Brazil
Leme

Here you’ll find travel reports about Leme. Discover travel destinations in Brazil of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

20 travelers at this place:

  • Day45

    Blame it on Rio

    February 17 in Brazil

    My dear wife, Ali, is currently out of commission so this blog post on Carnival falls to me. It all started with our special tickets to the Winner’s Parade, a collection of the 6 winning Samba school entries capping off the fesivities of Brazilian Carnival. We heard about the the more than 450 block parties, the numerous street parades and the millions of people that attended the Ipanema and Cocacabana beach parties, but these happened just prior to our arrival and the city of Rio was managable for the past three days of our visit. We thought the Winner’s Parade on the last night of our visit was probably just a low-key show for visitors like us with our special passes and shuttle busses.

    Not so. The samba schools are dance clubs that work nearly a full year to develop the theme, samba music, dances and floats for their entries in Carnival. During the festivities, 5 or 6 of the 12 major schools (there are hundreds of minor schools) are selected to perform in the Winner’s Parade, which occurs in the Sambadrome, a structure built specifically for this event.

    We knew these basics ahead of time, but the reality was revealed when we saw the glow of light from the Sambadrome as our bus was crossing town, still miles away. The Sambadrome is like a linear stadium, but nearly one-half mile in length and seating more than 70,000 people. We reached our seats in the brightlly light parade stretch about 9:00 PM and people were asking us if we planned on spending the whole night. Say what?

    The first of the six schools entered the Sambadrome about 10:00 with pulsing music, fireworks, much noise and cheering. We had one beer and pizza by that point. Only then did we realize that each samba school has 3000-3500 costumed participants and 5 or 6 spectacular floats laden with dancing people who actively engage the audience. We had held off on drinking the national drink, the caipirinha, but the rush of colors, pulsating beats, costumed bodies and excitement of the event led us to unwisely succumb and imbibe as the evening progressed. I remember the name “caipirinha” by thinking of the word piranha, but it turns out the similarity is not just in the sound of the name.

    Each samba school takes about an hour to pass through the stands with a break between, during which we tried to process the overwhelming visual, auditory and social experience, (and get more caipirinhas). Then the next school starts up, with a different song, color scheme and theme (usually political, a rich field right now) and more overwhelming stimulus. We got home at 3:00 AM even with the favorable 1-hour time change that conveniently occurred that night. We didn’t even see the last two samba schools, fearing we would miss the early departure of our ship. So, Ali is in bed and I am writing. The photos accompanying this blog enhance this verbal description, but there is one word that I have never used that perhaps does it best…scintillating.
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  • Day47

    Exploring Rio

    January 2 in Brazil

    It's the second day of January. New years eve in Rio was unbelievable in every sense of the word. I have never seen so many fireworks. Copacabana beach itself had 10 of the Wellington-size barges alone. The pushing crowds trying to get on the beach after 11pm were fun to begin with but soon got grating. Louis and I lost Eyob at about 11:45 (he's fine, don't worry).

    Louis and Eyob spent all of new years day recovering so I decided to walk to Botafogo, the suburb directly above Cobacabana. I think this is what they call an 'up-market' district (ie no slums/favelas). Leafy paths, expensive restaurants and great views. I'd live there.

    To be honest, we haven't done much sightseeing, but I don't mind. The heat is oppressive and I like just walking around. I could write about some interesting things. The guy next door to us walks around with a glock in his waistband, but you'd all prefer to hear about the tourist sights, right?

    Pics: (1) Fireworks; (2) View from Botafogo of Sugarloaf Rock; (3) Leblon beach.
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  • Day49

    O Cristo Redentor

    January 4 in Brazil

    Every great city has an iconic central monument. New York has the Statue of Liberty, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Wellington has nothing in particular. The Bucket Fountain maybe. Rio, of course, has its statue of Christ redeeming us.

    The statute sits atop a 700m hill, which Eyob and I wanted to climb. Louis decided that, between that and the NZ $20 entrance fee, he'd rather go to the gym. Ok then.

    The climb itself takes about 1.5 hours. The trail is known for its armed robberies (you are trekking through deserted jungle) so we had to sign a liability waiver at the gate. Eyob insisted I take point and walk in front.

    There was the usual gaggle of tourists at the top (they took buses up), all speaking different languages. More like we'd climbed the Tower of Babel than anything. Long queues for tickets but they were only NZ $12, a pleasant surprise. Quite often the information others give us here is somewhat awry.

    Statue was impressive, awe-inspiring etc. etc. but I really enjoyed the climb more. A good challenge in the heat. There is a hill you can climb for free right across ('Dos Imanos' - Two Brothers) which has views just as nice without the crowds.

    ALSO: As commented, we (I, that is) had some stuff stolen on NYE. I was left looking after our stuff as the others went for a midnight swim. The thief's accomplice comes up and taps me on the shoulder asking for a 'fuego' (cigarette light). 'No tengo' I respond (I don't have one). She persists, forcing me to turn around and repeat more forcefully. She gives up after a few goes and disappears into the crowds. I look down and $80 NZ worth of our stuff (mostly cash) is gone. The only consolation to my stupidity is that no phones were lost.

    Pics: (1) The man himself; (2) We were warned; (3) The view of Rio as we climbed; (4) Atop.
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  • Day51

    The Last Leg

    January 6 in Brazil

    We have finalised the end of our trip.

    - Leave Rio 10th Jan for Buenos Aires
    - Leave BA 15th Jan for Bariloche. At this point, Eyob will split from Louis and I and fly home (he starts work earlier). The two of us will spend the last 13 days in Patagonia (southern South America).
    - Take bus across border to Chile's Puerto Montt.
    - Fly down next day to Punta Arenas.
    - Journey up to Fitz Roy Mountain in Argentina.
    - Back to Punta Arenas and onto Santiago to fly home. Will arrive in Wellington 8:30 29th Jan (NZ time).

    Pics: (1) Our route; (2) Morning visitor; (3) A poster; (4) An old car for Sophie.
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  • Day25

    Rio De Janiero

    February 27, 2017 in Brazil

    It's finally time for CARNAVAL! This has been an amazing experience, dancing in the streets for days. Seriously everyone goes really hard here from 8am all day everyday and it's difficult to keep up.

    I've been staying in a favela called Chapeu Mangueira and it's been such a unique experience. I've been to a favela before but actually living here is quite different and I have to admit that when I first arrived on around 3 hours sleep from Salvador, that I was a little bit culture shocked. However, I'm glad I stayed here as there is a really good sense of community and our view from the balcony to Copacabana is stunning and we get to feed the monkeys every morning. It's even got one of the best restaurants in Rio in it! When I got here I met so many people and even met some of my friends from São Paulo and Pipa.

    Because I've done a lot of the touristy things before and they get expensive I've decided to miss out doing them again so it just has been party party party. I am now ready for my liver to have a rest because I'm 75% Skol Beats and the other 25% water.

    The street parties are called 'blocos' and we went to a few in Copacabana, Lapa, Gloria, Santa Teresa and Flamengo (I think). I also went to this DJ night called RioMe with Jackmaster headlining which was fun.

    It's been difficult to take photos as we've been warned not to take our phones out in case we get robbed but I managed to take a few. Next stop is Iguazu Falls, got a 24 hour bus ride to get there 😖 and I was so so hungover and probably the sweatiest mess I have ever been because its 36 degrees but I'm so excited to be in the outdoors again and have a good detox.
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  • Day18

    Rio de Janeiro

    October 20, 2016 in Brazil

    Heute früh in Rio angekommen 😎😎😎😎
    Etwas müde vom Flug aber glücklich hier zu sein.
    Sind am der Strandpromenade der Copacabana entlang flaniert und haben den Tag genossen.
    Sitzen gerade auf der Dachterrasse unseres Hotels und genießen den ersten richtigen Caipirinha und die tolle Aussicht 😎🌴😎

  • Day47

    Sport am Strand

    August 17, 2016 in Brazil

    Nachtdienst hat ja zumindest den Vorteil, daß man - wenn man denn aus dem Bett kommt 😴 - sich noch bei Tageslicht etwas anschauen kann. So düsen Angela und ich noch vor dem Dienst zum Beach Volleyball Stadion an der Coppa. Zwei Hamburger Volleyballerinnen spielen dort heute um den Einzug ins Finale gegen ein brasilianisches Duo - was ja immer volles Haus verspricht.
    Unschön ist allerdings, daß das brasilianische Publikum jede Aktion der deutschen Sportlerinnen mit Pfiffen und Buhrufen bedenkt.
    Dennoch gewinnen die beiden Hamburgerinnen und spielen also nun um Gold :-).
    Mein Kollege Samy kommt auch gleich auf die Idee, das die Kollegen, die heute Nacht zum Finale ins Stadion gehen werden, unbedingt die Hamburg Flagge, die bei uns an der Tonregie hängt, mitnehmen und sie fleißig schwenken sollen. Mal schauen, ob so das Wappen von Hamburg dann im internationalen Weltbild zu sehen sein wird :-).
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  • Day5

    Ipanema

    May 11, 2015 in Brazil

    Lazy morning sorting out travel and hostel for Ilha Grande.
    Walked to Ipanema beach via shops searching for adaptor, bank and money exchange. On our way we found the greatest place on earth - a pay by weight ice cream parlour with over 50 flavours of ice cream, toppings and sauces that you helped yourself to. Needless to say we put in a good effort!!! Yum!
    Ipanema is a quieter, smaller beach. We sat in the shade reading due to Anna's sunburn but then it clouded over anyway. We wandered to the rocks which separate Copacabana and Ipanema beaches which is apparently the place to watch the sunset...however there was little sun to be seen and then it chucked it down so everyone ran - first outing of the ponchos!
    Walked back and finally found the right adaptor, plus a delicious orange and strawberry juice - juice bars are everywhere here.
    Ended up at same restaurant again...didn't find any others as cheap or nice. Francisco, the old waiter was pleased to see us, a tramp came and ate our left over falofa, and as fitness boot camp set up in front of us in the beach so we watched poor souls doing circuits in the rain.
    Got home and Julio said he had leftover dinner for us...I was stuffed but piggy Anna tucked into another plate of lentils, marine algae and rice.

    As we are leaving tomorrow, my impressions of Rio (in no kind of order):
    Rio is an amazing city, much larger than expected. Brazilians are lovely, friendly, smiley people... a lady stopped us in the supermarket & welcomed us to Rio...people stopped to help us on the tube, told us where to get off buses and how to find places. Few people speak English & our Portuguese is terrible but it wasn't an issue even though Julio complained Anna kept trying to speak to him in a mix of French & Spanish!!! Even the hawkers just give you a smile and walk away when you turn down their Christs / crazy zip bags. Family is clearly important - Julio lived above his ex-wife & kid and gave our extra rent to his mum on mother's day.
    There was always something to see...beach volleyball / bat & ball / football - (strangers would just start kicking the ball to each other on the beach)...impromptu dancing outside a restaurant...bingo in the favella. Everyone loves a party, there is music everywhere... good & bad...there is an undescribable beat to the city.
    Graffiti is everywhere...but it's art, streets are a mix of modern & shanty. Police (& cats) were everywhere, few homeless people were seen. There are a zillion buses everywhere - no timetables as they seem to run every few minutes. Yellow taxis are also ubiquitous. Outside gym areas are commonplace, as are health shops and juice bars. We saw more mincing than proper running, fewer body beautifuls than expected, however our bikini bottoms are far too big in comparison to most of those here!!!
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