Some pics and a video thanks to my buddy, Mattis.
Rio is an incredible place, it definitely lives up to all of my expectations. Brazil is one of those countries that has always captured my imagination. It brings exotic images to mind of the Amazon, beaches, and beautiful women. To be here now and see it all confirmed is really cool.
the city itself is a mix of old and new, with skyscrapers sitting right next to stone buildings that are hundreds of years old. There is also a striking mix of poverty and wealth. The city is long and narrow, crowded between the beaches (which are beautiful) and the mountains. The further from the beach you go up into the mountains the poorer it becomes. The flavelas, or shanty towns, are very dangerous and home to extreme poverty. But only a few blocks close to the water and you have beautiful tree lined streets and lifestyles very similar to the USA.
Speaking of which, the people here are amazing. They are really outgoing and eager to talk to you , even if you have no common language! Portuguese is tough to understand as unlike Spanish, it is not phonetic. It sounds a lot different than you would think looking at it written. There are lots of sh and z sounds and they speak pretty fast, making it difficult to pick up words. However the natural friendliness of the people tends to make communication no problem.
It seems like a lot of the people here are really into fitness as well as everywhere you see people jogging, cycling, playing volleyball, soccer, or footvolley (volleyball with your feet). Most of the guys go around shirtless and most of them are ripped! The girls as has been said a million times, are very beautiful as well. The people here also LOVE to party. They go out early and all night, usually until the sun comes up.
Last night we went out to a part of town called Lapa with a group of 25 backpackers and had a great time. The entire section of town is one great big party, with people walking the streets drinking, eating street food, going into and out of bars and clubs. There are Samba bands on the street and people dance anywhere and everywhere. It felt like a festival there were so many people, but its like that every Friday and Saturday night! We had a great time dancing with the locals who like Colombians, are very good. The culture here is very exuberant and it seems like everyone loves to live.
Mattis and I also went out with a local named Rafeal who is a friend of a Brazilian guy Mattis met traveling in Russia named Luciano. Rafeal took us to a great club not knowing us from a can of paint and introduced us to all his friends and gave us the VIP treatment just off of the good word of his buddy. That is pretty typical of the people here.
We are going to do a tour of the city but it has been raining during the day for the past few days, unfortunately. We also plan on going to watch a soccer game tomorrow night which should be really fun. After that, we wrap up our time in Rio and head up to Salvador for Carnival which if normal life here in Rio is any indication, should be insane.
I will upload some pics tomorrow.