This is officially my best trip so far in 2012, if not my whole life so far. All that I’ve experienced those past two days are unforgettable. The places, the life, the people, the weather… They seem to fit well with each other and make life easier…
|waiting for bus 🙂|
I started my trip on the 9th of August. Going with me was a girl from Peru, Fiorella. Long story short, I was actually her company on this trip to Rio. Because she didn’t want to go alone she asked everybody in Sorocaba and I was able to take a short vacation during those days. Plus, I don’t know when I could have a friend to travel with if not then. We bought the bus ticket a week ahead and prepared well for this exciting trip. My boss was very supportive of me taking a day off to go traveling. He used to live in Rio for around 5 years so he said I could contact his friends if I went into trouble (how else can I be more lucky?!?)
So on the day of departure, I finished my work early. Since there was nothing to do, my boss sent me home early to take a rest and pack up my stuff (again, so lucky to have him as a boss!!!). We started the trip around 10pm at night. It takes around 8 hours by bus to get to Rio from Sorocaba, so we decided to go at night so we could have some rest before the fun began. The bus was comfortable but a little cold inside. We were provided with a cup of water seal with tin foil. And just like that we left Sorocaba.
We arrived in Rio in no time. It was a nice morning at the bus terminal. We took some time to freshen up and then go find a spot to search for hostel. We made a list of good hostels beforehand but still unsure which one to go to. In the end we decided to go see a few of them to compare. The plan turned out a big fail. The first hostel is Bossa in Rio, the best rated hostel on Tripadvisor. However, we got on the wrong bus thanks to the “helpful” lade at the terminal help desk. It took us three buses to get to the hostel on the hill instead of just one as reconfirmed by the hostel staff. By the time we got there and ask for the price, we were too exhausted to even think about going downhill with our stuff and bus to the second location. Moreover, the price wasn’t so bad, so we chose Bossa as out place for the 2 days in Rio. I will never regret having stayed there. It was the perfect location, 10 minutes walk to Lapa, and was located in Santa Teresa area with the historical streets and cute little bars and restaurants. The buses to the beaches are right downhill within 5 minutes walk, and it takes about 30 minutes to get there.
|Breakfast at the bakery|
We chose the 6-bed room for the first night and the 10-bed room for the second night. The bed was comfortable. We were also provided with a bed cover, a thin blanket, and a towel, all freshly washed. All rooms have air con in case the weather is too hot for the guests. There are lockers too but we had to bring our own lock for it, which is kind of annoying for those who didn’t know in advanced.
We couldn’t check in at 8am, so we left out stuff in the storage room and took a while to clean up before heading to the beaches. The receptionist on the morning was very nice. She showed us the way to the bakery right downhill to have breakfast, and the bus stop to wait for the bus to the beaches. It was quite easy to find them since Fiorella speaks Portuguese near perfect (of course she speaks Spanish, which is like 90% similar) and I can understand what people say in Portuguese. Breakfast was cheap and delicious. The store had the format similar to Padaria Real in Sorocaba, with breads, ham, cheese, and other pre-made food.
|On the bus to the beaches|
We got to Ipanema beach and started to walk along the beach for the morning. It was really really great for me because I haven’t seen, smelled, or touched the sea for more than 2 years. The weather was perfect, hot but not scorching hot, clear sky, and breezy. There were all kinds of people at the beach, young to old, fat to fit. People here seem carefree and don’t bother about others’ look. They all wear bikinis and swimsuits, not like the beach shorts I usually see in Canada.
We had a long walk along the whole Ipanema beach, and decided to walk inside the town to find a tour agency for the next day schedule. We asked around and got to a place called Samba tour. It was quite sketchy to find a place like that without knowing or planning in advance. Anyways, we bought two tickets for the Cristo Redeentor and Pão de Açucar tour. After that, we went to have lunch at a restaurant close by as introduced by the agency guy. It was quite nice and delicious. We wouldn’t have gone there if he hadn’t told us.
After returning and receiving out beds, we slept from 3pm to 7pm without knowing… By the tie we woke up, it was already late. The view from the window is spectacular.
|Tim and us|
We made friends with the people who stayed at the hostel. In our first room, there was a guy named Tim from Houston. He came to Brazil and stayed in Salvador to learn Portuguese and that was his vacation along Brazil. He said he loved Vietnamese food and his family was best friends with a Vietnamese neighbor J I guess if my same-age cousin is still pursuing her MBA in Houston, there is a good chance I will hang out with him again. His university, University of Texas in Austin, is one of the best universities in the country and is also on my list of MBA schools. Besides Tim, we met other three girls, Manu, Anaella, and Carol. They just finished their company’s conference in Rio about internet search engine optimization and chose to stay in Rio to enjoy the weekend. I also met a guy from Perth, Australia, and a guy from Holland. It was my best experience backpacking and meeting all those people.
|Inside the train is quite spacious|
|Subway to Copa Cabana|
Fiorella, Tim, and I went out together at night. We went to Copa Cabana beach to find the night market but I was too late, so we returned to Lapa close to our place and hang out there. Lapa is like a big outdoor club, with a small stage for live music performance, and tons of street food. The atmosphere was great and exciting. There were police patrolling around so it was rather safe. We drank a lot of beer and caipirinha, a typical cocktail in Brazil. I almost got mugged but it was just a small incidence. The guy was stopped by the people around. It was a good lesson not to bring backpack or big things along to Lapa. Anyways, we still had fun in Lapa afterwards and got really drunk, so we took a cab home and passed out til the next morning…