|Rio de Janeiro - another fab city!! Not as cultural or sophisticated as BA, but still has great people, nightlife and most importantly great beaches! Is a lot dirtier and pretty dangerous (so many people got robbed - I was lucky - I did have some money stolen but thankfully wasn't at knife/gun point like most people!) But I still really liked the city and despite not always feeling very safe it did have a good vibe to it... reminded me of Kingston and Jamaica in a lot of ways...probably mainly the music and nightclub dancing!
We went to a football game at the new Pan American stadium which was absolutely mental - South American football matches are great, so much better than England ones! The atmosphere was amazing as was a Rio derby Fluminense vs Botafogo (who we were supporting and fortunately we won 2-1). So the only Portuguese I now know is football songs - am sure will be useful one day...
Saw all the major sights - Copacabana & Ipanema beaches, Sugar loaf mountain and of course Christ the Redeemer statue - which is the most impressive! It`s so big and the views of the city up there are great. Unfortunately don`t have many photos of around the city as everyone that took their camera`s out to the beaches got them stolen so always left mine behind!
Another thing some tourists do in Rio is go and visit one of the favela`s (slums) - they get a lot of bad press about being so dangerous but I thought that if they take tourists there on a daily basis it couldn't be that bad. Nearly ¾ of the population of Rio live in favela`s and it was pretty shocking to be honest to see how they live. Each favela is ruled by drug barons and there is reportedly lots of violence and people killed every day. It was very frightening to see everyone walking around with guns just casually in their hands, but the tour guide reassured us we were safe as long as we didn't take any pictures of people with guns or try and buy drugs inside the favela. We went into a childrens day care centre (a charity set up by the tourist`s money that go and visit) and played with them for a while - it was quite sad to see the environment they were growing up in - especially when you asked them what they want to be when they grow up, they`d always answer either a footballer or a drug dealer! The only people they know with money!
So, time to leave South America and feeling a bit emotional, can`t believe it`s come to an end, i`ve loved it. Am sure Sydney will be great, especially to see Beth and my old friends again, but will be so strange being back in such a civilised nation! But only for a week and then it`s onto Asia..can`t wait to travel in a new continent!