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Brasil April 16, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Travel.

Hello. Apologies for not writing sooner, but the past week has been hectic to say the least. I currently write to you from Sao Paolo, where we have travelled for the weekend in order to attend the Skol Beats music festival. A selection of top international electronica DJs are playing tonight from 4pm to 6am (!). Of all things, BBC Radio 1´s Essential Selection will also be there with the likes of Pete Tong and Eddie Halliwell. I guess that´s a little bit of home.

Anyway, haven´t been too impressed with Sao Paolo. They call it ´Blade Runner in the tropics´ but I see nothing of the sort. It´s clearly bigger than Rio and Brazil´s economic capital, which makes for a rather run-down, hazy, polluted kind of place. It´s more cosmopolitan for sure but I´ve been disappointed. We went around the Japanese district of Liberdade yesterday and it really was quite scummy in places and not in a characteristic way like Kuala Lumpur´s Chinatown. Not at all the neon paradise I thought I might find, but hey, this is Brazil. On the plus side, Sao Paolo certainly does come alive at night. We went out to a bar with Pedro, his girlfriend and a few friends last night and that was pretty good. Paulista´s have a work hard play hard mentality so they are always fun. And man, are the Paulista women attractive!

You´re probably also wondering what else I´ve been up to since last Thursday. I think longer blog posts are in order when I return, in order to do justice to the high-life we have been living this mad mad week. But to give you an overview:

On Friday we had a slap up lunch at the exclusive Botafogo yacht club, followed by stunning views from Pao de Acucao, the Sugarloaf mountain. Stunning photos to follow. In the evening we attended the opening night of the Vivo Open Air festival: outdoor movies followed by a club night in a huge tent next door, all held at the Rio Jockey club. Movies and clubbing? It doesn´t get better than that.

Saturday we were hung over so we woke late and walked around Ipanema town, drinking juice and window shopping. In the evening we headed for the samba district of Lapa, to sample some fantastic Brazillian music. As Pedro put it ´Imagine you have a pencil stuck up your ass and then draw a figure eight. That´s samba dancing´

Sunday was Maracana Sunday. The world´s oldest football stadium hosted the first leg of the Rio state final: 2nd division minnows Vota Redonda against the Chelsea of Rio, Fluminese. It was an amazing game and an amazing experience. Vota went 2 down in 5 mins only to win 4-3 in the end!

Monday was another big day, up early to go trekking through the rainforest in Tijuca national park, scaling a huge mountain for another stunning view of the city. If that wasn´t enough we headed for the Christ the Redeemer for possibly the greatest view of Rio. Then in the evening, we were shown the other side of Rio at the semi-touristy club Help! on Copacobana. This needs more explaining, but in a nutshell, the place it full of prostitutes. It´s not a brothel but a meat market taken to it´s extreme and the women on offer are stunning. You would be shocked at how attractive many are. I´m rather glad (or frustrated) that I only had 60 Reais in my pocket. 300 Reais (60 pounds) would have bagged me someone several leagues out of mine. Ahem. Anyway, we got rather drunk and ended up swimming in Copacobana beach, where my glasses got swept away. I lost my heart in San Francisco, now I´ve lost my glasses in Rio de Janeiro.

Tuesday was obviously slow. But we did wke in time to drive over to the beach town of Buzios, where Pedro has a beach house. We had 3 days of wonderful beaches, sun, football, volleyball, kayaking, snorkling, stunning women, good seafood and more drunken nights out. We returned on Thursday in time to prepare for Sao Paolo. 9am Friday we were in flight and here we are.

Phew! Just thinking about it makes me tired! That just scratches the surface really. Pedro has been an exceptional guide, we really couldn´t have done as much without him. It´s been really good seeing him and Chris again. Speaking of which, I need to meet him for lunch.




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