Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain.
The hotel I was staying had the nicest location, in front of the Ipanema beach. It was a posh and classical beach. Brazilian are health freak by the way, I had stop counting people jogging along the beach. They jogged day and night, half-naked or bikini style, alone or in groups, with dogs or etc etc. It was a crime to be not exercising and healthy! The waves were gigantic too! I was swept away by the wave, no kidding, I almost shouted for the lifeguard but luckily a big wave swirled me back to the shore. Phew... swimming above the ocean is definitely more dangerous than diving into it. Surfing was another common practice there. Watching the surfers glided through the waves was simply joyful.
Brazilian coffee motto: One Country, Many Flavours.
Of course, I had been living in bed of roses. There was no such thing as perfect in the world, I had yet to see the ugly side. In fact, Brazil is notorious for its favela where the poor housing area stationed by many drug addicts, perverts and criminals. It was taunting that it occupied quite a lot of area in Rio, either uphill or near the coast. I passed by the area on the way to airport. The lake in front stunk to the max and the houses were nothing more than simple brick build-up from nowhere. Backpackers should definitely avoid these places but ironically, they had favela tour available for curious backpacker. I was so tempted to join the tour but finally dropped the idea after advised by my host. Better to see the famous Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue, one of the new Seven Wonders. Nonetheless, Jesus must hate me because when I ascended to the hill, the fog rushed in and covered the statue. Only several of my photos were clear. Needless to mention, I did not see the aerial view of Rio, what a big let down. In my opinion, I do not think it deserves to be one of the Seven Wonders. Imagine that I took elevator and lift to reach the statue, totally no match with the Giza Pyramid. Equally popular tourist spot was the Sugar Loaf Mountain, which could also offer the swept view of Rio de Janeiro. Rio was certainly something extraordinary, half-moon-shape beach with monolithic granite mountains in between. I believe this is the city with the most accessible beaches (Ipanema and Copacabana) in the world. Double thumb up!
The Rio symbolic Christ the Redeemer Statue, Seven Wonder of The World.
In short, do I like Rio de Janeiro? Hmmm… It’s complicated. Do I want to live there? Definitely NO. Do I like to visit Rio again? Definitely YES. The best beach that I have ever been (Vs Greek island beaches and Italian beaches, yet to comment on Australian beaches).
MET EXPECTATION: Spectacular beaches, machos and chicks, football fans, cool Capoeira dance, diverse races.
CAUGHT OFFGUARD: Soft and polite Portuguese speaker, artistic and cultural, dog lovers (as comparable as European), fatless and healthy food.
Paintings displayed at Hippie Fair on Sunday Morning, Ipanema.