Rio feels like it was an absolute whirlwind. My first impression was the 2 hour bus ride to Ipanema. I should have taken a cab from the airport but it was so cheap and recommended by my buddy in Buenos Aires. The traffic was nuts. When we had a bit of a clearing the driver took advantage and I thought I was on a plane ready for take off.. Until I was jerked to a stop. I felt bad for the people who didn’t have seats. Right away you could tell the city was preparing for something huge. Stages were being built. Fencing was winding around the streets wrapping itself around monuments, protecting sculptures and gardens from the mayhem. Eventually we made it and I found the hostel which was also getting ready in its own way… Carnival events were posted on bright Bristol board all over the walls and there was an open bar… It was chaos lol I don’t know how to describe it. Carnival was total drunken chaos haha
no shortage of beer…
The street parties or “blocos” as they’re are referred to happen everywhere all times of the day. If you can find it, or don’t get distracted or stuck in another party somewhere. People were in outrageous costumes dancing, chanting/singing-ish and making out with everyone.
The first Bloco I went to I noticed it - I was with a few people from the hostel and a local which was helpful - we were in the middle of hundreds of people samba music playing cold beer in our hands. I took a moment and glanced at the countless faces around me. I noticed every single person as far as I could see was smiling. This is carnival!
And it didn’t stop. It was an endurance test… All day all night. Day after day. I got a cheap ticket last minute to go to the famous Sambadrome. This complex hosts around 100 000 people and it’s where the parades happen. It was insane! All the people chearing on their favourite Samba schools. Somewhere in there I turned 28 - there was a crazy pop music dj dance party on the beach and I decided that was my bday party. It was epic.
I have to admit by the end of it I couldn’t wait for it to be over, and when it was I got to see the real Rio.
Cleaning the streets after Carnival
It’s such a naturally beautiful city that getting to a view point like the tram cable cars up Sugar Loaf Mt. it takes your breath away.
Fun in the sun! Rio was crazy and I needed an escape. A few friends were talking about this Island and it sounded heavenly. The joy of traveling - I just left the next day. The only thing was online none of the sites were were showing any availability on Ilha Grande. But I know they only release a certain number of spots to those sites so I just decide to wing it.
I got of the boat transfer and walked the beach going door to door. No Vacancy. I was getting desperate and finally went into more of a hotel then a hostel and still nothing. I was walking away when I heard ‘wait’ the man I asked who owns the hotel said he has a friend who has a place up in the hill that he might rent out. He said it’s very different. He said he would call his friend if I wanted to take a look. When you travel you hope for this to happen. You wait for these moments where you get to experience something authentic, not printed in a guide book, real. and in this case personal mind body and soul rejuvenation.
washing clothes in the bathtub with water that ran down from the mountain
I will never forger this place on the island. How I ended up there. Pure luck. The peace. I read The Hunger Games. The lush jungle surrounding it. The giant lizard that visited daily. The hummingbirds. The orange cat. The huge bugs. Painting. Just sitting looking and listening. Napping in hammocks. The banana trees. I want to go back.