Rio de Janeiro!
I'm quite glad that I did stay with them, they are such a warm and welcoming family - muito obrigada Sr e Sra Pinto pela hospitalidade :) Paulo could speak English, but not Mr & Mrs Pinto so it was a case of trying to use all the Portuguese I knew - which wasn't much but I reckon I get full marks for effort! :)
So after the 2 hour flight from Salvador to Rio on Friday night, we headed to Lapa for some samba with his friend Luciana. She was a samba demon! and gave me some pointers seeing as though I had no idea how to samba! I got the basic gist of it pretty quick and we ended up having a grand old night!
I breakfasted with the family on Saturday morning (I now have a taste of what it must be like for an exchange student on AFS) before heading out to do some sightseeing and catch up with some of Paulo's friends.
On Sunday it was raining (!) but we drove around and checked out a few more sights and met up with some more friends.
I left monday morning and although I'd only known the Pinto family for a weekend it was kinda sad saying goodbye to them, the last thing Mrs Pinto said to me was "Volte Sempre" which is basically you're always welcome back, an offer I don't think I'll be able to refuse :)
Well if there was one thing I had to see in Rio, it was Cristo Redentor. It's stunning - I'd seen so many pictures of it, but only standing at his feet do you appreciate how breathtaking it actually is. At night he's lit up and can be seen from nearly ever part of the city - very cool!
FLORESTA DA TIJUCA
The worlds largest urban forest. We drove through Floresta da Tijuca to get to Corcovado...
Paulo and me
A favela in the floresta
PÃO DE AÇÚCAR (Sugar Loaf Mountain)
Before checking out Pão de Açúcar, we had a snack of Queijo quente (literally hot cheese, which is on a stick and this time sprinkled with oregano) and a drink of coco verde (green coconut) to drink - yum yum!
This was (if not still is) the world's largest stadium - in the 1950 World Cup game which was Pelé's last game, it fitted 200,000 fans! Not so many people this time round as we were watching Fluminense (a Rio team) play Forteleza (a much weaker team from Northern Brasil). If the game had been between 2 Rio teams, it would have been much more full...
The final score... 3-1 to Forteleza. I really wish I could understand Portuguese cos I tell you, the people around me were NOT happy with their team. And being South American, they're so wonderfully animated anyway, and especially so, when expressing disappointment and frustration! But I spose as Paulo said, I spose I didn't really need to understand Portugese to guess the kind of things they were saying ;)
So I am not going to be in Brasil for Carnaval which is kinda sucky... These are the blocos that people sit in to watch all the floats go by as part of the parade. (However, as I'm practically a Bahiana now, I feel it's my duty to mention that Carnaval in Salvador is meant to be the best, as that's where you get the best participation of the masses! I've heard people say that Rio is where tourists go, but Salvador is where Brasileiros go!)
The family! :)