I go to Rio
Hello friends. Well, we have certainly put a few hundred miles behind us since we last wrote from Mendoza. We have just arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after a 22 hour bus ride. That trip wasn’t anywhere near as horrible as it might sound. They have excellent buses here. We have just settled into a cute little hostel and have popped down to Copacabana beach for a beer and pizza. Sounds a bit like the life eh. But before we get too into the Rio scene, here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to.
Buenos Aires - it’s all about the cows
BA was a busy and happening city with lots of things to see and do. The city is full of statues of old dudes in heroic poses. We don’t know what many of them did. One was The Liberator - there were lots of statues of him. I think one was of the first head librarian of BA Public Library - not so many of him, although he did have a more heroic looking beard. BA is actually quite a dangerous city to walk around. Not because of crime or anything, but because the pavement is so damned uneven. They just can’t make up their mind what level to do their paving at. You also need to keep a careful eye out for biohazardous material of the canine variety. Could cause a nasty inconvenience. Nevertheless, Shelly and I risked these hazards to walk all over town and photograph the many magnificent buildings in the city. There were some exceptional 19th century buildings.
BA also has a reputation for great nightlife. The Argentinean’s just love staying out late. They are crazy, I mean dig this - they don’t go out to dinner until 10 or 11 in the EVENING!!! And their nightclubs don’t even open until 2am in the MORNING. CRAZY!!! Actually it isn’t that crazy considering that many people work quite late hours. It seemed to us that hairdressers kept the latest opening hours; we’d often pass a hairdresser’s still open and working at 11.30 at night. So, given that many people are working till at least 10 going out to dinner after 10 makes a lot of sense. And by the time you’ve eaten and then popped into a nice bar for a couple of cervezas, heading to a nightclub after 2 makes sense too. Shelly and I went to the Opera Bay nightclub on Saturday and it was pumping. Lots of tourists and locals go there - there are 5 bar areas all playing different music. The place was great for people watching (i.e., perving). Shelly would have liked to have stayed until dawn but Paul the Piker had had enough of listening to 50 Cent at 5.30am, so we went home. The guide books all make a fuss about needing to really dress up to enjoy the BA but we didn’t find that. Most people dressed just the same there for the clubs as they do at home.
We also took in the obligatory Tango show, which was pretty cool and muy sexy. Paul bought himself a tango hat and occasionally wears it in public (muy nada sexy).
Food in BA is great. Given that BA is a cow town - founded on leather, cheese and beef - Argentinean cuisine basically consists of steak with a side serving of steak and optional entrails. We ate at two good bbq restaurants and enjoyed huge, fantastic steaks. Wasn’t game to eat the bulls testicles though. On the second night we were a bit beefed out so I asked for a small cut. The waiter suggested the tenderloin at just 400 grams but I ended going for a flank cut. It was smaller, only about 7 inches long by 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick - except their were too of them. It tasted beautiful but I couldn’t eat them both. The waiter was disgusted at my girlish efforts and called me muy loco. Now I know there are some of you out there that are reading this and thinking ¨wow, sounds like the place for me!¨ But hold on there tiger! Before you go reaching for your ¨where’s the beef?" apron and an airline ticket, it all sounds great but there is actually a limit to how much steak a normal human can eat, especially because the Argentinean’s second favorite cooking ingredient is cheese. Surprisingly we’ve hardly seen any fat people over here, nor many old people for that matter. This is because I am reliably informed that people here die of congestive heart failure by the time they turn 40.
After an 18 hour bus ride we arrived at Iguazu falls on the border with Brazil. They are simply amazing. I would be wasting my breath describing them (or my fingers as the case may be) so its best if I just let a couple of photos do all the talking.
Shelly and I have set world records for taking the most number of photos at Iguazu, beating our own world record previously set at Recoleta cemetery in BA. It sounds weird but Recoleta, a 19th century cemetery is an amazing tourist attraction and photographers dream. All those rich Argentineans of the 19th century tried to outdo each other by building the most magnificent tomb or monument so it's a marvellous repository of architecture and sculpture. They didn’t bury anyone actually in the cemetery though as the ground is too moist. Instead they just stack the coffins on the floor of the tombs, so you can peek in the doors and there are the coffins. It’s creepy but kind of cool.
Back to Rio
Shelly says she will have to take my camera away from me when we venture down to the beach. I think she said something about me being a pervert and not to be trusted. Sorry boys, there will be no photos of the chicitas on the beach. Girls, I’m pretty sure Shelly will have a couple of shots of some bronzed caballeros for you though.
Anyway, that’s all from us for the moment. We are heading off to watch a Brazilian football game. Exciting. Hope everyone is well. We are going great over here. Ahhhh, the life....
Lots of love
Shelly and Paul