Remarkable Rio

You may be shocked to see this on my roster if you know anything about trying to get this flight with Emirates as crew. Our flight to Rio de Janerio is a multi sector trip also to Buenos Aires in Argentina, and is our most sought after destination as crew. After two years of flying and continual bidding and trying every trick of the trade with the bids I have never once received it on my roster.

Over the past few weeks the only swaps I have been sent are for either London Gatwick or London Heathrow. Crew see the United Kingdom flag on my profile and just assume that I want to swap every single destination for the UK. This month was seriously focused on London for some reason where I received over 17 swaps. So when I woke up one morning to see a new swap request I just assumed it would be another London flight. I was however pleasantly surprised, yet also shocked, to see that someone had sent me GIG/EZE/GIG. At first I thought this must be a mistake and went to check this girls roster to see if someone else had snapped her offer up as I was seeing this two hours late. Yet it was still there. Logging into the portal as fast I possibly could, the swap was still in my inbox and when clicking accept I swear the page took SUCH a long time to finally send through.

Not even realising, or caring, what I was swapping this for I realised I’d given up my Cape Town and Osaka flights. A pretty good swap I felt and it meant I could bid for Osaka again as November is my top bid month. HAPPY HAPPY DAYS.

SO, it was 14 and a half hours over to Rio de Janeiro – Galeão International Airport with three services and 3 hours and 45 minutes in crew rest landing at 14:21 local time. Interesting fact, Rio de Janerio literally translates to River of January which I never knew! By the time we had made our way over to the hotel and checked in, the sun was beginning to set and with limited options with what to do on the first leg of our multi sector, we went out for Brazillian barbecue along the famous Copacabana Beach.

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Sunset from my balcony!

The idea of Brazillian Barbecue is that you pay a set fee and are able to take whatever side dishes and accompaniments you want and the servers come out with giant swords of meat that they carve onto your dish. You’re given a small square which says Sim (yes) and Nao (no) on either side. When you place the green side up, you wish to keep eating and they will continuously place different beautiful meats on your plate. When you’re done and have had enough, turn it over to the red side and they will stop serving you the food.

The meats were delicious and it seemed they were never ending. I piled my plate with different Brazilian sides as the meat kept flowing and I honestly ate till I could eat no more. The meat was just melt in your mouth delicious and had been flavoured and seasoned with the most beautiful spices.

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We had a great meal as we chatted away making plans for our next few days together, I would definitely come back for Brazilian Barbecue!

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As we were so close to Copacabana Beach we decided to go for a little late night stroll to see what all the fuss was about! If I’m honest, I’m not too sure why there’s a fuss or why its so famous. It’s just a very very long beach! It did look quite nice lit up in the moonlight though. After a quick stroll it was then back to bed for our early start the next morning.

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Copacabana Beach

I woke up the next morning beyond excited for what we had in store before we continued on with the next leg of our trip. Myself and two other girls from economy, Danielle from the UK and Valentina from Romania had decided to take a helicopter tour over the city! A lot of the crew go hand gliding, however I’m not great with heights and have heard bad things about things going wrong (which you can read about on another crew blog I follow here) and thought I would be much safer in a chopper!

We met downstairs in the lobby at 7:30am and made our way over to Jacarepaguá Airport. The 30 minute helicopter ride costs 1500 reals and can hold three passengers so depending how many of you there are is how much it costs each. After a quick safety brief we were escorted over to the helicopter by buggy to get ready for take off.

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I’ve never been in a helicopter before so was unsure what to expect. Instead of just lifting straight off the ground in a horizontal direction towards the sky as I thought you would, you actually hover as you taxi before gradually elevating higher as you hurtle down the runway. Very similar to an aircraft actually!

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The trip was amazing and we got to see the most amazing views from above: Copacabana Beach, the rainforest and circle around the famous Christ The Redeemer statue.

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I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life, it was absolutely amazing. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone visiting Rio de Janerio as a great way to actually see what the city is like and to get those exceptional views of the city. Look how incredible this video is I managed to take from the helicopter!

After this it was time to quickly call at the mall to stock up on cheap Havainas before getting ready for our onward journey to Buenos Aires.

After our day in Buenos Aires it was back to Rio again for another 24 hours. Landing just after midnight we weren’t able to do much that evening by the time we got to the hotel, so I ordered some room service and got to bed setting my alarm the next morning to take a tour of the city with the crew.

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Our first stop of the tour was right to the top of the mountain to see Christ The Redeemer up close and personal, and the thing I was looking forward to most on the trip. Driving up the windy roads it felt like they were never ending and at one point the minibus even came to a halt as it struggled to get us all up the steep hills! But eventually we arrived at the top ready to take in the scenic views.

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You’re taken in a little mini bus further up the mountain as they’re still currently developing a funicular and from there you can take either the stairs/escalators/elevators up to the statue.

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He looks incredibly impressive as he stands atop the mountain looking out over the city. The square surrounding the statue was packed out with tourists wanting the all impressive shot of them standing before Christ. It was a beautiful day with glorious blue skies, and at a balmy 30 degrees it was providing the perfect opportunity for pictures.

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I was so impressed with it all. Sometimes when you’ve seen pictures of something so much and you get there it can not live up to your expectations, this however exceeded them and my fellow crew were in agreement too. Everyone should venture up to see Christ The Redeemer at some point in their life.

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The statue was constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue is 30 metres (98 ft) tall, and the arms stretch 28 metres wide. It weighs 635 tons, and is located at the peak of the 700 metre Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park. A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone.

When you could finally drag your eyes away from the view of the statue, the surroundings were equally as beautiful as you got an eye over the city.

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Time to make our way back down, we headed to the Sambadrome which is where the Rio Carnival takes place. Sadly it wasn’t on when we were there, but you can venture down to try on some of the infamous costumes they wear for a cost! I didn’t dress up but one of the girls Jackie did, and didn’t she look fab!?

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Next we made our way over to the Escadaria Selaron, or more commonly known as the Selaron Steps.

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“In 1990, Jorge Selarón began renovating dilapidated steps that ran along the front of his house. At first, neighbours mocked him for his choice of colours as he covered the steps in fragments of blue, green and yellow tiles – the colours of the Brazilian flag. It started out as a side project to his main passion, painting, but soon became an obsession. He found he was constantly out of money, so Selarón sold paintings to fund his work. It was long and exhaustive work but he continued on and eventually covered the entire set of steps in tiles, ceramics and mirrors.

Running from Joaquim Silva street and Pinto Martins street, officially known as Manuel Carneiro street, the steps straddle both the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro. There are 215 steps measuring 125 metres long which are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. No sooner than one section of the steps were ‘finished’, Selarón started work on another section, constantly changing it so that it was an ever evolving piece of art. Selarón considered the work as “never complete” and claimed that “This crazy and unique dream will only end on the day of my death”

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The steps are incredibly beautiful with their eye popping colours that contrast against one and other and I can really see why its such a great tourist attraction! I can only begin to imagine how time consuming it must have been for Jorge Selarón to complete.

What was distracting whilst there was the cutest little Chinese baby! We got talking to the family who told us Luda was 4 months old and this was his first trip away. They even asked if we wanted to hold as they took plenty of pictures of us with the Selarón steps in the background.

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With time pressing on and us also having to fly the 14 hours back to Dubai that night it was time to move on and grab some lunch before we had a quick power nap before our wake up call.

I honestly had the most amazing trip in Rio, it’s such a beautiful city that has so much to offer and explore. It’s a place like no other I have visited. I would honestly be back in a heartbeat if the trip wasn’t so hard to get. I completely understand why it’s so difficult to get this trip now!! And it’s going straight to the top of my favourite destinations. Nice didn’t last long up there, did it?

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Missed Rio – especially Copacabana…..

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  2. Great post! Sounds like an amazing trip. It’s definitely going on my bucket list.

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    1. I highly recommend, so much fun!

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  3. Ah what a great swap! The helicopter ride looked so incredible, I’ll definitely do that if I ever go back! xx

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    1. Yeah I was pretty chuffed with it, and I got another 2 KIX next month so happy days! Honestly it was amazing, one of the best things I’ve done. Highly recommend! xx

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  4. Bon Dia! The steakhouses known as Churrascaria’s are amazing places.The three dominant meat countries Argentina,Brazil and Peru are proud of their own steaks.I heard Peru is the best among the three. Try to visit Rio during Carnival. Whole city is colo(u)rful and dance non-stop and is the ultimate party town.

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  5. Nik says:

    Hello Jess,

    What is the name of the helicopter company you went with, or is it something they sell in the hotel? Have EZE-GIG in two weeks time and am so stoked!
    Keep up the good work with the blog! You’re such an inspiration for my layovers. Your post on Harare made me accept a swap for that lo and had a wonderful time in the Lake Chivero park, so thank you x

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    1. Yeah just sorted it through the hotel so speak with the concierge, it’s best to do it on the 1st sector! Aw thank you so much Nik, it really means a lot to hear that! Glad you enjoyed HRE as much as I did. Enjoy Rio, I’m very envious x

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