cos that is what we do!!! Today amazingly was the first time we jumped into the water,which was suprisingly cooler than I expected, the waves were pretty strong as Wes and my self discovered when we drifted about 25 meters away from our brolley with 2 minutes. Later that night we went on a wild goose chase to find a crazy rio party, the taxi driver drove us for 30 minutes somewhere and then told us he did not know where he was so we quickly decided to come back and even though the meter read 90 real he charged us for on 45 due to his error. Wes and I went out to Copa later on that night, the girls rested when we returned were met with a familiar issue that has been re-occuring in the apartment. When people sleep they can´t hear the bell or the door knocking. So Wes and I slept about 1 hour outside the apartment and only by chance did Harsh hear us whilst going to the bathroom. We really need a duplicate key as this has happened about 3 times atleast.

So where are we, thats right friday the first night of Carnival. The crowds have doubled again. Myself and wesly went for a walk down to copa were we bumped into Luigi an Italian Expat who was carrying large Costumes from his car to a hotel. Ever the opportunist we enquired about whether we could get in on the action, replied in his half english half portugese and half italian accent, "Yeaoos ! you can be in the parade" he told us we can purchase outfits and dance with the best samb school for about $400AUD each. We are still undecided on this as we are only one and half weeks into the trip and need to monitor spending. But it will make for a great blog entry.

Later that evening Harsh and I canned our plans on going to the sugar loaf mountain for sunset and a samba school show as Wes and I got late after meeting Luigi. But We did not miss out on much as there was a streetparty or Bloco as they call it here just outside our hotel. The music was pumping and there is a growing number of weird outfits parading around. I have never seen so many Gays and Lesbians in one place, well Lesbians anyway as I did work at optus remember.

Anyway back to the street party, it was crazy it was not uncommon to see guys just approach girls and try and sneak one in `as my uncle Len would say`infact a few guys did corner harsh a few times and try and kiss her, armed with a few drinks under my belt I suprisingly pushed a guy out of the way. Usually I am a lover not a fighter.

It seemed we had caught the end of it but not to worry when one finishes the another one begins elsewhere, so we asked the locals where to go and LAPA was the place to be apparently. So off to Lapa by cab. It was packed to the brim every primary sense was covered. The sounds of samba, sights and feel of caramel semi naked bodies around you,the taste of Churrusco and Caiphinara´s and off course the familiar smell of urine from every direction. Yes thats right not many toilets and shit loads of people and alcohol can only mean one thing. But hey its Carnaval, get into and boy we did.
Wesly and Harsh were quick to get close to the samba band which was play from aboard a large truck and it seemed both Harsh and Wes were in a dream where they could speak any language, only this time it was not languages it seemed that all of a sudden their body had learnt the samba. I though Harsh was qoing to do an ankle dancing on the uneven pebble stone high gradiant streets of Lapa.
Once the band stop we walked up to another area in Lapa and Harsh congrigated arounf 5 hot bodied guys and seemed she was getting a bit smitten with them from a far. Yes they were teaching her samba and seemed awefully close to her but my concerns were unneccesary as when I approached them bare bodies(thats it the norm so when in RIO) they seemed to be more interested in me and Wes than Harsh. Infact they were so dispointed me when I was hugging Harsh and not Wes. I will post pictures soon. About 3am Wes,myself and SA had had enough way to many vodka and lemonades which we had premixed in the apartment.

I was feeling worse for wear. But Harsh continued on in Lapa with a few english girlfriends of SA´s till 5am against my beter judgement. She tells me that the locals were getting a bit too close but as there was about 6 girls they were able to gain strength in numbers. I had to go to bed as we were going to attend a soccer game the next day.

Posted by HonestAnth 20:01 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Rio Baby

Sun,Babes,Hunks and did I mention Ass

Well today saw us reach a pivitol destination in our trip, that´s right the title city of this blog ‘Rio de Janeiro’.

After waking up early in the hostel trying not to disturb the english girl and American boy(BTW this time it was harsh´s turn to see some action as american boy guy was parading unnessarily in his bonds attire) we boarded an early flight from BA with AirPluna to Brazil, with a short stop over in uruguay.

The airport in Montevideo airport was chilled we grabbed a tuna salad sandwhich from a menu a which had familiar sandwich options to the rest of south america so far( Ham, Cheese, Ham & Cheese, Cheese & Ham, Combo, which is ham,cheese Mayo). Afte that it was off to Rio.

Rio´s Landscape on landing was destintly more green and hilly than the other cities we had arrived at, the customs was relaxed and seemless. After picking up some leblon cachaca and vodka at the duty free we took an airport bus to our apartment via the city and copacabana. We were advised to take a taxi for 50 real but the 7 real bus was awefully tempting. It also gave us a good view of the streets of rio before we reached our hotel.

It was clear there was a lot more poverty here than our other destinations thus far jusging from the drive from the airport. What was also visable though distant was the statue of Christ the redeemer. I hear they blindfold it during carnaval to cover the sins and judging from all that bare ass we saw on the sands of copacabana thats a good thing. Yes thats right copacabana from our vantage point on the bus was jam packed with G-strings and speedos, I am glad I bought the extra memory card.

The bus dropped us off about 200 meters from our hotel, which was a bit daunting at the start a we had two backpacks, two day packs and 3 bottles of alcohol to carry. But as we got off the anxiety eased as we got closer to the hotel. Ipanema Palace our home for the next 8 days, first impressions were good again, helpful staff at the front desk, two swimming pools, dodgey gym and clean apartment. Could not ask for more as it was only about 150 meters away from Ipanema beach which was our first stop after checkin.

The first thing that hit´s you in Ipanema is the ripped bodies, probably more defined guys than girls, maybe I accidently booked us closer to the gay section. Never the less every one seemed to be health fantatics. Heart rate moniters, chin up and dip bars, volley ball and soccer games filled the strip. Bodies of all shapes and sizes lathered in oil were the norm. Street vendors served up strong caipereena´s and snacks for next to nothing. We indulged in a few before heading out for the night.

Our first stop was disappointing, an irish style pub shannanigans close to the apartment. We should have known better, felt like I was at bridie o´reillys in Melbourne rather than Rio. We quickly got out of there and on the bouncers advice headed to "the house" in Leblon. This place was better, a long queue awaited us, a cover charge of 40 real greeted me but not Harsh. Atleast I got 30 back in drinks. The live brazillian music was refreshing, our first taste of the drumbeats in rio although I would have preferred more locals than travellers. But atleast we got to hear " Creuuuuu" a song that we had already taken a liking to in Melbourne.

Hopefully tomorrow we will get a more authentic experience rather than one made for western pallettes.

Posted by HonestAnth 20:06 Archived in Brazil Comments (2)

Wierd times in Buenos Aires

After a long night´s sleep on our business class bus seats we arrive in Buenos Aires at about 8 am in the morning. It was a pretty smooth run. We were supposed to get to Seanz Pena station where our hostel was. So we got directions from locals to get to the station. We had no Argentinean currency on us, as Anthony was going to exchange money on the bus terminal but couldn’t and was keen on finding an ATM in the train station when walking past one in the bus terminal (typical). We got to the train station and there was no ATMs in sight. We were stuffed. The train ticket to get to Seanz Pena station was $2 (pesos).Luckily I had $2 (pesos) in my pocket and we were relieved that we didn’t have to run back to the bus terminal with our backpacks. So we get the tickets and we are on our way to our hostel. We thought that was it, drama finished. But nnnnnooooooooooo !!!! its Anto and Harsh. We get off at Seanz Pena station and were a bit disappointed thinking this is our first dodge hostel.

After wandering around like idiots we spoke to this lady who didn’t speak a word of English, and she was trying to tell us that this is not the right place. We didn’t believe her at first as we were on Seanz Pena station. We thought we will just call the hostel and ask them. We had 3 phones on us and all dead. Finally we manage to call the hostel and the guy told us, that there is another Seanz Pena in the city and that’s where we were supposed to go. So we had to take a train back and catch another train. Now we didn’t have any money on us. So I waited in the station with the bags and Anthony went to get money. To put it in perspective we should have just got in a city loop train from Flinders to get to parliament but we took a dandenong train, got to Caulfield and back to Flinders and then a train to Parliament and all of this with no food in us for over 15 hours and about 20 kg of bags on each of us. But is was an experience. |Got to see the local area of B.A.

We got to the right Seanz Pena and to our hostel. Our hostel was great, in the heart of the city, great location. We went for a walk in the city and then for a workout in the park which was not even 2 minutes to get to.

After the work out we had a couple of drinks with this Canadian girl form the hostel. She was telling us her experience there as she had been there longer.

It had got pretty late by then and we were pretty hungry. By the time we got to eat it must have been about 12.30 in the morning. But we didn’t care we thought we were in bellavista, Santiago where it’s all happening at that time. We stepped out of our building and it was dead. Not a soul on the road except for cops. There were only 2 restraunts open. One of them looked pretty busy so decided to go there. After we sat, we realized that it was busy at that time of the night as it was a pick up point for the working ladies. Yep! I had never seen anything like that. Anthony was in heaven. Middle aged weird looking women trying to pick up old men. It was disgusting. Anthony was like ´´where are the pretty ones??´´ Nah we were both pretty uncomfortable, we couldn’t leave as the other place had closed by then and we had ordered.

I had never felt this uncomfortable before. I was so hungry but I couldn’t even finish my sandwich I took it back to the hostel.

Anyway we got out of there and are safe in our hostel now. Going to sleep its pretty late have an early flight tomorrow to RIO BABY !!

Posted by Harshu 00:30 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

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