<insert rio-lly bad pun here>

Day 143 - Rio de Janeiro

It was early morning in Rio and Christ peered through the mist. Text messages flew back and forth.
"I'm here"
"At the hostel?"
"Are you? Which room?"
"The girl at reception days you haven't checked in and they don't even have a room 6"
"Oh. Where am I then?"
Not at the right hostel as it turned out. Still, I had a welcome little sleep in one of their beds before sheepishly leaving. Little else of blog-worthy note occurred for the rest of the day. Mike and I watched Barcelona cede the La Liga title to some awful team from Madrid and got drunk with a pair of English girls whilst espousing the joys of our jungle tour (moreso me than Mike) as they were headed to Bolivia next. We did manage to find diversions other than football and intoxication (important though they are) in the rest of our time in Rio and spent a peaceful few hours striking around a tropical rainforest within the city limits. Hummingbirds buzzed around us as we are lunch in a restaurant in the forest, hovering at feeders hanging from the ceiling (the birds, not us). You had to marvel at the ferocity with which they fought the earth's inner pull. As we walked back to the bus stop we witnessed a creature defying gravity with rather less success. Ambling along, the trees above us shook and a drizzle of leaves fluttered slowly down to the road. Small monkeys leapt nimbly from branch to branch before, out of nowhere, a furry shape plunged onto the hard concrete with a resounding slap. Did he jump or was he pushed? Either way the little ape lay still before the two dumbfounded big apes. A bit like a cat landing on its back this seemed to defy the laws of nature as we knew them. After a few astonished moments there was a twitch and a painfully slow clambering back onto feet (and hands). How he survived the 50 foot drop I don't know but he now gingerly hobbled across the road and began to climb a tree. Another monkey came down to meet him and he climbed on its back seemingly shaken but without serious physical damage. We swung by the Maracana Stadium on our way home, one of football's meccas, that is under extensive redevelopment for the World Cup in 2014.
The next day saw an ill-fated attempt to visit Christ the Redeemer but he was too thickly wrapped in opaque cloud to make the view from the top (one of the redeeming features) worth the ascent. Instead another green excursion was taken, this time to the city's botanical gardens. Their tranquility was shared with Dennis, a Turkish man in Brazil for studying purposes. As is traditional myself and Michael found an Irish pub in the evening whose entry fee and stunning prices necessitated a short stay. Long enough though to appreciate the live music provided by a young girl on an acoustic guitar. Perched on her stool and playing to muted applause she had a curious solitude to her as she broke the still air with her lonely strum. The following day I walked the famous sandy swathes of Copacabana and Ipanema with Camilla, a Polish girl who had been in the same hostel as me in São Paulo. We drank from fresh coconut, watched people plucked from the sea by helicopter and met a friend of hers called Estefania. Hot sun, cold beer and a free (if painful) massage from Ipanema's powerful waves. That night the 3 of us and Michael hit Lapa, a lively neighbourhood popular with local muggers. It seemed that they, and indeed all its usual inhabitants had taken the evening off though and the wild revelry was sadly missed.

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