‘You only live once, but it does help if you get to be young twice’ said someone about Rio De Janeiro.
These are the lines from an eighties movie known as ‘Blame it on Rio’. The movie is set in Rio with the characters vacationing in the beautiful Brazilian city. The story is about how they push the limits of acceptability.
We, at Eccentrips, try to avoid looking at tourist destinations with rose-tinted glasses. But it is tough to keep up that attitude while in Rio.
But, there is more to Rio than its famous beaches and clubs. And here is our list of eccentric things to do in the ‘city of gods’.
Trek to Dos Irmaos:
Dos Irmaos are the iconic twin mountains that seen in many a postcard images from Rio. However, not many tourists know or consider that the possibility to trek to these mountains. On a good sunny day you can get a panoramic view of the city with most of its beaches and high rises of the south zone.
The views are not the only highlights of the trek. To get to the trail, you need to walk or ride pillion through a favela called Vidigal, an experience in itself. And not just that, you get to trek through a forest right in the heart of the city. With a little luck, you will be able to meet these famous citizens of Rio as well.
Take a Supervia train to north zone of Rio:
As a tourist, you are likely to take the metro that cuts across most of the tourist hotspots in the south zone. But most citizens who fuel this megalopolis live in the not so wealthy north zone.
To get an idea of how an everyday Carioca(resident of Rio) lives his life, take a supervia train from Central do Brasil to Japeri or Santa Cruz. The train coaches are old (though they are being modernised) and the supervia line has a completely different feel than the metro line. Young boys sell everything from Cervejas (beer) to snacks and from rechargeable batteries to CDs & DVDs.
A word of caution though, you might want to step up your guard even higher on these trains. Though everywhere in Rio caution is advised, these trains are well known for pick-pocketeers. But one of these train rides will tell you more about life in Rio than the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana ever can.
Take a Capoiera class:
Capoiera is a martial art form that interweaves dance and music. It is a part of the Afro-Brasilian herirtage of this Latin powerhouse. This dance cum martial art routine is a great way to stay fit and get introduced to Brazilian music.
It is easy to take a Capoiera class in most of the tourist hubs of the city. If you don’t find an advertisement, then just spot capoiersitas on the beach. Just walk up to them and ask if you could try some of their moves. Knowing the friendliness of Brazilians, I would be surprised if they refuse
Hang out with graffiti artists:
Most cities in Brazil encourage street art and some of the best murals are found in Rio. It is possible to get on a street art tour with some tour operators.
But even cooler than that (and a lot more difficult to do) is to hang out with graffiti artists. I was able to spend some time and get to know a different kind of street art community known as Pichadores. They are known for tagging walls of Rio using black or white spray paint.
You might need to ask around or send messages to facebook groups for graffiti art in Rio to get access. But spending time with graffiti artists will be, like they say, a night to remember.
Visit a dance party:
Now you may think, what the hell does this guy think? That we will go to Rio and not dance???
Of course, all young people go to Rio to party. But beyond the clubs of Copacabana and Lapa, which are frequented by tourists, lies a world of urban dance that we absolutely know nothing about. Some of the dance forms are baile funk, baile charme and others.
I managed to visit a Baile Charme party in Madurerira, a suburb of Rio, along with friends. The party was organized under a flyover and it was preceded by a beauty contest. When you visit these parties, you realize how seriously young Brazilians take their moves. They dance as if they are a part of a choreographed video. And though it might be impossible to keep up with them, their sexy moves and loads of eye candy will keep you occupied.
Who knows, your first or next Brazilian date might come from one of these parties?
No matter what you do, you can never get enough of this city. Rio is that city where you don’t know where the night leads you, where everything is possible. Even a second youth is an easy possibility.
And whatever happens, you can always blame it on Rio!