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Renee and Clarissa’s Travel Diary

Monday, 12 Feb 2007

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

MapRio

We were greeted in Rio by Dan, our friend from Australia and together we moved into our wicked apartment in the heart of Ipanema which was home for the next 10 days and was our haven from the craziness of carnival.

Strolling Ipanema & Copacabana beach, Christo the Redentor, Sugar Loaf Mountain, a soccer match at Maracana football stadium and Carnaval was the highlight of our stay in this great city. Majority of our time was spent in Ipanema amongst the street parades ´blocos´ and the major hightlight of course was the Sunday night parade at Sambodromo. This is a spectal that features thousands of costume dancers, elaborate floats and excitable fans (30,000 people) cheering on their favourite schools. The championship is hotly contested, with the winner becoming the pride of Rio and all of Brazil and therefore they put their hearts and souls into all aspects of the event. The parade runs from 10pm to 6am and each group (6 in total) displays a theme of continual stream of colour, music, dancing and craziness unlike we have ever seen before. This event alone has definately made our trip to Brazil worthworth, take a look at the photos and see the amazing costumes, effort and passion that is put into this event.

We made alot of friends along our travels and Rio for carnival was a meeting point to catch up again. We met the Irish Contingent (4 awesome girls) in Mendoza orginally and caught up with them again for a few pints and good times in what do ya know, an Irish Bar in Ipanema. Renee´s friend Paolo from Shell London who she last met up with in Ibiza was also in town for the big show. Was great to catch up considering he now lives in Barcelona! Wonder which party we´ll met up next at Paolo?!?! Then there was Gav, Renee´s mate from London, had many a cerveja with him and his travel mates also. One night we went out in Lapa, this area hosts Rio´s chaotic vibrant street party scene, in a dodgy part of town of course. There was an outdoor samba festival where we attempted to samba with the locals. It all went pear shaped when some dodgy characters started harassing Lissa and Dan. There was a crew of locals just waiting for a bite from us, hence we footed it out of there straight of away. It could have turned ugly very easily!
Speaking of hairy moments, the trip back from the Sambodromo was a shit your pants event. We really should have guessed it when we got into a taxi with mags! He led us through the cobbled stone back streets of who-knows-where, when suddenly we were abruptly stopped and greeted by a baracaded street with police armed and ready to shoot their one metre length machine guns... pointed directly at us. Couldnt understand a word of what they were saying, Portuguse would have come in real handy at this point....dumb tourists. Two blocks later, we were greeted by yet another baracade of cops and yep, machine guns pointed at us again. This time the windows had to be wound down so they could see who was in the back. Think he just led us down a dodgy path, oh well, thats Rio for you.
Also were in town were Chris and Fleur, are an Aussie couple we met on our eventful Pantanal trip. We celebrated the closing out party together at the festivities of Banda de Ipanema, this is a long standing banda with a wild crowd, complete with drag queens and wacko costumes. We joined in the wackiness complete with metallic and afro wigs. Dan was particularly popular amongst the drags, we think he enjoyed the attention....not. Let us say now, if you are gay, semi or thinking of turning, book your tickets to Rio now. Hottest gay male bodies, decked out with six packs in every direction possible. Gay mans dream. We joined in the gay bloca party, mingled with the boys and danced on the bars. Great night out, they really know how to party.

Rio really is an amazing and diverse city, set amongst the most gorgeous settings with really fit, gorgeous and energetic people. Not to mention the weather, the sun is always shining and the locals really do make use of their fabulous beaches ,