It has been over a year since I stepped on South American soil, still feels like a dream to me to be able to travel across the globe and experience so much culture and nature. However, the journey to South America from Malaysia itself was a torture; about 7-8 hours to Dubai for transit, then another 16 hours straight to Sao Paolo. But my favorite part during long-haul flights would be flying over beautiful terrains instead of above a bed of clouds. It is like an instant drug for me to see the world from a bird's eye view, especially places where there's possibly very little to no human intervention.
Brazil, the largest country in South America and fifth largest in the world was bustling with activities all-day long. I arrived in Sao Paolo to spend the night there before taking an early flight out from the capital to Rio de Janeiro, second largest city of Brazil with around 6.3 million people within the city itself. Rio has ben granted by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, boasting a unique landscape of mountains and sea. Rio is well known for the Carnaval celebration, Ipanema and Copacabana beach, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf mountain and of course, the beautiful people. Main language is Portuguese, unlike other countries in South America that speaks Spanish.
Practically did the whole tourist gig - visited Corcovado, Sugarloaf, Ipanema, churches, meals at brazilian BBQ buffet joints (the amount of sushi they eat with other brazilian food amazes me), and walked around the city before we were brought to the usual tourist 'traps' of precious stones and jewel stores by our guide. The city, like any other, was filled with people who are trying to survive day after day, but the character were one of the most vibrant I've seen by far. The favelas, or notoriously known as the slumps were visible from the beach although we were told not to wander anywhere near there (for obvious reasons) especially at night but nothing stopped us from going local by having our dinner at a pizzeria buffet restaurant that somehow is a common thing in Rio. Just like the Brazilian BBQ, waiters comes out of the kitchen with a freshly baked pizzas with different toppings (and sometimes pasta, fries and fried chicken) and serves you a slice or two if you decide to. I'm not a chocolate person but chocolate pizza with ice cream to top it off is a must-try.
Not sure if it's advisable if you travel alone, but a night out at a Samba show is a must in Brazil like how a ping pong show is common in Thailand. Expect a lot of derrière flashing before you in hypnotizing moves to the beating of the drums. There are entrance fees, and drinks are pay-per-serve. That night made me wonder how crazy it would be if I were to attend Carnivale, which I'd love to at least once in my lifetime. It seemed like Brazilians are strong Christians hence if you were to visit a church, even if it's just to have a look, do so at Rio de Janeiro Cathedral as their architecture was amazing and nothing like the ones we're used to here.
If there's one thing you fashionistas should get in Brazil, it would be a pair of Havaianas cause it was dirt cheap compared to the price that I paid for here in Malaysia.
Enjoy the pictures, will be updating soon with the next destination from my South American trip.
Here's a compilation video of my entire trip in case if you have not seen it: