So we took a bus from Sao Paulo to arrive to Rio de Janeiro. The comfort of the bus was incomparable to what we experienced in other countries of South America. The 8 hours trip passed quite easily, even though the last hour we spent trying to get inside the bus terminal. There was a queue of buses only, several blocks long. As we waited in the traffic, we noticed: not a single horn was sounded. Quite a different experience after Peru:)
We had our hostel in Botafogo, and in the next days we discovered Ipanema, Copacabana, Pao de Acucar, Cristo Redentor – names of places that are always associated with Rio and fascinate the mind of probably all of us.
As we also had a number of rainy days, we spent some time in museums and also visited Petropolis, a city in the mountains, wrapped in clouds near Rio. It was there where we spotted a Hungarian confiteria, and just minutes later, two elderly ladies chatting in Hungarian on the same bus that we took. Back in Rio we also stumbled upon a selection of Hungarian writers published in Portuguese and a t-shirt commemorating Puskas.
We also visited Maracana, the once greatest stadium of the World is now under reconstruction, waiting for great matches to be played during the next World cup.
Since we had bad weather, our beach experience was not so great. Copacabana had strong currents and not so many people. We saw some shamelessly small bikinis, but the women behind them were not as perfect as expected:) Nevertheless a freshly opened coconut is still a pleasant experience at any beach.
Probably the most memorable event was a Friday night in Lapa, the local going-out district. It is a bit like Bairro Alto on steroids: huge streets are closed down, people chatting, eating and drinking outside, occasionally entering some clubs to dance, or just simply dance under the open sky. The district serves all vices: you can get cheap beer, even cheaper caipirinhas, drugs at will, female or male prostitutes and only God knows what else. Careful with the alcohol consumed though: many boys look like girls, and many girls look like boys, sometimes its damn hard to spot the difference:)
We have also witnessed a spectacular act of vomiting (similar skills we have only seen in Finland:)): a guy was holding a girl by her pony-tail, while another guy was pushing his fingers down her throat to get rid of the excess capirinhas consumed.
Despite the bad reputation of Rio, we had never experienced a single moment of insecurity. As people normally don’t stop at red lights during the night, we witnessed one car crash (yeah the horn was not enough this time), but probably that was all. Just after we left a kind of civil war broke out though: police fighting with gangs who set cars and buses on fire. This we only saw in TV from the relaxed atmosphere of Florianopolis.