Nine thousand kilometres, four movies and several head-jerky naps and we have finally arrived in Rio…
Stumbling bleary-eyed through customs with our hefty backpacks in tow, the vision of Diego the driver clutching a sign bearing our names was a welcome sight after the eleven-hour flight, next to a grumpy Russian man who gave Phil’s friendly chat a frosty reception.
The blast of warm air hits us as we make our way to the waiting car and my jeans, trainers and polo neck attract amused glances from the queueing taxi drivers.
I get excited when Diego seems to understand the few words of Portuguese I’ve tried to learn, but quickly deflated after realising I can’t understand a word of what he’s replying.
Our journey to the small hostel in Copacabana which we’ll be calling home for the next few days was pretty hair-raising.
After ten minutes of speeding along the motorways, flashing other drivers out the way and swerving between busy lanes like The Stig on acid, Diego takes it upon himself to ask where we are going.
He then pokes his head out the window en route to ask taxi drivers and moped riders which direction he should head in, finally speeding past the hostel before reversing back down the one-way street to reach its door.
But at least we made it, and we head out to a small streetside cafe to grab a tasty meat-filled pastry and cold drink to celebrate.
Swathes of twinkling lights, some of which glow ethereally in mid-air as they sit atop the area’s famous mountains, give just a hint of what the Cidade Maravilhosa will look like in daylight…SC