Monday, January 18, 2010

Exploring Rio de Janiero

So I was initially going to stay in Rio for four days but after being here for less than 24hours, I knew that I wanted to stay longer. The plan was that I would get to Rio Friday morning and leave the following Monday to visit the South of Brazil. Friday evening, I tried to buy bus tickets online without success and it was already late too late to buy from the bus ticket agents. The delay in being able to get tickets gave me more time to think. The family I was staying with were under the impression that I was going to stay with them for two weeks so having some place to stay was not problem.

Sabbath afternoon, I went to the beach with girl I am staying with and her boyfriend to watch the sunset. The beach and the sunset were awesome. The beach we went to was the famous Ipanema Beach, the best I have been so far in Brazil. Ironically the sun doesn't really set on the water in Brazil because Brazil is on the East coast of South America so, the sunrise on the water. However their is a rock or piece of land that juts out of land where the coast curves towards Copacabana, so it seems like the sun is setting on the water. Another cool thing about the beaches in the south is the fact they tend to have a mountain backdrop. So at sunset you have the mountains, the ocean and sun all together in the same scene. It was totally beautiful to see the changes in the color.

After witnessing that I couldn't help but decide to stay longer in Rio de Janiero. I am hoping to come back to Brazil sometime in the future so at a later date I can visit the South. Now since I am Rio, I figured I should make the best of the time and stay as long as I can. After this little encounter with the beach I decided that I was visit the next the following week when I had more time. That is definitely a big thing for me because I am not really a beach person.

Since I extended my time here, I have had a good amount to time to explore Rio at a calm pace. I really liked the fact that I had over a week here so I was able to actually experience Rio. The fact that I am a poor traveler also encouraged that too. I can't see all the tourist sights because they require money to enter but I have more time just to walk around and explore the untourtisty areas. I absolutely love were I am staying. I am staying in the Lajanieras area which is close to Botafogo and Flamengo. The Flamengo beach, though not clean enough for me is 10 mins away. But the cool thing about this beach is that it has an awesome park. In the mornings, I am able to run or walk along the beach. Another cool thing is that one of Rio's airports is close to the park so I can see the planes take-off and land. I love watching planes take-off and land.

So here are some things that have stood out to me since I have been in Rio: the Coroica culture the weather and public transportation. In Brazil, people from Rio the city not the state are called Coroico/a. As I have walked around and explored I have definitely seen a difference between the people here and the people in other cities. The people here are very casual. Almost everyone seem dressed for the beach. It seems like everyone here is ready for the beach. I know this might be the case but because it is summer, but the whole city or the parts where I have visited it seems like people are ready to go to the beach. Another thing almost everyone here wears Havaianas. These are the Brazilian equivalent to Old Navy Flip flops but up a notch. Havaianas come in different colors and styles and are a little more pricey than the regular flip flops. Whereas you can find flip flops for R$5, the cheapest Havaianas start around R$11 if you search well and these are the uglier ones.

The culture at the beach is also different. Women regardless of their age, shape or size tend to wear bikinis. If 500 women were at the beach no more than 15 would where a one piece. I am being honest, here. I went to the beach wearing a one piece and shorts and everyone was steering at me. The ocean here in Rio is very different. The water is much colder than the northeast and much colder than Jamaica. I was told that sometimes it is even colder. It is as cold as water with ice. I had learned about the water being affected but the season but I didn't expect it to be this extreme.

So, the weather here has been somewhat surprising to me. It is extremely hot. One day it over 40 C or 104 F. Added to that temperature was humidity because Rio is by the ocean. just imagine how hot it was. In the first few days I was having a really hard time adjusting to the temperature. I could get these excruciating headaches, but with time my body adjusted to heat. I guess I am preparing myself for Jamaica which has similar temperatures. With the scorching temperatures also come thunderstorms. So far there was only. That night with thunderstorm it rained almost for the whole night and for the early hours of the morning. The rain though was welcomed because it brought cooler temperatures.

As a poor tourist, my primary means of transportation is public transportation primarily the cheaper ones. This is not a problem at all here because Rio has every excellent public transportation. There are buses and the metro. I usually opt to take the bus because is usually cheaper and you get to see more of the city. In Rio, there are different types of buses. The regular bus which is cheaper without AC and the metro bus with is more expressive, even more then the Metro sometimes, with ac. I found that to be every interesting, that ac was an option for the bus.

All and all, I have had a great time in Rio. My host family has been great and I have loved getting to know Rio. I hope in the future I will be able to return with a little more cash to see even more sights. I am now off to my final destination in Brazil, the super city of São Paulo.

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading your blog!! It contains interesting insights on Brazilian culture from a foreigners'point of view. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay in Brazil.
    Nicely done!
    marjolein, the netherlands