Day 4 - Today we went to the Maracana stadium to watch the semi-final between Flamengo and Vasco [basically a massive local derby]. It was insane.
We were supposed to have been picked up at our hostel at 1.45 but by 2.45 there was still no sign of our mate Marcio. We did think we had be had… Anyway he finally turned up and we rocked up 10 minutes before kick off. We were suppose to be in the middle of a tourist section of the stadium but I´m not sure how true that was. We were mixing it up in the middle of the flamengo fans. The stadium had 70,000 people in and the atmosphere was incredible, I have never experienced anything like it. It really did feel like it could erupt at anytime. To get in you had to lift up your t-shirt so show that you weren´t carrying a gun - nice!!!
We got some class photos and vidoes of the game and flamengo won 2-1, which was good for us. As we were leaving the Vasco fans on the floor above us were throwing stuff down including a massive banger which went off a few metres away from us - we possibly jumped Plenty of riot police were there for our protection…
We then waited 45mins for the tour guide who had left with out us. That wasn´t fun bearing in mind that the two teams are followed by two of the biggest favelas. Anyway we survived… and never paid for the trip - bonus!
Day 5 - After umming and arring we decided to do the favela tour. We weren´t sure whether it was morally right to basically go and look at where people poorer than you live. However the company we went with gives most of the money to help develop the favelas for the children so we went.
What a great decision it was too. It was unlike anything I could have imagined, like a completely different world.
Firstly to get to the top of the favela we had to do what the locals do and ride on the back of a motorbike. This was a little ropey seem as they don´t have sides to the roads, they just go where they think they will fit - not always the case. The ride was actually quite fun until my drive just stopped and gestured for me to get off, even though none of the rest of the touring group were there. I was definitely a little nervous. How about you just drop me off in the middle of the favelas on my own! Luckily a couple of minutes later the tour guide drove past and saw me.
A bit further up Jonny and I had to stop, get off and walk a little because there was a lorry turning in the road. Also there was around a dozen Polica with massive machine guns lining the street - nice. Those guns combined with the couple of hand guns seen on the way up made it all the more interesting.
At the top the guide explained a couple of things to us - such as if you see a guy with either a walkie talkie, firework, or gun then lower your cameras because they are the drug dealers and they will confiscate the camers. While he was explaining this stuff a woman - of the big ugly variety - came over and started stroking Adam´s arm and kissing it, his face was brilliant. Then she tried to kiss everyone and the guide told us to make sure she didn´t kiss you on the lips - nice!
On the way into the favelas a guy let off a firework metres from us. This is what they do when the see polica to warn the drug dealers to be ´ready´for an attack! It frightened us but the guide said we were really lucky because that doesn´t happen often. Not sure how lucky I felt.
The tour was a strange experience, it was like a completely alien world. Very difficult to describe. Plus I don´t have a clue how anyone can find their way around, it is like a giant maze. We also got to visit the day centres that the money was being put towards which was good. Plus we visited an artist who´s work was great, if I´d had room I would have got something.
That night we had a good last night in the hostel bar. Had a small pub quiz where we came 3rd - not sure about that, another team got them all right and was friends with the quizmaster - hmmmm.
Day 6 - Nice early start today. We travelled to Ilha Grande which is the biggest of 300 islands. Took a few hours on the bus through scenic countryside. I slept all the way though.
At Angra dos Reis we had to then get a boat to the island because there are no cars allowed on there. The boat trip took about 1 and a half hours - again I slept.
Just as we were pulling up in the dock it started to rain. It was ridiculous. Even the rain over here is better the English stuff Basically it took about 10sec to be completely soaked through. With nowhere to stay we just ran straight into the nearest hotel which turned out very nicely. They had a three man room for 40 Reais each with air con - bonus.
That night we had a nice little walk about town which was really quaint. We also found a tour guide that would take us around the island to 9 different beaches in a speedboat. It was pretty expensive but we decided it had to be done. We booked it for the next day at 9am.
Day 7 - Early start again. We got to the tour shop about 8.50 but the owner started saying big problem, big problem. We thought he was messing around because he thought he was a bit of a joker. Turns out that it was actually 9.50 and the boat had gone - oops!
Anyway we made the most of it, booked for the next day for a small fee to cover fuel costs which was kind of the guy and then went on another boat trip to a beach called Lopez Mendez. It is really protected so no boats are allowed there so we had to get a boat to another beach and then trek about 20 minutes to get there. It was magnificent. 4km of perfect beach. It was quiet, had jungle and no buildings behind it and then jungle covered mountains behind that. It was probably the best beach I have ever been to - and no burning. Picture soon I hope.
Day 8 - We made it on time today!!! The boat was loaded up and snorkelling gear sorted out and then we were off about 9.30. Fortunately there was the odd bit of cloud cover to minimise a day of burning hot sun.
The first stop was a small cove which was perfect for snorkelling. It was the first time I had snorkelled and it was a little weird at first - having the head in the water but breathing, strange. It was amazing how much you could actually see though. So many fish and other stuff I don´t have clue about. By this time the sun was out so you could see pretty deep down. The best thing we saw here was a strange long fish about a metre long which was no wider than 3cm. It was black with illuminous red and blue dots along it´s spine.
We then stopped at a couple of beautiful deserted beaches which were amazing but not quite as good as Lopez Mendez. We couldn´t really snorkel here.
The next place we stopped had areas to snorkel. Jonny followed the Captain - who has the best job ever, drives a speedboat and goes snorkelling everyday around the best beaches - and they found a stingray which would have been cool to see.
The next place we stopped was the best place we snorkelled. It had loads of different stuff and some nice coral. We again saw some fish with illuminous bits but this time it was a big shoal of them. Ellis and Jonny saw a sea turtle whereas I saw a sea snake!!! But to be fair I didn´t panick like I expected I would when I saw a snake. I just kept an eye on it while I floated back until I was far enough away to leg it without startling it… Gutted about not seeing the turtle though.
Next we stopped at a feeding area for turtles. So we snorkelled through the middle of this hoping to see some. Jonny saw one, and Ellis and I saw a couple which was amazing. I could have stayed there looking for more for ages but unfortunately we had to leave. I still loved!
The next few stops were more of the same but we spent less time here because it had been a long day and people were getting tired. Usually it was just Jonny and me that would get out of the boat. Of these last few stops the best was a place where there were hundreds of fish swimming around us and when Ellis threw some biscuits in they would all jump around eating then and occasionally nibbling us.
Great day and well worth the money (and the extra money).