Reuniting, Rio and Rain!
After the most nightmarish journey imaginable, nearly missing my two flights and seriously testing all levels of stress in both body and mind, I arrived at Rio airport. In time. A miracle of the highest degree. Wiping the sweat beads that formed on my brow, I eagerly waited for the man I hadn`t seen in far too long to walk though the arrivals gate. The butterflies in my stomach must have flew from my mouth and met him as he walked towards me. And there, under the intense airport lights, beneath the oppresive Rio heat, and under the watch of many a locals eye, Eddie and Anna reunited, finally, after six months. We kissed and it was like a glove being placed on a hand that had been cold for a really long time. Beautiful and comfortable and right.
Our first two nights were spent in Santa Teresa at the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen, let alone stayed at! Rio180 suites was a stunning establishment with a swimming pool, jacuzzi inside the room (that`s right, INSIDE the room!) and breathtaking views of the city. I felt like I was dreaming, in a constant smiling daze, not quite believing that this was reality. The time I had anticipated and spent so much time thinking about was finally upon me. Upon us. We were upon each other and it was beautiful. Emphasised heavenly by the heavenly surroundings we found ourselves in. We obviously made the most of the hotel, the pool, the jacuzzi, the plush decor and the delicious food and drink. We ventured out once to explore Santa Teresa for an afternoon, breathing in the hot, thick air and appreciating the quirky, arty neighbourhood and its`varying open-air grafitti galleries.
The next few nights following the highs of Rio180 were spent enjoying our own space in a flat in Copacabana, which Eddie had also found and arranged (boy done good!). I was ridiculously (and probably quite sadly) invigorated at the prospect of having our own kitchen, lounge, TV, computer, bathroom and...get this...washing machine! Domestic bliss! (god...I need to get a life...). But really, after six months of questionable stains on sheets, shared bathrooms, kitchen crises and endless handwashing sessions...these domestic utilities can really get a girl going! The weather was hot hot hot in Rio and the flat was baking most the time, but we made the most of the space and cooked every night we stayed there. Heaven!
Eddie and I stayed in Rio for a week and a half, visiting all of the beaches (of course) so Eddie could sport his highly impressive backpacking wardrobe consisting mainly of items from the `80s (think Wham with a Northern swagger!). We saw Botanical Gardens, hippie markets, Easter processions, Lakes, Sugar Loaf Mountain and went wild on a few nights amongst the Lapa madness. Eddie and I also headed up to Cristo Redentor (or Christ the Redeemer) which was an...interesting experience! Good old Christ, enormously towering Christ, looming over Rio in his distinctive manner was covered in scaffolding. You literally couldn`t see his face because he had a billboard over it! Eddie thought that perhaps he was being painted gold for Easter but no, he was still covered in metal poles when the day of resurrection came along! The view was still incredible though, regardless of party pooper Cristo and the immense crowds that had gathered at those lofty heights. We stayed up on the hill whilst the sun set, the light becoming pink and golden and as the eerie mist settled comfortably across the landscape, the tops of the lush mounds poked their heads over cautiously. Rio was shown to our adoring eyes in the most beautiful light and with the world at our feet we absorbed the view of Sugar Loaf, the dotted lakes, and the intricate patterns of this vibrant city. My second time in Rio and I was as impressed and overwhelmed as the first time.
Spending the afternoon and early evening on Ipanema beach was also a time I will never forget. The distinctive and unmistakable black and white paved stones leading the beach by the hand, the vision of the long, white beach, punctuated with red umbrellas and gorgeous bronzed bodies, the tumbling waves crashing against the shore, creating a hazy sexy mist highlighted delicately and exotically by the strewn sunlight. And, as you gaze down the beach, wondering how on earth you could be lucky enough to be here, the characteristically Rio de Janierian mounts emanate perpetually over the scene, always watching and spectating the glamorous, shimmering carioca party that ensues on the beach below. As the sun set, as the sun-worshippers dispersed, as the beach workers, blaggers and hagglers finished their days`slog, the mountain at the head of Ipanema slowly lit up like it was covered with glow worms slowly waking from their lazy slumber. The favellas on the mountains were the providers of the twinkling lights, tumbling down the sloping hill like boiling hot lava. I could feel the heat of that lava and its`Brazilian soul as Eddie and I strolled down the monochrome path, the balmy air filled with floating sounds of busking musicians, sweet song, and salsa beats. The cerveza was flowing freely and the vibe was alive! But of course...it`s Rio.
Me and Eddie were treated to a good week or so of beaming sunshine, blue skies, and hot hot heat. After that...the rain came. And oh how it rained! The day we left, there were such torrential floods that 200 people died in landslides in the favellas. The whole city was in panic mode but we somehow managed to have the audicity and determination to make it out of Rio, but only to be met by more rain in Ilhe Grande, Brazil`s third largest island, 150 km southwest of the city. The islands` lush and tropical scenery was shrouded to an extent by the rain and we could not fully access the beauty of Ilhe Grande. We did get to one of the most popular beaches, Lopes Mendes, on one sunny morning, before getting absolutely drenched as the heavens opened soon after we arrived! We also squeezed in a sunny morning of kayaking - good for the alcohol-filled body and soggy soul. But overall, unfortunately, poor Eddie had escaped rainy England to...rainy Brazil! Very rainy Brazil.
Next stop was Paraty. A brief stop before Eddie and I flew to Bolivia for an improvised, spontaneous section of Eddie`s month away, that we had decided woul be ideal for experiences and our Brazil-beaten bank balances. Ouch! We managed to intercept a Saturday night in Paraty that was celebrating the beginning of a bar man`s working time at Gecko hostel, two of my friends leaving Gecko hostel`s work force and the theme casting over the evening - an 80s party! Eddie was made for this party! He not only clothed himself but also me and my friend Tom. Quite a wardrobe he had in his possession! Many caipirinhas and a stolen camera later (hence the distinct lack of photographic documentation in this blog) we left Paraty, and Brazil. What an eventful month this was turning out to be...
And so, a camera short, slightly soggier, but gagging for some new, exciting (and cheaper) times, Anna and Eddie journeyed by air to Bolivian lands!
- Seeing Eddie again after six months of deprivation
- Rio180 suites, pool, jacuzzi, city scapes...need I say more!?!
- Ipanema beach sunset. Stun my face off.