One word for Rio de Janeiro could be, wow! Tree-lined streets behind Copacabana and Ipanema, white beaches, and lots of thong-wearing bottoms. We embraced the buzzing atmosphere of people working and people with sand in every crack imaginable.
Just like in the James Bond movie Moonraker from 1979, Jesus (Christ the Redeemer) is still standing high, threatening the city with high levels of anxiety and guilt. After catching the wrong bus to Corcovado Mountain base, we then tried to find the right route with dusk approaching rapidly. After finding the way with still 600 meters in altitude to climb, we hailed a taxi who took us straight to the top. Unfortunately, we missed seeing the view of Rio during the day. Still, it was a speccy tail end of the sunset looking over Rio and her beautiful beaches.
We caught up with Sally and Bridget (Bronnie's stepsisters) at our hostel with plans to go out for a drink. Unfortunately, Bronnie was quite sick and had a relapse of asthma after 14 years in the clear. We blamed this on the mouldy room we stayed in in Sao Paulo and the pollution we had been sucking. Fortunately, Bronnie was well enough to join us all for a famous Brasilian buffet, which, of course, involves plenty of carbohydrates. We now understand why all the big bottoms exist.
The following day we caught up with Sally and Bridget for an afternoon of basking in the sun at Ipanema beach. We spent many days relaxing on the squelchy white sands of Rio, dreaming for more money. We have found Brasil and especially the bigger cities to be costly.
We heard from fellow travellers that the island of Ilha Grande was a treat to see. In hearing this, we backtracked south a few hours. We soon realised that this piece of paradise wasn't for us. It reminded us of any other tropical island with no waves you go to, to party with heaps of fellow gringos. This experience might be your thing, but not for us.
Feeling a bit edgy for more waves, we found ourselves 100km east of Rio in a surfing town called Saquarema, which didn't have awe-inspiring waves to keep us there too long. All the same, we were quite relaxed and spent more time soaking up the sun. This way-of-life is how we enjoyed the next town Arraial do Cabo. We met Andy here, a friend we met in Rio, who introduced us to our new love of Caprioskas. At $AUD3.80 for a 1-litre bottle of vodka, cheap limes with a touch of sugar made it hard to resist!
With the feeling of having a hole in our pocket, a limited amount of surfs and one more goal of reaching the colonial city of Salvador, we kept moving. Salvador became our target as our research had shown that the surf further north was quite inconsistent. After the surf we had already experienced in Brasil; we were keen to visit the west coast of South America.
Our days in Brasil quickly became numbered after booking a flight to Quito, Ecuador, for the 10th of August, 2011, from Salvador. This booking only gave us eight nights to spend between Itacare and Salvador. We spent 6 of the remaining eight nights in Itacare as the surf there was (ironically) too good to leave. After landing in Salvador and enjoying this colonial city's relaxed atmosphere, we realised we could have spent a bit longer here, especially as we saw some sick waves as we drove to the airport by our last bus in Brasil.
We travelled 5100kms in 48 days. These numbers calculate roughly 106 kilometres of travel per day on a bus while in Brasil. One comparison would be if you drove from Melbourne to Perth and then on to Broome. This distance would equate to 5550kms