My bus to rio which was supposed to be 24 hours ended up being 28 hours and probably the worst bus ride of my life. I chose the back seat for the ride and realized my back was basically on the engine, the air conditioning hardly reached the back so the temperature change from the front of the bus to the back of the bus was about 20 degrees. With my back to the engine I was constantly sweating and was wearing barely anything. I looked at all the other people near the front that had sleeping bags cause it was so nice and cold up there. So for the first 18 hours the bus was full so I couldn’t move into a different spot. Once the first spot opened up I literally ran with my soaked clothes to enjoy the air conditioning that I paid for. We sat in standstill traffic in rio for about 3 hours and most people started abandoning the buses to walk cause it was a lot faster, this wasn’t an option for me… with no Internet and no Portuguese and carrying all my stuff in a city known for its crime I wasn’t gonna risk wandering around asking people where my apartment was. Once I got to the bus station it was easy, catch an overpriced cab to the other side of town in the neighborhood of copacabana where the boys were hopefully still waiting for me. The first thing I heard when I got out of the cab at the apartment was “hey look at that gringo over there!!!” I looked up and thankfully it was all three of the guys yelling at me from our window overlooking the streets of copacabana. I was so releaved to finally be done with everything, I can’t believe I didn’t go crazy during the last 5 days. Two 18 hour buses, one 28 hour sauna bus, so many hours of paperwork and uncertainty if I was going to get my passport and visa. Finally I could shower and have a well deserved drink. Sharing the apartment with mack and I were two of our friends, Jared Struik I’ve know all my life went to school with him for 12 years and also first traveled to SE Asia with him back in 2012 and David Roesinger was my rookie last fire season. I didn’t have much time to settle in before Daves friends came over and we made our way to Lapa, a neighborhood known for good bars and parties. We paid 60 reais (20 USD) to get into this bar that had live music and lots of people. When we entered they gave everyone a menu of all their drinks and basically every time you buy a drink the bartender puts a tick by the drink and you pay for everything when you leave the bar. It ended up being a pretty expensive night but it was great way to celebrate the first night of carnival.
The second day we went to a bloca (block parties all around the city all day) on the boardwalk of copacabana. There were thousands of people dancing, singing and partying. We of course joined and after a few hours in the hot sun it was time for an air conditioned apartment and planning on which party to go to that night. As it got late we hopped on the metro determined to find the party, we were heading to the city center when we started talking to some people and they told us we were going the wrong way and we needed to head to Ipanema because that’s where the party was tonight. Trusting them we made a decision to turn around and hit the beach party. We partied till well into the morning and the next morning we figured out that the party we just attended was the gay party and was in the gay area of Ipanema. Thinking back it was pretty obvious but we were all drunk and didn’t care. We all ended up having a great night and it was a nice party!
The third day we hung out on copacabana beach to catch some rays, go swimming and recover. We figured out the DJ afrojack was playing that night and everyone was down to go to that. At first we couldn’t find where he was playing and spent a good three hours walking around in the rain asking people and no one had any idea. We ended up going back to our place and getting the information we needed and ended up getting to the venue at the perfect time.
Afrojack didn’t come on until 3 in the morning so we had a good amount of time to enjoy some drinks and the djs before him. When we left to go home later thst morning all of our ears were ringing and we all needed sleep badly. When we woke up that afternoon for day four we heard about a beatles bloca. We decided to check that out and it seemed to be the biggest party we went to. Thousands of people flooded the streets, singing beatles songs and dancing. The live band was awesome but the amount of people was insane. Long lines for food, drinks and bathrooms makes people turn into savages! We were too exhausted from the day to go out at night and decided to have a chill night and catch up on sleep for the last day of carnival. On the last day of carnival we made our way back to the same place the beatles party was because there was another party happening there. Again thousands of people were in the streets partying. We met this group of girls that spoke pretty good English and told us the party was moving to another part of town and invited us to go with them. As a group we all made our way to another area. It was busy and congested the crowd was all moving in the same direction and dancing to the music, we ended up losing each other and we all ended up making our way back to the apartment. Everything during carnival is expensive, every business cashes in on this holiday. We decided to cook all of our meals to save money which turned out pretty good and we kept the week in rio relatively cheap. I also don’t have many pictures from carnival because I was nervous to take my phone and gopro out with us.
The next morning carnival was over. Life in rio continued like nothing happened. Streets are cleaned and crews were working to take down all the equipment. The metro was way less busy and people were on there way to work. We needed to take it easy and decided to go up to Christ the Redeemer statue. It was a beautiful view of all of rio and was cool to be up there and see the statue in real life. It was very crowded but was still worth all the lines and buses to get up there. Dave had his flight home that night so it was now just Mack, Jared and me. We checked out of our apartment the next day and caught the first bus out of rio to a beach town a few hours south called Paraty.
Paraty was alright, nothing special. No surf near town and the beach was ok. It was a nice place to stop before heading south an hour to a town called ubatuba. We were welcomed into ubatuba by our hostel owner Vinny and on the way to the hostel he told us good places to eat and see and do. His story was interesting, he was a lawyer for 7 years and decided one day to quit and turn his summer home in ubatuba into a hostel. It was a very nice hostel and on the weekend it had a house party vibe with live bands playing in the common area. The hostel was steps from the beach and a 20 minute walk to a good surf spot. We spent Saturday at the surf spot where I finally got to hop on a board. Its been almost a year since the last time I surfed which was in Ecuador last March so I was very rusty and need a few more sessions before I’ll be happy.
The next day we went to go check out some waterfalls where the locals come and cool off in the fresh water. We were told not to miss the beach near the waterfalls. When we got to the beach we weren’t disappointed, we got some food and some beers and decided to try some stand up paddle boarding. Jared asked a local if we could borrow his board and the guy let us use it for about 2 hours which was awesome! Jared and I took turns trying to mimic the local catching the waves coming in. I think after a few more sessions with stand up we’ll be able to catch some solid waves. Currently we are on a bus to Curitiba which is south of Sao Paulo, and it’s just a pit stop for us to eventually get to Florianópolis.