After Carnival it was time to head south to the Brazil/Argentina border, where the beautiful Iguazu Falls are located. And look who I ran into while there…
Luke: classmate, coworker, friend, and another Bonderman Fellow who has been traveling in South America for eight months now. Our schedules happened to overlap for this part of the trip (he was in Argentina, I was in Brazil) so the falls were the perfect place to meet up and explore.
From Iguazu was an overnight bus ride to Florianopolis, an island in Southern Brazil where we got some clerical work out of the way (taxes, work, and school stuff) but were also able to explore the island by bus a bit and hike through the jungle to some remote beaches:
From Florianopolis was another night bus back to Rio. Here I need to give a HUGE thank you to the wonderful people at Books Hostel, where I spent the entire time in Rio. The people and atmosphere here are the best you can imagine, and the owners and staff are very helpful and full of great information about Rio and Brazil in general. On one of our first days here one of the owners, Felipe, took us to a soccer match where his team, Fluminense Football Club, ended up winning the state championship:
A lot of time here was spent at the beaches as well, which were very different from those in Florianopolis, but classically Brazilian.
Near the hostel were plenty of things to do too. Just up the hill were the ruins of an old house along with views of the Lapa neighborhood, where our hostel was located.
Just down the hill from the ruins were the Lapa Steps, where Snoop Dogg’s “Beautiful” video was shot. One man tiled this entire project as a tribute to the Brazilian people and to make his neighborhood more beautiful. We walked here at night several times, where impromptu bands would set up and play for hours.
The street art in general in Rio was amazing. These two guys worked at the Books Hostel, and created this piece over two nights while a small group of us bought beer from street vendors and watched the work unfold. One was better at working with colors, while the other was better at anatomy, so seeing them collaborate and work back and forth together was pretty amazing.
With the Carnival prices coming down a bit, we were also able to do some more of the tourist type things in Rio. One day was spent at the Botanical Gardens, followed by a trip up to Christ the Redeemer, were the clouds rolled in just as the sun was setting.
But by far the highlight of the tourist activities was a trip to a beach just past Copacabana and Ipanema, where hang gliders filled the skies
and others landed on the beach just in front of you
but the feeling didn’t sink in until you were next in the queue, standing at the top of the ramp
or finally soaring in the skies over Rio
I didn’t get any personal pictures from hang gliding, but go to Luke’s Blog for pictures and video shortly for a rough idea of what it was like (hint: it was awesome!). Check out his blog in general as well, he’s had quite an adventure to say the least!
Edit: Here ya go!
I just left Rio heading north, and am in the state of Bahia at the moment. Posts from northern Brazil to come, until then take care and keep in touch!