Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rio de Janeiro - 1 Dec 2005

Due to the long travel hours I could not write something descent the last few days. Monday morning when I was still in Buenos Aires I visited La Bocca, the colourfull italian suburb of
Buenos Aires and after that I walked a bit along the old renovated docks, the docklands of
Buenos Aires, it seems every city in the world with docks need an area like this. At 16.00 hr
I took a bus to Puerto Iguazu and arrived there at 09.00 in the morning the next day. I put
my lugage in a locker and visited the Iguazu waterfalls on the argentinean side. It was impressive but I discovered that I am getting the feeling like am getting used to these things.
I had to say so many times wow and see so many wonderfull things that at the end it really need
to be something big to make impression. Well.....these falls where big enough but after spending
like 6 hours walking from one cascade to another I had seen enough water and was not really
interested in seeing the same thing again from the Brazilian side, which has the same effect but
you have to show your wallet twice. So I took a local bus to Foz de Iguazu in Brazil which is
a crowded overgrown and unattractive city and booked a bus for the same evening to Rio de
Janeiro. I already spent 19 hours in the bus the previous night and had to spend at least another
22 hours in the next bus. During the night the bus got problems with the gears and could only go
in first and second gear so we have been driving for 3 hours at about 35 km/hr to the next
checkpoint where another bus of this compant (Pluma) was waiting. The busses in Brazil actually sucks. It cost double the price to get somewhere compared to the surrounding countries
and no service at all when in the surrounding countries you get a flightservice like meals,
drinks and sometimes blankets. Anyway, the 22 hrs busride ended up in a 26 hours busride and
at around 20.00 hr wednesdayevening I arrived in Rio de Janeiro. 6 hours earlier I passed
Sao Paulo which is a huge but unattractive city of 18 million people. Rio de Janeiro has about
8 million people from which 50 % white, 40 % mulate mixed and about 10 % black. The poor
people almost live in the gardens of the rich people, you walk through the fancy streets with
nice appartments and when you look up to the hills you see the favella,s of the poor, you see,
cause going there is out of the question. In the centre you see really poor people going through
the rubbish of the rich to see if they can find something usefull. I am staying in a small hotel
about 100 meter of Copacobana beach which is the most safe area but also the most expensive.
Today I walked a bit along the beach and through the shopping streets of Copacobana and Ipanema. Forget the stories of beautifull girls in G-string on these beaches, if you want to see that
you really have to come with the carnaval in February. On these days it looks like any ordinary
spanish beach but of course with a worldclass tropical setting.

At the same time by arriving in Rio de Janeiro I also crossed the finishline of my race through
south america which started in Lima, Peru. It was almost 6 weeks of travelling and not always
easy, I spent for example 8 nights in busses and had to fly a few times to close the gaps. But it
was worth it. I saw a lot of new and interesting things. But now I am looking forward again
to go home to my girlfriend for who it was not always easy, I thank her for her patience, to see
my family and to get back in my job , doing something productive in a good team. Thanks to my
collegues too for covering my ass when I was gone. I will give a few updates of Rio the next two
days and then you get the final summary of my trip. Pictures will be online half december.