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Carnaval Carnage!


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Finally our last internal flight, our last time moving hotels and the last destination of our honeymoon.

It got off to a bloody annoying start, we were up at 2.30am and when we got to the airport at 3.15am, we were then informed our flight had been delayed by 3 hours, so we had 5 hours sat in a tiny domestic airport with plastic seats and one cafe that sold only beige fried foods. Luckily we had the laptop loaded with movies so we kept ourselves amused, but the extra 3 hours in bed would have been nice!

Finally the flight took off and 2 hours later we were in Rio, as the plane came in to land we could see all the Carnaval bloccos (street parties) taking place below us (it was only 8.30am).

Luckily when we got to our hotel they let us check straight in and the first thing we did was sleep! Feeling refreshed we made plans with a new friend we had made when we were in Buenos Aires, who also lives in Perth and therefore of course has a mutual friend with Lynden.

The night started off civilised, but of course after a few drinks on a roof top hotel bar overlooking Copacabana, the party was on. We were a group of 5 - Lynden and I, Richie and 2 new friends he had made the day before - Cole and Nick from the USA.

Carnaval is basically a week-long fancy dress party in the streets. There are people everywhere in fluoro and glitter and very little clothing, you basically just have to follow the crowd or the music to find the nearest blocco. As you walk down the street there are locals selling beers from eskies, so everyone is street drinking. We found our first blocco, there was a samba band and everyone was dancing to the live music but we were only there about 30mins when it finished. From here we headed to Copacabana beach, bought some very large and alcoholic caprihina cocktails from a guy with a fold out table and an ice box and went on the hunt for a beach bar. It was at this time that Lynden decided he no longer needed his cast and had Richie cut it off with the fruit knife the guy had used to make our cocktails.

We found a bar, grabbed a table on the sand, hit up the dance floor and ordered another round of drinks. It all gets a bit blurry after that. There was definitely lots of dancing and drinks, and one point the boys were wrestling in the sand and then ended up in the ocean. We met more backpackers from UK and USA and we got home some time around 5am…we think.

Our second day in Rio we spent in bed sleeping off the hangovers! That night though we had tickets to go to the Sambadrome to watch the samba school parades - something we had both wanted to do for years. It had been lightly raining all afternoon, but when we came to leave, it was like Iguazu Falls all over again, I don’t think I have ever seen rain that heavy before! We luckily managed to find a taxi but the rain didn’t show any sign of stopping and as the Sambadrome is open air we were drenched, and we had also got there 2 hours early to make sure we got good seats. When we got to our block to find a seat (which were just concrete steps) it actually looked like a waterfall, you couldn’t sit down for all the rain that was pouring over the edges of each row of seats. Wet and cold we perched on the edge of the front row and prayed for the rain to stop. Slowly it eased off and just before 9pm the rain finally stopped and it meant the parade could begin. The samba parade was like nothing we had ever seen before. For 2 days the 14 main samba schools in Brazil compete at the Sambadrome. Each school has 60-85 minutes to complete their parade, they have 1 song, which is sung live for the entire hour and each parade has about 4000 participants and 4 or 5 floats. The costumes are incredible, the floats are insane and each parade tells a different story. What we didn’t realise when we arrived was that each school had an hour to perform and there were 7 schools that night, so the parade wasn’t going to finish until after 6am!

We stayed until 4am and watched 5 of the parades, my favourite was the second one which told the story of magic and had witches riding cauldrons, frogs, a giant golden raven, beauty & the beast, Jack Sparrow and about a million other crazy things. We absolutely loved being there and experiencing the parades, I wish we had had the energy to stay until the end but we just couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer.

Day 3 we slept all day again and really just had a lazy day. In the evening we met Richie for dinner and then we went home and had an early night #partyanimals

The next day we had set aside for doing all the classic touristy things. We had an incredible view of Christ the Redeemer from our hotel room and we were both desperate to see him up close. We took the bus up first thing in the morning and it was already crowded and hot, but it was so worth it! The views back over Rio were beautiful and the big guy himself was awesome. Another bucket list item ticked off the list! The day was disgustingly hot and we wanted to do Sugarloaf Mountain at sunset, so we went back to the hotel, did a gym work out and just chilled out. We then headed to see the Selaron Steps, which are around 200 steps covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. However when we arrived, we discovered that the steps had been turned into a blocco and we couldn’t see any of them! BUT as we were at a blocco we figured we should get a drink and at least join in a little bit, but we quickly realised these people had been partying for way too long and everyone was just a hot drunk mess.

So it was onwards to Sugarloaf for sunset and that’s where we met up with Richie, Cole and Nick again. Sugarloaf did not disappoint (although it was a cloudy sunset) but watching the city lights all come on once the sun went down was another cool way to see the city. The highlight though was once it was dark we could see Christ the Redeemer in the distance peaking through the cloud looking down on the city. The photos just don’t do it justice!

Tourist items all ticked off, there was only one thing left to do, hit the town for Canavals final party night. First we had an epic sushi dinner and then we jumped on the metro and headed to Gloria as apparently that was where the party was at….but it was dead. We could hear music and see people all heading in the same direction, so we followed and eventually we walked into the biggest street party ever. It was insane, every bar was playing their music as loud as possible, the streets were packed, the floor was filthy and it smelt like stale beer and pee. We found a quieter bar to regroup and then we headed into the madness once more and into a club where we drank and danced and laughed and just had the best final night together. Lynden also decided at some time close to 4am that he should buy a bottle of vodka and some red bulls – probably the most expensive round ever and by that stage we had drunk so much that none of us really wanted to drink it, luckily the bar had no issue with us taking the half empty bottle home with us. We think we got home around 5am again, but in all honestly we have no clue.

Once again we slept all morning but at 1pm the boys all headed over to our hotel so we could have a pool and sauna afternoon, so for the next few hours we did very little other than chill in the water or sit in the sauna trying to sweat out the alcohol. It was then time to say goodbye for the last time and go our separate ways. We packed our bags for the final time, checked out of our hotel, grabbed a quick dinner and then was picked up by our chauffer and taken to the airport to fly home business class, which is the final highlight of our trip.

So this brings us to the end of our 8 week honeymoon, there has been so many amazing adventures and experiences that we will never forget. Our highlights though:

1 – Peru tour, where we met amazing new friends and conquered Machu Picchu
2 – Easter Island (inc the accidental upgrade to business class)
3 – Our private wine tour in Mendoza
4 – Iguazu Falls (minus the boat tour)
5 – Carnaval – Sambadrome, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and Bloccos
6 – The lifetime of memories this trip has given us and all the new friends we have made.

Now it’s time to head back home to Perth and back to reality.

Posted by sdyzart 12:10 Archived in Brazil Tagged parades honeymoon travel carnaval party carnival celebrations brazil brasil rio south_america copacabana christ_the_redeemer southamerica bloccos sugarloaf_mountain

Reunions


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Another silly early start as we headed to the airport to catch a flight to Buenos Aires and to be reunited with SO many awesome people from our Peru tour. Unfortunately we didn’t get the same welcome as our Mendoza hotel, our BA hotel said we could store our bags but to come back at 3pm to check-in. So bags stored we headed out to check out a market that runs every Sunday and this thing never seemed to end – it was easily 6 blocks long with stalls on both sides of the street and little side alley extensions jutting out along the way.

2 blocks in, our noses picked up the scent of something amazing and lead us astray into a colourful little food court with a giant bbq that was flame grilling huge cuts of steak and chorizo sausages – of course that was lunch sorted! Bellies full and back in the market we ended up bumping into Karolina and Brigitte from our Peru tour and made plans for pre-dinner drinks that night.

It was such a nice evening and felt just like the beginning of our tour, after pre-drinks we went for dinner at an Italian restaurant, where we were also joined by Viktoria, Holly, Shane and Niamh. After a ridiculously huge dinner and being 2 or 3 drinks in, most of us were ready for a night out on the town. In all honesty I don’t remember the finer details after that point, there was $2 bottles of champagne, card games, a live musician, vodka red bulls, maybe a few shots, a very long taxi ride to the other side of town, more drinks and then a 2 hour queue outside to get into a club which never moved and at around 3am we gave up and came home.

The next morning I woke up drunk so Lynden sent me back to bed and off he went out for lunch to say goodbye to Shane and Niamh who were flying home to Ireland the next day. Once I had slept off the alcohol we headed out to explore a place called La Boca, which was a colourful district across town. Walking around there was not a single normal coloured building, every one was multi-coloured and many decorated with weird looking mannequins (we never did work out why). Our evening was very low key – Lynden had a giant calzone, which was easily enough for 3 people and probably contained a 1kg of cheese.

For our final day in Buenos Aires we had a very lazy morning (which has been a rare treat this honeymoon) and then got ourselves all dressed up for a fancy lunch at a steak restaurant called Don Julio. We both ordered steak, but different ones and unfortunately (through no fault of my own), the waiter might have given me Lyndens steak by accident, but we have no way of proving that for sure. Anyway my meal was bloody beautiful and Lyndens was average. Luckily the chocolate mousse and a glass of port turned his frown upside down.

After lunch and a quick visit to the local market to stock up on dulce de leche with Brigitte and Viktoria, we freshened up and headed out to catch a tango show. We were driven just outside of the city to a place called Senor Tango and were taken into a giant theatre that looked like a cross between Moulin Rouge and The Greatest Showman. Dinner was average but the show was amazing, firstly it started with 2 white horses being ridden around the stage and then there were flames, an orchestra (which included a guy playing an accordion), lots and lots of tango dancing, a weird mannequin accordion player floating about the stage, a guy that we thought would never stop singing and a spanish version of ‘don’t cry for me Argentina’. It was such a fun way to finish our time in BA.

Next stop a ferry ride for 48 hours in Uruguay!

Posted by sdyzart 07:19 Archived in Argentina Tagged mountains parties markets honeymoon city party argentina tango buenos_aires south_america steak mrandmrs don_julio

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