The biggest problem with Rio was that it is a City…and a city is a place where people live in order to go to work and go about their daily lives. We don’t work and our lives are far from normal…hence cities aren’t usually so enticing to us. In Panama City we saw the canal, in Bogota we hung out with Couchsurfers, and in Lima we took some time from our hectic travel schedule to get visas for Bolivia and Brazil. Here in Rio though, we found one of the most amazing cities in the world.
I think the best way to describe Rio is that it is what you would get if you bulldozed Miami and put New York City along the banks of Biscayne Bay. An eclectic mix beachgoers, business people, cross dressers and travelers, it is the first place I was able to wear shorts and not feel like someone had written the word tourist across my back. Nestled amongst beautiful bays, stunning beaches, and rainforest covered hills, Rio really is the closest thing we’ll ever have to the oxymoron of a city built in paradise.
And it was raining.
We had one day of nice weather and would have loved to hit the beach, but that day happened to be Yom Kippur so we were obliged to pass. The rest of the time we wandered downtown and through hilltop communities. We ate the street food (meat on a stick continues to be the best value) and even attempted a [free] museum in Portuguese. Really though, we spent three days wandering around.
We also managed to meet up with some local Couchsurfers who took us out for a wonderful night on the town. One didn’t get out of class until 10pm and the other had class even earlier the next morning, but that didn’t stop us from closing the place down and getting back to the hostel around 2am.
I would move here tomorrow if only they didn’t speak Portuguese. Sure, the weather right now isn’t so great…but it is spring here right now so its only fair.