When in Rio...


After a 13 hour flight and a short stopover in Frankfurt, I’ve finally landed in the City of God.

Immediately, I am greeted by a familiar humidity in the air as of my home country, Vietnam. Being a foreign woman in Brazil speaking no Portuguese – aside from the occasional ‘Obligada’, travelling alone is a terrifying experience. As I stood waiting in arrivals, I prayed that I didn’t stand out too much and that my host and his family would soon find me.

 My host, Gabriel, lives with his mother Carmen and younger brother Joey in Gavea, a lovely little area in the South Zone. Immediately I was blown away by their warm hospitality. These people are honestly the most kind, generous and genuine people you will EVER meet. I was welcomed into their home with a traditional Lebanese meal (his mother is half Lebanese), and you all know how much I adore Lebanese food!

My stunning bedroom view in Gavea

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The biggest shock so far was hearing that there is no wi-fi in the house. Cue the panic attacks. How am I going to survive the next month and a half with no Internet? The idea alone made my heart sink. The only form of Internet I have is on a USB stick – third world problems eh?

As a matter of fact, it’s so lovely to just disconnect from the outside world and actually enjoy your company and surroundings for once and I envision my trip to involve a lot of soul searching and challenges that push me out of my comfort zone.

My first day in Rio was spent exploring the local area. Gavea is considered one of the nicest areas in Rio with cute restaurants/bars, shopping centres, a Jockey Club and home to the famous Botanical Gardens (that I am yet to explore!). My first weekend was strictly reserved for the World Cup final. Seeing as I haven’t met any of my team members from AIESEC we all arranged to meet on Copacabana beach to watch the match. The atmosphere on the beach was buzzing with an array of white and blue (Argentina) and the occasional German/Brazilian flag. Everyone is in good spirits and you have street vendors selling refreshments, souvenirs and Brazilian bikini’s ;)

In the short time that I’ve been here, I can honestly say that I’ve fallen in love with this city.

Have you been to Rio? What other places in must I visit?


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