I arrived in Rio after an unexpected detour to Sao Paolo. The flight itself wasn’t too bad, I met a few cool Brazilian folk on the plane and chatted over a few beers and tried to practice my Portuguese.
I had no idea what to expect on my arrivial, and was a little unsure as to whether I had made the right decision to come. On arrival all went well and I was re-connected with my surfboard and backback. My driver picked me up and we cruised along through the city in the early morning sunshine.
It was quite an experience just to get to the surf camp which was located 40km west of central Rio in a suburb called Recreio. I passed through a few favelas, and although I have seen a similar thing in South Africa and on TV, these shanty towns were quite something to look at with the crumbling buildings densely packed together. As we crossed the river I noticed that there was a lot of rubbish that had been dumped straight into the water, kinda disgusting.
Recreio isn’t really a big internatonal tourist destination, it wasn’t covered in the Lonley Planet Guide, so you could say I am staying a little off the beaten track. I arrived at Rio Surf and Stay and was greeted by a cool crowd. A cool local chap called Daniel was off surfing to a local break called Prainha and offered to take me. So we hopped into the car and cruised around the corner. Within my first hour in Rio I was in the water and catching some sweet rides.
After surfing for a few hours Daniel and drove back to Macumba beach and caught a few waves at Rico Point. So 4 hours of surfing on the first day was pretty cool.
That evening Daniel and I went and got some food at a little place called Fatimas, a little street cafe that sold the typical local food of rice, beans, meat and salad. The backstreets seemed pretty shady, but Daniel assured me that everything was fine and this neighbourhood, although looking a little run down, was safe, and because I was with him (a local Brasilian) I was fine.
We tucked into our food, had a few beers and tried to make conversation in my broken Portuguese and his limited English, all good fun.
All in all an action-packed first day.