February 2006


I have recently acquired a henna tatoo of our address.  Quite an ingenious idea actually as I was constantly loosing the little piece of paper and getting home was extremely difficult.  Ironically, it was almost immediately after I got the tatoo that I memorised the address…. Least I look badass.

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Im not saying its overly comfortable but its cheap. This is budget travelling at its peak!  Welcome to my life right now!

 

 

Naturally tho, we have priorities.  No food, no water, just beer!  Over 400 infact. But hey……13 guys. 

a wall of beer!

The fridge!

Like I say, welcome to my life right now!!

Though fleetingly reunited in Rio, the Guns of Navarone are back in full force and with new members picked up from the various exploits of guns on the trails blazed between Buenos Aires and the respective paths to Salvador.  Incorporating too many new members our apartment here, intended for 7 people and sleeping 13 is now known as ´The Armada´

  Hitting Salvador on the 22nd of Febuary, the carnaval celebrations kicked off on the 23rd.  Oh my god, if I didnt have such a hangover I´d tell you all about it.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe not 😉 

Inbetween Rio and the infamous Salvador lies coutless havens of sand, sun, blue water and palm trees.  Finding Itacare in the Lonely Planet, Martin, Simon, Bo and myself set off for a couple of days relaxtion between the pace of Rio and the debaucherously delicious festival of Carnaval.  We hit the jackpot too.

  Taking a lesson of Capoeira, the Brasillian high-kicking-lots-of-flipping martial art exhausted me for a couple of days to follow.  Doing coutless situps, countless pushups and more star jumps than one could poke a stick at, we were treated to a ´play´ (when they do thier practise play fighting) where I saw the best Capoeira I have seen the whole time I´ve been in Brasil.  Sweating and hungry we emerged thoroughly energetic high kicking at each other for the next few days.

   But, that beach holidayze came to an end, and tho I may return, I am now in Salvador for Carnaval.

    

BBC News Sunday, January 19th.  ´´More than one million rock fans in Brazil have enjoyed a Rolling Stones concert on Rio’s Copacabana Beach – one of the biggest gigs the world has seen.  ´´

It is estimated that around 1.2 million people crammed the shores of Copacabana beach in Rio de Janero for the free concert of a lifetime.  The Rolling Stones performed on a stage erected in the middle of the sand and with an extendable stage that walked out a further 50 odd metres into the crowd.  With people camping up to 2 nights before the show on the beach, and others waiting all day long in the 35 degrees the day of the 18th (of January) to secure a good viewing spot for the concert the scene was set for an enormous concert.  Completely underprepared we did not set off from our apartment until about 10pm that night but somehow managed to worm our way through the sea of sweaty bodies (shirts off slipping and slidng through) to somewhere no more than  40 m from the stage.  In fact I had a clear view of the entire stage the whole night, which I learnt the next day was quite a rarity.  Likened by myself to being inside a sardine tin left in the sun, Ralph and I sweated our way through the concert bouncing when the crowd bounced, singing during the corus´ (the only parts I really knew) and screaming for encores when the lights dimmed for the first time.

  Playing thier first ever free concert in Brasil the police were there in thier thousands and I really must commend the Rio Police force and counsel for thier amazing amounts of preparation and planning.  Told by countless locals to take no more than R$10 (AU$6, and NO camera, NO more money, NO watch) because of how likely or expected everyone is to be robbed I was surprised at the atmosphere in the sweatbox that was the crowd.  Everyone was there to have a good time and listen to the music and thats what everyone did…except of course the 3 people who got stabbed.  Three from over a million isnt bad tho.

  

How to open the page to this chapter???    Rio was everything I thought it would be and more.  Arriving a day before the others (those sharing the apartment with me), I found a hostel straight from the bus and arriving relatively late in the evening had a quiet night.  It was quite nice actually to have the time to myself.  Even though Im travelling alone, the moments of solitude are few and far between.  It was cool to again feel the pressure of a new situation where you know no-one, are alone and have to fend for yourself…. even if it was only for one night.

   The next day I bumped into Bo walking along the street and we established we´d actually been about 100 metres apart for the last 18 hours. Quite hilarious.  Spending the morning whiling away and organising the apartment we bumped into 2 of the other occupants and within 20 minutes were situated in a lovely, 2 bedroom, fully furnished, air conditioned, interior decorated apartment where we were to drop our bags for the next 4 nights.  Marvelling at how nice the apartment was my mind raced 96 hours ahead to the way it would look after 13 other people had made it thier home too.  Thats right, intended for 6 people, we, being the eperienced and tightassed backpackers we are, squeezed 14 people (Japanese in telephone booth style) into the tiny apartment keeping the costs to an astonishingly low level.

  The days following were characterised by the typical things people do in such confined spaces.  Talk, wait for the toilet, drink, wait for the shower, eat, wait for the toilet.  The only hitch in this otherwise fantastically orchestrated exhibit of extreme fund-saving was the single toilet whose existence copped a solid thrashing 24-7.  The bathroom quickly became a warzone afflicting the most innocent and hungover individual to an overpowering aroma and waiting line.  But, for $7 a night, one cannot complain about the toilet when your half a block from the famous Copacabana Beach.

  Whilst nights were spent taste testing as many $1 bottles of vodka and Caçarsa as possible, drinking the delectable Caprihñas (crushed lime and sugar with the rocket fuel Caçarsa) before experiencing the night life and vibrant street parties, days were spent absorbing the heat, chilling on Ipanema beach and observing the various sights of Rio de Janiero.   I am still amazed at that city.

  Rio is basically situated in the heart of a valley and is surrounded by cliffs, lagoons, and the ocean.  Parts of the city are hence scattered here and there with no logical connection from one suburb to the other.  Absolutely beautiful to look at, Rio is plagued with one way streets, and dead ends making my taxi driver acceptance test a nightmare.  We spent one evening at Cristo Redemor, you dont know it??  Yes you do!  The famous Christ statue sits atop Rios highest mountain and is visible from all reaches of the city.  I guess the idea is that Rio is watched over by the Almightys Son himself and hence all are protected. How there are so many stabbings, muggings and paranoid locals is anyones guess, but then again god does work in mysterious ways…….

       Absorbing the panoramic view of Rio de Janiero was amazing.  In every direction (duh, its panoramic) we could see the clusters of housing and industry which together form the whole city.  We could see all the islands and the lagoons as well as the many Favelas (slums) which line the loosely architecturally sound ciff faces.  All in all we took the sight in with awe and were even treated to a lightening show framing the city in a shadowy glory for all but a split second.  All up an amazing sight and to top it all off our big black african taxi driver sang Bob Marley at the top of his voice all the way up and then all the way down.  When the storm blew in literally ontop of us it was time to ´vamos´ and we departed.

  Returning to the apartment I got the best surprise of all.  Planning to reunite always in Brasil the time had come for the Guns of Navarone to once again blast in full force.  Waiting in the apartment upon return were Carmin, Tanner and Brian along with a new addition Dan and together we caught up with a bucket of Caprihña a few hugs and a very drunken night walking around the vibrant Samba filled suburb of Lapa.  The boys were back in town, and the guns are in full force once more.  My family from Bolivia and Peru have reunited and a páth with be burned to destruction straight through Salvador for the next 10 days (CARNAVAL!!!). That night I passed out on the spare bed in the lounge with Carmin right next to me.

  Reuntied and hungover, the following day was the reason we all had converged to Rio for the weekend of the 18th.  The Rolling Stones free concert on Copacabana Beach.  But that is an entry on its own, so for now just check out these photos of Rio.

 copacabana Beach

Rio from top of Christ statue

More Rio

Me hanging with Jesus

The poorer side of Rio, its everywhere

Saw the movie ´´Memoirs of a Geisha´´ the other day.  Was an awesome movie with great actors and the story is amazing.  I wish I had read the book when Mum and Pen were both raving about it instead of filling it away as a chicks books.  Hence, I I have swapped for myself an acclaimed ´chicks book´to expand my horizons.  Goodbye masculine notions of bravery, courage and kicking ass, it is time to cry like I have emotions.  Cant wait 😉

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