So we saw Ipanema and that- it was pretty good- except the water was the colour of coke- so a little bit suspicious on the cleanliness front. We also dont have any pictures of a lot of Rio because the area we were in was a bit dodgy (on our first venture outside the hostel we saw a woman actually taking a dump against a wall. Classy). So after getting ridiculously hot on the beach for an hour or so, we went and had a walk around the Ipanema area, which was quite nice. We probably went to one of the street parties that night, cant quite remember- but they were cool- loads of people chilling and dancing on the street, playing bongos and singing and stuff. Pretty cool- you could buy ridiculously strong street drinks as well which were basically a cup full of rum with a bit of lime in for about r$5 (less than 2 pounds), or just bring your own beer for a cheap night out.
Before new years, we also decided to visit the Tijuca rainforest just outside of Rio, but foolishly forgot about the rain element of the word ´rainforest. We got soaked. After a 10 minute trek, we came across a pretty big waterfall which was cool, but at that point we decided we were just about wet enough and turned around to go back. What losers, well have to do it again at the end of our journey.
New years eve itself was also cool- it did not rain at all which was lucky, and we headed to Copacabana where they had set up a huge stage for bands and that. It was cool cause everyone there was singing along to some bands Id never heard of doing Samba covers and stuff. Its cool that Brazil has this sort of national genre, that everyone in the country loves, both young and old. You dont really get that sense of a communal genre in England, so that was nice to watch. So anyway, after a bit of this, I really needed a piss, so headed off to find a toilet. 2 million people is a big crowd to make your way through. It took me nearly 2 hours, and I nearly missed the fireworks. Silly boy. The fireworks were cool, they launched them off 5 floating barges off copacabana beach which was wicked. Considerably more so than trying to get a bus back, which was a nightmare. The bus was basically sat amongst a sea of people, it was boiling hot, and there were loads of really loud locals who clearly hadnt had enough samba at the beach, and so started thumping beats on the roof and shouting the lyrics to songs. It probably would have been alright if we werent so tired!
So after getting safely back to the hostel at 5 in the morning(despite being told by some locals that the bus didnt stop in Lapa, which caused a minor panic) we had a shower, slept for 2 hours, and then got up again to get a 26 hour bus at 9:30 to go to Porto Alegre. The bus journey itself was alright- until Sadie got her Ipod nicked, probably while we were asleep on the bus. What a pisser. Nevermind though, could have been much worse. Just need to be more careful in future.
So now were in Porto Alegre, a town in which nothing is open. Nothing. Everything is shut. So its pretty boring (although some parts look quite nice), and were getting on another nightbus tonight to go to the Chui/Chuy border crossing into Uruguay, along with some guys we met here who decided to come with us. Awesome. Anyway, thats pretty much it- goodbye Brazil!