Peurto iguazu to Rio
Well in choosing my flights, I decided to have another day in Peurto iguazu and just pay for the direct flight to Rio (there's one on a Saturday and one on a Thursday from there only). So after spending day not really doing too much, I waited for the van to pick me up. It was 15 minutes late and still had to pick people up so I was really having to give myself psychology as the time kept ticking closer to when my flight took off. It felt like the bus was doing interval runs as there were so many random speed bumps on way to airport.
When I finally got there, I was stressing as I waited in line to check in whilst time checking. When I made it to the desk, the man starts checking me in but then says 'you know what happened to your flight right?. Mmm 'No!' My flight had been canceled so they were flying me to Buenos Aires and then to Rio from there and I shouldn't worry because my bags would be priority and would make it with me. He said instead of arriving at 730 I would be arriving at midnight. Nevertheless, I heard later on that it would actually be 2am. Fear of staying in a favela and getting g there grew by a million when thinking about that time. I told the guy I planned of taking a bus but knew they finished at 11pm. He said he would sort out transportation.
I got on the plane and anxiously looked at tickets as seemed i would be arriving at same time as check in for next flight. I tried to be relaxed the whole flight but I was probably so annoying to sit with as was fidgety from constantly thinking about my plan of action.
We arrived after the time of boarding and several of us rushed to the next plane. Going through customs and passport control at the highest speed possible, I rushed to the gate with only 20 minutes left til it left. Nevertheless, it was still not boarding. Stress for what? Haha.
I then asked about my transportation and the clever Londoner next to me who was complaining she had sore ears and should be upgraded due to the airline mess, said I should get a hotel. Good on you lady because they agreed and my anxiety was relieved knowing I had a ticket to accommodation, taxi and food.
It's 3 am when I get my bags etc and look for the aero linges airline desk and nobody is to be seen. Nobody from any of the airlines. No wonder it's 3 am. Finally I found a worker who went to fetch someone for me. Thankfully they knew I was coming and took me into the office and sorted everything out. It was then I remembered how beautiful that Brazillians are, to give feeling of safety and care.
I scored on the hotel front. A couple hours of sleep in luxury :) pool, gym, yummy breakfast. Finally no room sharing, a warm powerful shower, a double bed, no messy people...awh :)
Well I think I can say this is my favourite place. You can be here alone and not feel lonely. Maybe it's my attachment to Brazil but I just love every part of it (I havn't been robbed yet so I'm okay just now).
To be honest, staying in a favela I was growing to be really anxious. Hearing everyone in my head about the dangers, I was scared. Nevertheless from the moment I left the hotel, people have been nothing but helpful and friendly.
On the bus, I had my first conversation in Portuguese with some English slips. The guy I was speaking to had been learning English with duolingo as I have with Portuguese. A geography teacher from Amazonia who is doing a phd in belo Horizonte ( this was all my understanding). Anyway from then the bus driver told me were to get off, even though I had been following the map just incase he forgot but he never :)
Anyway I walked towards the favela and then yikes it wasn't matching up with what they told me in an email. I asked an older couple who put me onto a woman (mulher). She spoke to English and I swear she was my angel. She took me street to street trying to find it, asking people for help, and took me right to the door. Although going into a favela isn't like any other walk. Woah, uphill at basically the top incline and then stairs and a massive backpack. I was sweating so much whilst trying to concentrate on not falling backwards and doing a dying fly. After many attempts and questions to the locals, she got me there safely. I was so grateful to arrive even in a sweaty mess. What a view. I got to my room and as i looked out, i heard a huge bang. Bang bang!!! I looked out with my heart in my mouth! Then again! Bang bang! I was looking to see if there was anything but just a little smoke. I didn't have an adapter that would fit and all my devices were losing life. So off I went to find one. Well it wasn't that easy. It took me a little courage and a pep talk to leave and I asked the women working, 'excuse me, was that a gun shot?' And she laughed, 'no fireworks, many fire works! Party!' Hahaha oops!
Ipanama - the most beautiful people I've ever seen. It's definitely not Benidorm that's for sure. One group were playing foot volley for the whole day. People were playing volleyball. People were running. People on bikes, on long boards, on roller blades. All different people but my goodness I've never seen so many ripped people in the one area. Muscles that I didn't even know existed in real life.
There was a football game on the tv and when goal is scored or something is done well then everyone celebrates. You can hear cheers all round :) pride in their sport that's for sure. When watching the game I met a nice guy from Salvador who had just moved to Rio so he was my friend for the night. It is so nice here because you chat, chat and chat. Even when got back to hostel I was listening and trying to understand two people from São Paulo and had a good conversation with an Italian translating. This is the universal world that I love.
Being safety minded, I took a taxi home through the favela to the hostel. As I got to the hostel door, there were 6 cops outside on the stairs with all different guns. Oh my!!! I couldn't get into the hostel quick enough haha!
Nevertheless, I couldn't wait to wake up again so I could enjoy more of this amazing city. So much to do. So much to see. And in the sunshine. Beautiful.
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.