‘Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand…’

Yes, the above lyrics are from a Duran Duran song, and I did post a link to the full version on youtube in a previous post (‘Song-inspiration…songsspiration?’), and those were the lyrics my sister texted me when I told her where my next stop was after Peru. Yes, it’s Río de Janeiro, Brazil. Since coming here actually I’ve learnt that it means ‘january river’. When the city was discovered, it was originally thought that it was a river rather than a city.

 

So I arrived here at the beginning of the week after a short flight from CUZ to LIM, then after a 9 hour wait in LIM and a short overnight flight to GIG, I arrived here at about 5am. As there’s only a two hour time difference between Peru and Brazil, I don’t think I’d get away with saying I was jetlagged. But I was very sleepy.

 

Luckily, I had a transfer pre-booked to my hostel in Copacabana (‘her name was Lola, she  was a showgirl…’). Even though my reservation here wasn’t until Monday night, the lovely carioca working the nightshift let me into the hostel and I napped in the communal area until everyone started coming down for breakfast and waking me up.

 

When I finally stopped being tired and left the hostel, I decided it would be nice to go for a walk along the famous beach. I was wrong, it rained all day Monday and then most of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Monday, my first day here, it rained so much that I was forced to buy an umbrella. I don’t generally use umbrellas as they tend to break, but this one doubles up as a souvenir of Río too. Coming to Río, I was hoping for a relaxing week on the beach after the busy couple of weeks I’d had in Perú. The rain ruined those plans.

 

Despite the lack of good weather, until the past couple of days where it has been sunny, not rainy, and no clouds in sight, Río is nice. It’s a very big city, there are many different parts to it, Copacabana being just one.

 

I have ventured into the city centre too. I done a free walking tour, which was run by 2 lovely and very enthusiastic friends (www.freewalkertours.com). It’s not exactly free though, as they rely on tips. This means you can give them as much as you like, depending on how good you found the tour. Tours like this are a great way to learn about the sights and the history of the city. I found it very interesting and would highly recommend it.

 

The tour also took us to a famous set of stairs- Escadria Selaron. These steps, located in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood, are famous for two reasons. The first is that Selaron, a Chilean man who lived in the neighbourhood, tiled the steps in order to make the neighbourhood a nicer one as it was quite run down and had a bad reputation. The second reason is that Snoop Dogg shot a music video there. I’m not entirely sure which one, but I have been told it was the video for ‘Beautiful’.

The steps themselves are beautiful. It’s a very creative way to enhance a neighbourhood. It’s reputation still isn’t the best, and as I walked down the stairs there was a smell of weed so strong I thought I might get high off just the smell. Santa Teresa is now a much more beautiful place for the residents to live. It’s one part of Río worth a visit, and to entice the tourist even more, you can even have your photo taken on the steps and get it put on a tile, though sadly not a tile with which to decorate the steps, as when Selaron died, it was presumed that the steps were finished and as he’s wanted them (before he died- January 2013- he stated that he would complete the stairs himself).

 

I haven’t danced on the sand yet, like the song suggests, I haven’t even really been on the beach yet. I’m planning on going to the beach over the weekend, and I might even do a dance on the sand.

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