Copacabana and the Lapa Hostel

So we had a minor hiccup. We couldn’t leave the day we wanted to because there weren’t any flights so we had to add an additional day to our stay in Rio. Not bad per se, but we needed to find somewhere else to spend the night. That’s how we ended up staying at the Lapa Hostel.

We said goodbye to our very nice AirBnB and marched the 100 metres or so to the hostel. We were greeted by a very friendly but much too talkative and too ‘cool’ guy who kept trying to engage me in conversation while it was early, I was sober, and it was 36 degrees. It was really hard to care about anything.

After we paid we were informed that our room was at a different  location further down the road. We loaded up our backpacks and dutifully followed while he riffed story after story that I enthusiastically replied “uh huh”, “wow”, and “neat” to.

He dropped us at the hostel add-on and told us that people generally don’t lock the downstairs door. Given the crime rate in Rio and how tempting backpackers must be as targets, this struck me as incredibly odd, but we just wanted to dump our stuff at this point.

He showed us our room. A box with the basics and, mercifully, decent AC. We stuffed about for a bit and then began to move. Upon leaving I noticed the window had no locking mechanism. I closed it and tried it from outside. It opened. Easy as.

So the main door doesn’t get locked and the window to our room also couldn’t be locked. A winning combination. Given the total lack of security and our combined large-scale irrational fears of loss and persecution, Marta and I decided to take everything of import with us to Copacabana. Not exactly ideal for a trip to a famous beach but not overly dissimilar to what we’d had to experience at Red Beach previously.

Copacabana was awesome. This was the first time I felt 100% like I was back in Australia. The waves weren’t as punishing, but they were there. Brutal enough to require either diving under or beating the break and great for body surfing. I was like a kid in a candy store. After having lived so long in landlocked Berlin it was exhilarating to be going mano e mano with the ocean.

Marta also had a great time though she’s not very knowledgeable when it comes to waves and she suffered a few knocks, almost taking down some local women in the process. Full kudos though, she popped back after each fall with a huge smile of that gorgeous face of hers. What a trooper.

We had some minor tussles with the tide trying to steal our gear as we lay on the beach, but the mad dives to save the electronics were more hilarious than threatening. The only downside was the sheer volume of people. It’s something I’ve never really gotten used to given Sydney’s vast number of swimmable beaches and comparatively low population. It was easily forgotten about in the ecstasy of ocean madness though.

All in all Copacabana was a truly excellent experience and another that I wish I’d more time to repeat. That was pretty much it for Rio though. Should I make it back I’m definitely going to spend more time just lounging on the beaches. They were definitely the highlight.

Next up the lumps head inland to visit the enormous Pantanal wetlands. Half the size of France and more biological diversity than a shared kitchen in a college, we’re aiming to spot a whole raft of cool critters from jaguars to capybaras to giant anteaters. Join us! <LINK>

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