Date: APRIL 2013
Destination: RIO DE JANEIRO
Note: No need for visa for Filipinos 🙂
For the sake of playing the loving sister once in a while, I gifted our youngest a trip to Rio. She just passed the recent bar exam so she kinda sorta deserved it a little. Even when we are like thunderstorms and lightning when together, I took her with me to my first layover in Rio. But before anything else, I took her to a private tour in the aircraft.
Unlimited alcohol in Economy Class.
Flat beds and fleece-lined blankets in Business Class.
And, well…First Class is First Class. 🙂 Caviar, high-end cappuccino, Dom Perignon, fruit basket, me, of course, and et cetera, et cetera.
15 hours later. LANDING IN RIO.
Basing from my personal experience, the Galeão–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG) must have the friendliest airport personnel in the world. Unlike certain destinations, they don’t try to intimidate you and make you feel like they can throw you out of their country as they please. They don’t make you wait for no real reasons simply because they can. There was this immigration officer somewhere who took a good 15 minutes just to arrange his colorful pens and markers in a perfect line and arranged every single strand of his hair while a very long queue of tired individuals await in front of him. When I couldn’t find a piece of important paper, the officer in Rio Airport patiently waited with a warm smile (unlike the obliged and meaningless smile anywhere else). Those simple gestures made me feel much welcomed to their country than any multi-million dollar paid advertisements could ever do. And just for that, I am definitely coming back to this country for a longer period of time.
I almost had to drag her out of bed to have a lovely gluttonous dinner down the blocks of Ipanema.
Hello again, Sangria.
This type of restaurant is called a churrascaria. It is simply translated as barbecue in Portugese. Waiters would come around at every table to offer a wide variety of barbecued meats in a skewer and carve them in front of the customers as they like. You show them the SIM card if you want them to go on and the NAO card if you want them to stop.
A few samples of dinner.
It was quite pricey at 49 reals (almost 25 USD) without any drink or dessert, but the experience was worth it.
At my sister’s back, you will see a small chiller where they chill the red wines. 😀 Brazilians seem to love their wines well-chilled, including the red wines. It is very normal for them to request ice cubes to go with their beer and white wines.
A contact person for a cheaper way to do paragliding in Rio, about 50 reals less than usual.
A BEAUTIFUL MORNING IN RIO.
Men are so much easier to deal with. I paid my sister’s breakfast with just a smile. Or perhaps it was my sister’s pussy shorts that did it. :))
Very fortunate to be staying at the only hotel in the city with a beach front.
Stalking a sexy hippie who found his happy place in a curve of a giant boulder.
All ready for a long day. Rio, bring it on!
Atty. Dumagat is on fire! I have a feeling that she will get into trouble with the photos that follow.
On the contrary, a tall, dark and dashing traffic policeman with pale blue eyes stopped the traffic to let us cross and said good bye to my sister with a playful wink. How cool can Brazilians get?
The perfect accommodation. I forgot how much I paid for a night’s stay at a dorm room (with six beds), but it was around 25 USD. That came with a breakfast buffet and free internet. Only two blocks away from the beach. Not bad at all considering Rio is not a very affordable city. Funny how many reviewers online complain about the price and the fact that it didn’t look much of a design hotel. Some people, really. What do they expect from 25$? The moon? Hahahahah!
Again, the reception staff were very accommodating. They even let my sister use their bathroom after she checked out, when she came back dripping with sea water to collect her bags. This place is very good, only when you are on a tight budget. There are much more comfortable places in Ipanema at prices that are not very comfortable, of course.
The hostel’s website.
I declare Rio as the official city of graffiti. There are scribbles and artworks on almost every possible wall. Too bad we didn’t have a photo with some of the best ones because the walls usually smell of male territorial juice, if you know what I mean.
Some of the artworks in the urban landscape of Rio.
BACK AT THE HOTEL for a quick swim.
Le backyard. Yeahhhhhhhhhh!
Look at what love did to me. Thigh gap lost. Rice belly gained. LOL.
Three years back, I knew nothing about back wings.
Jogging jogging pag may time. 😀
The inviting waves that will pound you like inside a washing machine until you lose your bikini if you are not very careful.
Lonely beach boy.
AND MICKY’S HOMELESS ADVENTURE BEGAN.
I honestly forgot to bring my debit card so I couldn’t withdraw any cash. I gave her what was left from my pocket money for her to spend in the meantime. She, on the other hand, thought it was wise not to change her dollars before closing time. Naturally, it wasn’t very wise of her. She ended making a random person to buy her dinner and a food hawker to spare her free food because she did not have any money. She received too much food that she gave away most of it to a homeless man on the road. These were the easy part, actually. Later in the evening, with only a bench to sleep on, she could not even afford a cab to take her to my hotel. I waited all night at the lobby, worried sick that she might be lying somewhere with her organs ready for delivery to the black market. Grrrrrrrr………….
A kind woman named Ana from the Amazons who paid for my sister’s dinner.
Lebron, Ipanema, Copacabana in a day. Some of the world’s sexiest beaches.
These beaches during the carnival.
A brand that is also synonymous with Brazil. So cheap in Brazil, only half the price compared to other countries. My credit card died a little within the ten minutes that we spent inside the shop.
Meanwhile in BUENOS AIRES, I only left my room for breakfast buffet and a deep breath of fresh air. I was saving my energy for Rio and the long flight back to Dubai.
One of my travel guidelines in case I would find the chance to see the city.
A gorgeous night sky in Buenos Aires.
FLYING BACK TO RIO. Found a waterhole in the sky.
DAY 3. TIME FOR SIGHT-SEEING.
Someone said he missed me already.
Ready to conquer Rio with my golden nails. :)))
Dress up each day as if you are going to meet the love of your life.
My crew. We paid for a van for a whole day trip. I could not remember for how much but around 200 reals each and there were ten of us. He was friendly and loved to talk but too lazy to take us to the real Selaron staircase. He lied and said that there was only one. He took us to the ugly part of Selaron. Gr! Not fair.
The Cristo Redentor from afar.
A long queue of cars at the top of the Corcovado Mountain.
It costs 43 reals for adults to get to the top of the Cristo.
I got a warning whistle from sitting on the ledge. The same guard went to my floor and then thanked me for cooperating.
View from the top
The thick forest of Corcovado.
Christ the Redeemer photography 101.
My colleagues of many colors.
The “Selaron” where our driver took us. Three months before we arrived in Rio, the artist of this famous steps was found dead with burn marks in his body.
It would have been extremely interesting to meet the guy. What a waste of personality. That mustache had a life of its own.
The famous area of Selaron steps.
An outdoor market.
The bleachers for the carnival. There was like a couple of people renting out carnival costumes for a photo opportunity.
It gets interesting at night here as it comes alive with dancing and samba.
LAST STOP: THE SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN
It didn’t look very interesting to me as I have one too many experiences with mountain views via cable cars. But it was probably my sister’s first and final visit to Brazil so we gave it a go. It costs 53 reals to go up the Sugarloaf. The queue was always long and never ended until we went down to the city. The easiest way to jump to the start of the queue is to pay by credit card, which I did. The first stop revealed a calming, vast view of Rio, including a miniature appearance of the Cristo Redemptor. It did not help that we were starving because I did not know who insisted on climbing the Sugarloaf Mountain first. I would have preferred just chilling at the hotel and waiting for sunset at the beach. Just perfect after a long, hot day. You will not find lunch at the top. Only snacks were sold and limited drinks. I and my sister and a Japanese colleague did not bother to go higher to the second cable car ride. The view would be the same view, only much smaller.
The highlight of our Sugarloaf Mountain trip.
Gotcha, little man. 🙂
Could this be a lemur? But they only live in Madagascar, right?
When in Rio, treat yourself to an açaí berry smoothie. But it tastes more delicious in Venice Beach in Los Angeles with all the smoke from weed junkies. Hahahah!
BONNE NUIT, RIO. WE HAD A MEMORABLE TIME!
View from our balcony. Took my breath away. Imagine sleeping with the sound of waves and mermaid dreams then waking up to this view in the early morning. :DDD
The Favela in the mountain.
At the airport, we met a friend who had a blast in Rio. They attended this party in a vacant lot where a huge crowd of party goers just bring their cars, the boom boxes, the booze and the ladies and go dancing like there is no tomorrow. The day we left there was also a kissing party going on. Sounded like fun, except for the free Hepatitis and what-nots that come free with every kiss. Hahah! Well, different strokes for different folks. 😉
Lots of tight hugs and wet kisses,