City of God – Rio de Janeiro (Day 1)

When I hear Brazil, I think of football, beaches, sexy chicks, hot guys, samba, carnival…in short, party and more party!!! Brazil has always seem like a far far land and all this while, not knowing when, I have always thought, one day, just one day, I will definitely reach Brazil! Well, here I am in Brazil and loving every second of it!!!

After I reached and discovered this amazing country, I realised one week in Brazil is nothing! There are so many places to visit here. I spent two days and two nights in Rio. I fell in love with this city on first sight! After three months of hearing Spanish and trying to learn as much as possible, it actually helps a bit to understand Portuguese and I find Portuguese very melodic. After checking out many hostels online, I finally booked my stay at the Mango Tree Hostel. Well, totally no regrets! The staffs were really helpful, breakfast was good, bedroom and bathroom were clean, except that I spent the first day shivering under a cold shower. The one thing I love most about this hostel is the backpackers I met!!! Wonderful people from all around the globe!!! It is amazing how easy it was to make new friends!

The moment I reached Rio, I did a bit of last minute map study to find places of interest. The hostel was situated one block away from Praia de Ipanema, which is a 2km stretch of beautiful beach! I noticed most of the significant buildings were not around Ipanema. It was mainly hotels, hostels, restaurants, bars, banks and shops everywhere. It takes about half an hour by cab to get to Santa Teresa or Lapa. At that moment, I knew two days in Rio is not enough to do anything but since I was already there, I had to make full use of my time. I booked a complete tour to cover the main attractions in Rio for the next day so my plan for the first day was to explore Ipanema and enjoy the beach.

After paying R$95 for the cab to get to the hostel from the airport (yes, it was shit expensive), I realised I had to withdraw money. I went to two banks just to find out that my card was not working. In my head, I was thinking, FML!!!! I went back to the hostel, tried to pay the accommodation using the card…diiii…no functiona! Damn, I was already freaking out. The staff told me to call my bank to sort it out. While I was dialing the number behind my card, I wished I would not be talking to a machine and fortunately, I was connected to the operator. After clarifying a few things, they unblocked my card. I guess it was a precaution step to block someone’s card, especially if it is used in a country like Brazil. I was so relief when I managed to get money from the ATM machine.

Thank God, although it was very windy, the sun was still shining! I got myself ready in bikinis, happily walking towards the beach and really looking forward to dip myself in the ocean. Dang!!! The moment my feet touched the water, I changed my mind. It was freezing cold!!! I ended up sunbathing on the beach. It started to get chilly so I walked along the beach and watched sunset from a small hill. The view was breathtaking! Many had warned me how dangerous Rio can be and I should not wander around the street when it gets dark. I walked back to the hostel watching the sun set.

When I was in the hostel, I realised how hungry I was, remembering the last thing I had for the day was a piece of cake at 8am. As I was hesitating where to eat, I met this wonderful Californian, Phelena and we decided to go out together. She has been in Rio for quite some time so she recommended Delirio. The food was really good!!! My stomach felt rewarded after a long day of starvation! We chilled out at the hostel bar after that and I got to know more people from Australia, Norway, France, Germany, Brazil…etc. The plan was to go out later but I needed my beauty sleep since I signed up for a full day tour the next day, I reckoned it would be wiser to go to bed early. The moment my head touched the pillow, I knocked out until the next morning.

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