The flight from Lima was nondescript; either that or I was still really pissed and noticed nothing of the scenery. Whichever, I was looking forward to ending my year on the road with a week on and around Ipanema Beach…sucking in my gut while admiring the beautiful creatures prancing around the golden sands (and that’s just the boys!). I was a little confused as we descended towards tarmac, drifting through a heavy blanket of grey cloud. Passengers exchanged worried glances; a woman behind me said “Are they sure this is Rio?” So I turned and smiled “It may as well be Blackpool” What a horrible thought, even in jest.
As we disembarked I thought, “Ah well, at least it’s not raining…” as the random spots started to darken the tarmac. Chin up, dear boy.
More ATM fun for an hour before I could get out of the terminal; I’ve never typed so quickly while online, you would too at 50p a minute internet access. A bus bound for Ipanema, and I relaxed and took in the views of this crumbling, beautifully decaying city; collapsing concrete, elaborate graffiti, deserted alleyways and disused buildings…possibly the most photogenic city so far. I was in love with it well before we hit the city proper.
Turfed out at Ipanema, I made my way to a hostel recommended by Jocky. Not a bad place, but steep at £18 a night just for a dorm bed, especially when I was used to spending that on a full day and night elsewhere in South America. Going out eating and drinking, it’s basically London prices. Worse when Carnaval’s on in February…the same dorm bed in £100 a night. Deary me.
Settling in to my space, I stretched out on the bed as Frank Spencer’s doppelganger popped his head out from a bed above. “Recognise the accent…where are you from?” he asked. “Preston.” He chuckled and I twigged immediately “You’re from Blackpool, then?” Indeed he was. Dirty Donkey Lasher (what we call Blackpool fans). Despite my disgust for his home town, and especially its football team, myself and Dave got on like a house on fire, and spent the next few days together. No…not like that.