Trouble in Paradise

Precious moments at Pedra do Arpoador.

What can I say… after South America greeted me with some amazing impressions and a fabulous time in Rio de Janeiro I had an email in my inbox that quite upset me. My trip to Santiago has to be postponed due to the unrest there and my first Remote Year stop will be Medellín in Colombia. While I understand the reasons for the change, it still got me. I was so much looking forward to my stay in Chile. But it is what it is, and Santiago has to wait just a little bit longer.

Anyways, my first impression of South America is a fabulous one. Rio de Janeiro is definitely a must visit spot – and not just for the Carnival. It’s a city of contrast with a beautiful landscape and greenery beyond belief for a place with a population close to seven million (almost 13,5 million including the region). The versatility and the life loving attitude of the people really won my heart.

And hey, despite not speaking a word of Portuguese, I got along. With my basic Spanish and a lot of hand and feet talking it was even fun to navigate my way around the city. I spent hours strolling up and down Rio’s famous beaches Copacabana and Ipanema, enjoyed marvelous views from the mountain tops and of course gazing open mouthed at the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Corcovado. Fascinating street art, live bands, bohemian neighborhoods and the general optimistic and somehow carefree vibe of Rio made my stay.

To be continued. I’m already in love with South America.

When you plan to go to Chile and end up in Brazil

Airplane
Image by Nils Nedel

Don’t ever leave me in front of a computer to book a flight without supervision. As I was trying to sort my (direct) flight from Dubai to Santiago de Chile – the first stop of my Remote Year adventure – I happened to notice that there is a “technical stop” during the 20-hour long flight. In Rio de Janeiro!

Intrigued by the thought of stopping in Brazil’s famous seaside city – home of the Christ The Redeemer statue, the Copacabana and the Sugar Loaf Mountain – my mind started wandering. I already pictured myself taking images of the famous coastline from atop Mount Corcovado, strolling along Ipanema Beach and checking out Rio’s Lapa and Santa Teresa districts.

Rio de Janeiro
Image by Raphael Nogueira

Usually my favorite airline Emirates offers free stopovers, so I paused the booking process and gave them a call. To my dismay the lady on the other end told me that a stopover in Rio is not possible – we’re not even supposed to leave the plane.

Can you imagine how I felt, imagining sitting on the tarmac in Rio de Janeiro and not having the possibility to explore the world’s second largest city? So, I’ve spent the afternoon searching several flight portals and bingo – with a few twists and turns I was able to get my stopover and are now fortunate enough to spend three days in South America’s Samba capital. Imagine the grin on my face ;).

Samba, Bossa Nova, breathtaking landscape, here I come!