Oh Rio! Oh Rio! What a place. It's a soup of energy, beauty and excitement. The last few days have been a blur of beaches, cityscapes and amazing food. And when I call Rio a "soup", that may be because it was 38 degrees by 10am this morning. I'd been using factor 30 sunscreen until yesterday, but I was still burning. (Some may blame my weak British skin). So I bought some factor 50 today and that seems to have done the trick. The sun is so intense here. You have to be really careful.
I've done quite a few touristy things, including the beach. On my first full day at the hostel I'm in at the moment I went for a wander along Copacabana and Ipanema, and sat on the beach until I overheated and had to run into the shade to drink a coconut. Life is hard.
Ipanema is definitely my favourite beach in Rio. And possibly the world. It is so beautiful, the way it stretches along the front of the tall buildings, ending in the 'Two Brothers' mountains. A friend and I went and sat at the opposite end of Ipanema last night to watch the sun go down behind them. I felt like the world was completely at peace - it was lovely to sit on the rocks and watch.
I also went up to an observation tower behind Ipanema to see the view, which was fantastic. But I did take a wrong turn and found myself in a favela (shanty town), albeit a pacified one. An old woman walking past me smiled and wished me a good day. So not everything you hear about the favelas is true! I did a favela tour a couple of days later, which you can read about here.
Today I went up to Christ the Redeemer with two girls from Norway who are staying at my hostel. I'd seen it from various places around the city, but to see it up close was great. And again, fabulous views over Rio and the Atlantic.
So I have four days left before my friend Milena, who went to my Uni, meets me in Rio for Carnival! The big shabang! We're moving into a different hostel closer to the action on Friday, and then we'll probably leave Rio after Carnival finishes. So I've got plenty of time to keep soaking up the sun in this wonderful city. His name is Miles, and he fully intends to dance on the sand.