We got to Rio on the evening of the Sutton – Arsenal match and found a tiny little bar with a TV that was happy to put it on for us.
Afterwards we headed to our accommodation for the next few nights – this was the first time ever that we actually couchsurfed rather than hosted. We stayed with a guy called Nilo in a flat he shared with two friends in Lapa (the party area of Rio). We only met one of his housemates, as they both work on large oil ships and are away for a month at a time and then back on land for a month.
Nilo will also start working on one of these shortly. Apparently it is very good money, but not so great for a settled life (as you can imagine).
Since we had got the most important sights out of the way earlier, we took it quite easy this time. Most of the first day was spent at the markets near Uruguaiana to see if they could fix the iPhone Oscar had dropped the day before (they couldn’t). In the evening, we met up with Nathalia again and this time we also got to see another of our previous Couchsurfers, Ana. They in turn were meeting with a couple from Martinique that had hosted her and Nathalia in Paris.
Oscar had joined up with a number of randoms via Couchsurfing and an English guy from the group joined us for drinks (Oscar and Joey went partying in Copacabana once the rest of us had given up).
The next day, we took the little tram up to Santa Theresa, which is a beautiful arty area on the hill. Lene had recommended a bar up there for Feijoada and it was really good.
In the evening, we had some drinks with Nilo, Alisson (the housemate) and a friend of theirs and then went to the same little alley that Nathalia and Flavio had taken us two weeks earlier.
Another place on Lene’s list of recommendations was Pedra Bonita. Nilo had told us about it as well, so the next day we headed there. One of the people from the hostel in Salvador, Abi, was already in Rio and joined us along with two of his friends. After a short hike, you get stunning views of the city.
We were planning to meet Abi and his friends in Lapa later that night. A Chilean girl called Anto (from the Couchsurfing carnival group) came to meet us at Nilo’s. We then went to meet Alisson and a Polish girl, who had met one of his close friends somewhere else in South America and was spending carnival in Rio as well. A few caipirinhas and a club lter, I was ready to go home (Anto and Oscar kept partying, met Abi – and Oscar came back absolutely covered in glitter :-p.
By this point, it was Friday and carnival was officially about to start! We moved all our stuff to a hotel near the bus station that we had booked on Black Friday sales. Not a terrible selection this time, except for the fact that the roads around the hotel were closed a different times during the night to allow the massive samba floats to move to the Sambodromo for the parades!
Friday night we had tickets to see the first parades, which was pretty cool. Anto was there too and we had a little non-samba looking dance in the stands.
Saturday we slept late and missed the bloco (street party) in Copacabana. We ended up picking up Abi from his hostel in Botafogo and Oscar incited a little grime rave in the courtyard with some cool people in various stages of drunkenness while we were waiting for two Dutch girls (also from the hostel in Salvador) to join us. We caught the last bit of a bloco around the corner and then made our way to Lapa again and ended up in the usual alley by Praça Tiradentes, where we also bumped into Nilo and his friends again.
By Sunday, I desperately needed a break from alcohol and people so decided to stay in. We only left the room to eat at the hotel restaurant next door and then Oscar joined Anto and Joey later on while I caught up with some Netflix. Simple pleasures :).
Monday was the last day for us (and a number of others) as we were catching the bus to São Paulo at lunchtime on Tuesday. For once, I decided to get up early to catch one of the early blocos (Nilo had said they were the best). I picked the AfroReggae one and it was awesome. Oscar joined me a bit later and we managed to see everyone we’d been hanging out with in the course of the day.