The day had finally come, we had arrived in Rio bus terminal off the back of another night bus, Something both Andre and I had been looking forward too since arriving in Brazil just over a month ago.
We hand heard many things about Rio, one of which was that it was quite expensive by South American standards so we decided to stay in the slightly cheaper Copacabana which was the party place for the rich and famous from the 20’s right up until the 70’s when the area and Rio more generally fell into decline having been neglected during the military rule.
We also thought we would try out our first dorm with the hope of also meeting some like-minded people to party with in this party capital and so we went for what ANDRE heard was the best hostel “mellow yellow”.
The dorm was on the 7th floor of this high-rise about a block down from the famous Copacabana beach, the dorms surrounded the central meeting point in the hostel around the pool table. Given the early hour we decided to quickly drop off our stuff, have a shower and head to the beach for the day.
This blissful plan was dramatically put to an end upon opening the door of the dorm. Given that I had checked in I had the key and so was the first person to enter. What greeted me was what I can only describe as an atomic bomb of a nasal sensation! It was a combination of left over spicy pot noodle, alcohol and fags, bad breath and a potent cheese smell that any of you who have worn earrings for any length of time whilst also showering will know what I am talking about.
The smell was so bad that it actually hampered my sight and I immediately left the room to allow Andre to deal with it. Thankfully he had noticed the main reason for the stench; a wok with left over food of what had to have been a home made attempt at a stir fry using a combination of ketchup, fried onions and curry powder.
Once removed from the room I decided to man up and just deal with the situation hoping that it would get better by the time we got back later in the day. Having walked back in for the second time I noticed the second source of the smell…a 30 something man wrapped up in a sheet snoring on the lower bunk bed.
Looking around there were Dr Martin boots, empty cans of larger and ashtrays full to the brim, bottles of TCP and a picture of what I assumed was this animals mother. Looking at him more closely I noticed that on top of it all he was “strawberry blond” to me an you a ginger which simply confirmed that this had to be an australian back packer ( the worst kind!) only an Australian would actually ‘live’ in a shared dorm and get to the point where he would cook, sleep and probably shit all in the same place! A dog would have better hygiene. The final straw was having him roll over to expose what were once white briefs with him having a good scratch of what must have been the source of that cheese smell all topped with a classic man fart which in any other situation I would have found hilarious.
We decided to name him ‘Crusty’ and left to grab a coffee to adjust to the situation at hand. Neither Andre or I spoke much on the way to kiosk on the beach which of course was closed. Deep down I was angry that Andres penny-pinching was making me go through with this but I couldn’t break first given the amount of shit I have had from people telling me that this ‘city boy’ wasn’t going to beagle to rough it. Thankfully Andre broke first and we were able to be moved into our own private room for a fairly reasonable price.
From that point on Rio would prove to be one of the highlights of the trip, a city that we would both fall in love with and speak at length about how we could both live there permanently without speaking Portuguese!