It’s my first day back on the ship from leaving Brazil. What an amazing country. When I got off the ship, some of my friends and I went straight into the Amazon. We took a boat far from part and went on a canoe ride through the small waterways. We saw monkeys and beautiful birds along with many homes and families who live there. Unlike many students, I went to Rio de Janeiro…one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I walked on the beaches, shopped in the famous markets, went hang gliding over the city, walked through the favelas and experienced Brazilian nightlife!
The first day of the trip was strictly to see the Amazon. We saw the different waterways connecting, dolphins, monkeys, natives and some of the biggest lily pads in the world. After getting back to land, we headed straight for the airport to catch a plane to Rio! It was the equivalent of a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago. We arrived at around 10p.m and headed out for the night. We went to a local Brazilian bar and had Caperchina’s and Acqi!
The next day we got an early start. We woke up, had breakfast and met our tour guide and topless Jeeps for a tour of the city. Our first stop was the Christ the Redeemer Statue – one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was an incredible statue. It stands 30 feet tall and can be seen from almost any angle of the city. The view from the top was amazing; you could clearly see the skyline of Rio, the favelas, and the crispy blue ocean with a bridge stretching across it. After that, we drove though the jungle of Rio. Right in the center of Rio is a huge jungle. There, we saw monkeys, turtles, and more birds. When we drove down the mountain to the beach, we could see hang gliders, floating down over the city. My friend said he was absolutely going to do it…so 16 of us decided to go. We all decided to go and before we knew it we were at the top of a mountain, looking at the platform at the edge of it. I was terrified. The view from the top was unbelievable. It seemed unreal that I would be floating over Rio until I saw Colleen run off the platform to take off. I didn’t know but how you being hang gliding is to run straight off a mountain. I was freaking out for about an hour but then it was my turn to go. I had to sprint off a mountain…and I did. It was incredible. I was in the air for about 30 minutes just looking at the city under me. After that the group and I decided to go to a Brazilian Steakhouse as a celebration. It was about 40 US Dollars and it was an all you can eat buffet. Every type of meat was available – even chicken heart. They would bring it around on rods and gently cut off a piece or two for you. They also had beans, sushi, salad and French fries, etc. If you wanted it, they had it. After shoving our faces we went back to the hotel to change for the night. We went to a Samba class and then went to a samba club to use our new skill. After that we went to a few bars and experienced the different types of nightlife in Rio.
The next morning we woke up early again and got a bus to the favelas. The favelas are slums in Brazil. Right in the middle of Rio are favelas. They are government run slums where people live. Since they are government run, there are schools and sewers there. We walked through it and painted a mural for the children. We also played soccer with them. After all of that, we took pictures with the children and they loved it. They would then take pictures and stare at the screen after the picture would be taken. We then went to the Old City and shopped walking around the markets and meeting different locals. My friend and I took the Metro back to the hotel where we met up with everyone again to go out for the night. We all met and went to the same Brazilian Steakhouse we went to right after hang gliding – it was that delicious! After that we went out to another bar and had more Brazilian drinks and snacks before heading to the airport at 3a.m. to fly back to Manaus to get back on the ship!
Brazil was a fascinating country with flavor. The locals were very nice and helped us get around wherever we needed to go. I will definitely come back to Brazil at some point and hopefully visit Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro again for Carnival!