Heathrow to Rio, was the longest flight I had ever embarked on. 11 hours. Not so difficult when your sleeping most of the way. Not the most sociable either, for my neighbour, friend of four years and fellow traveller, Lewis. Lew, who had spent the whole flight dreading his inevitable inflight insomnia, had joined me on our travels as I had been condemned from traveling to South America alone by my Mum. I know… What up gangsta!
Anyway, we arrived. I had everything sorted. Including the airport transfer to our surprise accommodation. I had booked us in to the ‘surf’n’stay’, a surf lodge just outside the city. I figured hey when in rome, surf as much as you can because it’s hard to catch a wave in streams and rivers of sunny manchester (that’s where I live).
A surprise? Oh yes. It was everything it promised and more. And by more, I mean more than an hour out of the city from which we had intended to party in to the night.* Not a problem, the party can wait. We are here to surf!
Prepped and ready to go. I lathered up with my ‘P20’ and hit the water. Did you know you only have to put that miracle stuff on once. 20 minutes later you can go in the sun “all day” without a care in the world. Honestly, it says ON THE BOTTLE you won’t need to reapply it. So i didn’t….
Some how I don’t think it was tested in the rough waters of the atlantic. I was about as protected as a Bolivian national park. The next day I couldn’t move my arms. Lewis literally had to cut my food up for me. My surfing career was over (for now). So whilst Lew continued his lessons, I took up international money transfers as a hobby. That didn’t go to well either, but that’s another story.
The next day we arranged a taxi to take us in to the city and around all the usual sites. Sugarloaf mountain, Christ Redeemer, etc. We didn’t however, do the favela tour. 49% of me wants to tell you that at the time I felt like I was disrespecting the people who live in Favelas. I have now heard every contrasting argument under the sun, and still can’t make an informed decision on whether it is right or wrong. So don’t ask me! The other 51% of me doesn’t want to tell you what I am about to tell you, but, my mum’s scare tactics had worked sooo well, I was scared that “as a gringo” (God knows how she knows the lingo), I might get a rock thrown at my head or something.** Rio looked great out of the car window. I know, what a waste right? I promise you, next time I go I will be sure to get out and actually see it; probably throw a few rather large shapes as well.
Alas, it was time to move on. And I promise future posts will contain many more tips and tricks, places to go, people to meet and activities galore!
See you at our next destination.
* I highly recommend the Surf’n’stay though. Owner Mauro and his wonderful wife and young son are a wonderful part of the experience. It’s the perfect place to escape the city, hit the beach and some waves. Their are also great instructors who live close by, for those with less experience.
** At this point I would like to add that after about 2 more days in this continent my mums voice had dissipated, and was replaced with a devil… on both shoulders. More to come on that.