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Around the World in 30 days : First Stop Brazil

Updated on April 4, 2011


Although this challenge sounds almost impossible, I am driven by the desire to share my travel experiences with the world. So dear hubbers and non-hubbers read on and please leave me some feedback to keep me going.

View of Rio
View of Rio | Source
Mmmm very nice empanadas
Mmmm very nice empanadas | Source

Rio de Janeiro

Even now, years after my first visit to Rio, when I think of Rio I can feel the throbbing of the city like nowhere else.

After being greeted by the tourist police wearing T-shirts saying “I am looking after You”, I felt quite safe, contrary to what everyone said about Rio. Once at the hotel, my travel companion and I dropped our luggage at the hotel and immediately went out to explore. Certainly not the Rio we expected; everything was closed and then we saw a procession of army tanks. We wondered if we were in the middle of a coup and we managed to scare ourselves to death. When we got back to the hotel safely, the hotel staff laughed as we asked if there was a coup and politely announced that it was the independence day of Brazil.

Next day we met the Rio we had expected: busy, lively and people looked relaxed and happy (the areas we visited were away from the favelas). Our trip to Pao Azucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) was magical, postcard view of Rio.

The Food was something else. I loved the food served at the very basic local food stands as it appealed to my exotic food palate. In the evening we went to Karlitos and stupidly ordered 2 meals when Brazilians order one plate and they share between two. We also had coffee and cakes in Confeiteria de Comlombo, a beautiful place with Belgium glass and mirrors. And we did not get mugged and did not have our hands chopped off for our watches as predicted by many people who have never been to Rio!

My adopted family on the riverboat crossing from Porto Velho to Manaus
My adopted family on the riverboat crossing from Porto Velho to Manaus | Source
The little alligator from the spot where we swam earlier
The little alligator from the spot where we swam earlier | Source

Amazon Rainforest

After a week’s drive with a few interesting stops along the way, lunch at the pretty colonial town of Ouro Preto, the soulless futuristic capital city of Brazil, Brasilia, we finally reached the town of Porto Velho from where we take our boat on the Rio Madeira to Manaus, from where our Amazon jungle trip starts. We spent five days swinging in our hammocks on the boat surrounded by locals who were all travelling to different little villages along the river. I befriended a mother travelling with 5 children and they adopted me as part of their family. It was fun playing with the kids when I could not read anymore and there was really nothing to do except from watching the world go by.

Finally after changing boats a few times and stopping for hours at villages for no particular reason and having bouts of food poisoning, we arrived at our Jungle lodge in the jungle. We could not sleep with all the jungle noises, frogs so loud we were convinced they were in our hammocks. We had a swim in the river near our lodge, then in the evening our guide went and got an alligator from the river to educate us about their habitat. He also announce that the piranhas and alligators keep each other in balance so we are safe. Quite a shock to all those who swam in the river earlier.  Were we brave or just foolish?

On the last day in the jungle we had a lovely 5 hours trek examining all the fauna and flora of the amazon. Fabulous mahogany trees, rubber trees and paraffin trees, which the locals use for fuel. I was happily following the guide when suddenly I saw a lovely stream just to the right of our path and I was so sweaty and sticky that I decided to go and wash my hands and before I even realised what had happened I was knee deep in quicksand. I felt this giant was hanging on to my legs and pulling me. Luckily for me, my guide ran to me and with the help of a few others managed to drag me out. I was shouted at NEVER EVER EVER LEAVE THE PATH…I did not mind being shouted at…I am still alive to write about it.


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      Lavonn 3 years ago

      The answer of an exterp. Good to hear from you.

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      Dusky 6 years ago

      Hey great Hub. Brazil is amazing!