Siga la Vaca – Parte III


Originally written on February 17, 2009


For six months, I’ve been looking forward to going to Rio and spending time on Ipanema Beach. The excitement was so high that a couple of days prior to my leave for South America, I could barely get enough sleep. Yet when I arrived to Rio de Janeiro from Buenos Aires, I had a feeling the Great Flood is about to happen from the amount of pouring rain. Grey skies opened up, fog covered the city and blend with the Atlantic Ocean – everything was grey. This continued for two and a half days, and my hopes of spending any time on the beach were slowing disappearing.

Sidewalk along Leblon Beach, Rio de Janeiro

O.G. and A.M. came to Rio the following day (on Friday), and on Saturday we met with O.G.’s brother and slightly adjusted aka “refreshed” sister-in-law. (She just underwent some cosmetic surgery which might be a reason why the two of them are together again. Hehehe…) It was funny though that of all of them, I knew the city the best. So it was me who was giving them direction how to get around. LOL

I’ve already written to you about Banda de Ipanema, so I’ll just continue from that point. 

After resting for a bit, we headed to a nightclub around 1 am on Sunday morning. The Week is one of the greatest clubs in Brazil. I visited one in Sao Paulo a year ago, and fun times were almost guaranteed.  The venue, itself, is located in a dark corner of the downtown which at night time looked very unsafe to us. All the colonial houses have deterioated, strong stench could be smelled everywhere, and suspicious people were standing on the street corner. Were we at the right spot? O.G. said yes. Suddenly, we saw this half-a-block long queue waiting to get into the club. That was the VIP line; the regular line didn’t have anyone!?!?! (Apparenlty, the VIP members get R$10 (about CND$5) discount on the admission.) So we went in through the regular admission entrance, and met up with L.T. and F.A. who passed onto us the VIP bracelets. Thank God, we didn’t have to queue for at least 30 min! LOL The club turned out to be one of the best I’ve been to, and to find such a venue with high-tech laser lights and amazing sound system in a very unfriendly neighbourhood, was a great surprised. We called the night at 6 am and went for breakfast.

Sunrise over Rio de Janeiro

As we were going back to the hotel, sun finally peaked through the gray skies, and after 2.5 days of waiting, this was promising to be a beach day! Rio started looking the same way I remembered it from before. Yet at 7 am, I couldn’t fall asleep, which was probably due to the high amount of Red Bull I drank. LOL I barely slept inconsistently for 2 hours, called up the guys, and we headed to the beach. It was everything I wanted from my holidays in Rio, and I didn’t want it to end.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

At night time, we changed our plans and didn’t go out. It would have been nice if we did because I was anxious to check out “00” resto-lounge. However, I finally got tired after being awake over 36 hours. My mind wouldn’t have been able to handle any more of house music beats. It was enough!

One thing about many South American countries, especially Brazil, is the fact that the locals will try to “milk out” Gringos for money whichever way they can. Our hotel was one of the better ones on the beach strip. It even had a private beach, and with my luck, upon arrival, I was upgraded to a superior room. Not only did I have a better room, but I also had a stunning view of Leblon and Ipanema Beach. Hehehe… Anyhow, since we were staying at Sheraton Hotel, even the taxi drivers would try to raise the price of rides. Food in the hotel was awfully expensive – 10 times more than in the regular places. Knowing the true price of food in Brazil, this ticked me off so the first morning instead of having breakfast in the hotel, I went to the nearby favela (shantytown) to eat. This is NOT something I’d recommend to anyone, and once O.G. heard about it upon his arrival, he called me insane. He was right, but I was angry and stubborn. Needless to say, I enjoyed my breakfast, and went there again this morning before leaving the city.

My last day in Brazil turned out to be a gorgeous day, and I was disappointed that the weather wasn’t like that during my whole stay. In order to make the best of it, I run off to the favela to eat, put on my bathing suit on, dipped into the Ocean a couple of times, and checked out of the hotel. The reality started slowly kicking in when I had to pack my shorts in the luggage and put jeans on in the airport washroom. Months will pass until I can wear shorts and flip-flops again.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The take-off finalized the whole trip, sealed my memories, and reconfirmed my belief in the beauty of Rio. As we took off, the plane circled around the city, and reminded everyone who’s leaving it why Rio de Janeiro is called the Marvellous City. Entrapped between the hills and lush greenery of tropical rainforest, one could have followed with its finger the beach coast starting from Leme to Copacabana to Ipanema to Leblon. We flew over Sugar Loaf Mountain, and above Christ Redeemer statue on Corcovado leaving the city bathing in the sun. Everything looked completely different and more beautiful than when I arrived to it from Argentina.

Aerial View of Rio de Janeiro

Fourty-five minutes later, we arrived to Sao Paulo, a city which still amazes me with its enormous size. One simply can’t see the end of houses and buildings on the horizons. It just goes on, and on, and on.

Aerial View of Sao Paulo

This is where I am right now – in Sao Paulo waiting for my connection flight to Toronto. Had I had more of lay-off time, I would have gone to the city to have a lunch with a friend.

Well, there is always another time. As my mother told me a couple of days ago, nobody thinks this is my last visit to the country I’ve grown to love so much because of its people, culture and natural beauty that one makes wonder whether Paradise looks as such.

Ipanema Beach at Sunset, Rio de Janeiro

Darn, 3 days until the carnaval, and I’m heading home. LOL

I’m excited to see many of you very soon!

Um abaco, I.

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