Saturday, February 28, 2009

Street parties

The free street parties are where it is at for carnival. Most of the action takes place in the centre of Lapa, a large open area, in one of the less salubrious areas of town, disected by an old arched aquaduct that nowadays is used to carry a tram from one part of the city to another.

The area is surrounded by bars and small clubs and under the arches themselves there is usually music of one type or another. One of the ones towards the end tends to be where the drummers and singers from any of the parades that have happened locally end up to play through to the early hours. Everywhere there are stalls of beer, caiprihina and some very dodgy looking meat-on-a-stick things. Between the crowds scuttle people picking up all the empty cans from the street, not part of a government initiative for cleaniliness, rather for the R$1 they will get for taking them back to the scrap metal merchants. Pissing in the street isn´t illegal here and one of the less endearing memories of the place is the smell, something how I would imagine the world´s largest urinal. In the final arch there was a bar playing the closest approximation to 'dance' music we could find and on more than one occasion we ended up there until the early hours. Most of the first 5 nights in Rio we ended up in Lapa - my body doesn´t like me anymore but definitely no regrets.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Food and drink

It would appear to be all about the sharing in this part of the world. For the first few meals Becky and I would happily go and order our own food, get a few odd looks from the waiter and be presented with a maaassive plate of food each, which was kinda odd as the brasilians aren´t known for their obesity. After a bit of people watching most of our fellow diners would only order one dish between them and share the food out, a far more social way of doing things and a good way of halving our food budget in one foul swoop. A bitch if you don´t like the same thing but you can´t have everything.

I´ve noticed that the same sort of thing happens with the drinks - beer usually comes in the large 600ml bottles but then comes with tiny little 1/4 pint glasses and the beer is usually shared out with friends - again an approach I like, gets everyone together more and far less people seem to end up trashed. For some reason it works here, in the UK you would always get some greedy bastard taking more than their fair share, or people shirking it as it doesn´t allow for the competative drinking style that we seem to have adopted in our green and pleasent isle. One of the other things that I have noticed here is that although poeple like to party, and blimey they like to party, they don´t seem to get that wasted - in the four nights partying in Lapa during carnival, the centre of the action, I didn´t see a single person throw up in the street or generally become a slobbering liability. There was a couple of people even told me I was going to to crazy as I tucked in to my 4th caprianha, but hey, what do they know...?

Rio Carnival - Sambodromo

Carnival - the biggest show on earth! (or at least that is how the posters I have seen all over town translate in my head) and the reason that this was chosen as the time of year to do the whole quitting work and coming to South America thing. After flying in to Rio on the Saturday we headed off to the Sambadromo (a purpose built stadium for Carnival) to watch some of the parades. The party kicked off at 9 and was due to run through to 6am though as we are running on Brazilian time here it was probably even later than that. I have no idea how they managed to build some of the floats, or where they managed to get that many people from (up to 6000 people per school I´m told) however I do understand that it is fecking impressive to watch:

As side note we decided to leave early as we had tickets for Sven Vath at the Rio Music Conference which in all honesty was a bit of a let down (though the venue was great). In the end we wound up at the free street parties in Lapa which was a lot more fun...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sao Paulo Street Parade

S 23 33.538 W 046 41.560

Warm up for Rio?


S 23 28.078 W 045 04.158

For a complete change of pace we headed out down the coast to a place called Ubatuba. The hostel was owned by a couple of sweet old ladies and we were the only people staying there. They made us breakfast, drove us to town to the beach and generally treated us as their own. The first full day there the sun came out properly so in true brit fashion went out to the beach and got sunburnt. We hired body boards for an hour and splashed around in the waves.

The second day the ladies took us out to a small village where we got a fisherman to take us out to one of the islands for the day. Again more swimming in the sea, very few people around and generally chilling. Managed to kick a sea urchin and spent a couple of days with spines in my foot which was a bitch but after a lot of probing with a safety pin I seem to have sorted that out. Fully relaxed and ready to head back in to the mayhem of Sao Paulo and carnival.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Good News!

BAE appear to have overpaid me (it looks like full pay to the end of the month rather than the 18th when I finished)

Bad News!

My card has stopped working so I can´t get at any of it (I think the magnetic strip has gone - all the cash points keep telling me I haven´t put it in properly). Bugger.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jungle Rave

The plan had been to head off to Pacha here in Sao Paulo last night (Saturday) however plans often change and after chatting to a chap called Mazen that we met in the hostel this particular plan changed to getting a taxi 30km out of town to go to a psy-trance rave on a farm in the jungle. I have to admit that I wussed out early and called it a day at about 9.30am - there were DJ's lined up to play until 6 in the evening and there were probably still over a 1000 people still going strong when we left. Coming back in the daylight was spectacular, I didn't realise when we arrived because it was dark but it really did look like were in the in the middle of the rain forest. Unfortunately my camera's battery died about half way through the night, however I did manage a few pictures:

Becky and Philippe

Remember kids, drugs are bad, mmm-kay

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Finally here!

7.30 Thursday morning I set off on this little journey to the other side of the atlantic. 8am Friday I finally touched down and all things concidered very little went wrong. No internal cavity searches by american security, all my luggage arrived (even the sleeping bag that was only loosely tied to the bottom of the bag ) and even managed to get to the hostel without getting lost more than a couple of times.

Fortunately the time difference here is only a couple of hours so was in reasonable shape to head off and have a wander round Sao Paulo. 6hrs of wandering. However after all that me and my inprepid travelling companion now know the best way to the coast, have a dictionary to give us a fighting chance of understanding the menus and feel like we've achieved something for the first day. After which a few drinks were in order. Hence my slightly sore head - roll on Pasha tonight...

PS Happy valentines Bee xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, February 9, 2009

Note to self:

Trying to fit a weeks worth of moving house and packing to go away in to two days is not the carefree stroll in the park that I, for some reason, imagined it would be...