Brazilian boys seem to get everywhere; most of the major cities around the world are full of them, especially
The flight was about 12 hours from England but there’s only a 3 hour time difference so the jet lag wasn’t that bad at all. For gay boys,
The carnival takes place over the Shove Tuesday weekend in February, for 4 solid days. Massive carnival parades are held through a specially created avenue where spectators purchase seats to view. Another way to see it is to take part in it. All costumes are made by “Samba Schools” which compete against each other; each school has about one and a half hours to put on their show and involves hundreds of people dressing up in matching glittery costumes. As you can imagine the parade goes on late into the night. To be a part of it, you can buy your costume from one of the Samba Schools, which you then own. A friend of mine took part. He was told to act and look as Brazilian as possible, as well as mouthing the words “marshmallow marshmallow” so it looks as if you are singing along with the music. Smaller free parades and street festivals also take place in other suburbs of the city, such as the drag queen carnival, around the gay district where literally hordes of drag queens take over the streets.
I didn’t get to see any of the main Samba carnival parades. The carnival season is full of wild circuit parties. After leaving the beach, partying for a bit in the local street festival and then having a bite to eat, its time to take a shower and go out again. We watched some of the carnival on a local TV channel, so I could see what it was all about and it sure looked spectacular. Personally I’m not the type of person to sit and watch things. I like to be involved in them. I know it seems silly going all that way for the carnival season and not even seeing it, but if I’d gone to the parade it would have meant missing one of the parties, and I could not let that happen! Another great event was several afternoon tea-dance style, outdoor pool parties, held in a gym complex in the Copacabana Hills. All the sexy muscle boys were there giving it gorge as they danced the evening away under the stars.
The beaches during the day, particularly the gay beach in Ipanema (located at the end of a street called Farme de Amoedo), gets jammed packed, and stays that way for a long time after sunset. Sunset is a unique time of day; the atmosphere much more laid back and romantic. From Ipanema Beach the sun sets behind two mountain peaks called Dois Irmaos (The two brothers). As it sets, everyone on the beach claps and cheers. It’s a very special moment. Later on we head over to a café-bar called Bofetada on Farme de Amoedo for a drink and snack, it’s a popular place to hang out after the beach.
The other beach in Rio where local gay boys meet (but less popular than Ipanema), is on Copacabana Beach in front of the Copacabana Palace Hotel (the most expensive in Rio). You’ll also find Gay Kiosk Rainbow there, easily identified by the family-sized rainbow flag.
There are various gay bars dotted about the Ipanema and Copacabana area’s of Rio. Pick up one of the free gay map guides from any of the venues or log onto
RioGayGuide.com for location details. Unfortunately the gay nightclub scene is somewhat limited in
Another good thing about Rio is that everything is very cheap. One of the things that stand out to me was the cost of taxi’s. You could have a good 10 minute ride for about 6 Reals (equivalent to about £1 or US$1.6) however, there are lots of people who take advantage of tourists that don’t know any better, so use a taxi with a meter or believe me you’ll be charged loads more. Hotels are the same, book up with a commercial travel agent and you’ll be put in an expensive hotel with not necessarily the same level of service or quality as the similar trident rated hotel in the UK or America. Beach fronted hotels are much more expensive, whereas a few blocks inland, you can pick up hotel rooms or flats at extremely cheap rates.
Portuguese and the Brazilian language is the same thing, so if you can speak a little bit of Portuguese you’ll get by OK. A lot of Brazilians speak a little amount of English or Spanish, and of course hand and body language is universally understood. However I would have found it very difficult to get by if it wasn’t for my Brazilian friend translating things for me. Not many things are translated into English making the party flyers, newspapers/press, restaurant menus and other info sources difficult to understand for English only speaking people.
Rio de Janeiro which translates to “January River” is called this because the area was discovered on January (Janeiro) 1st, 1502 by Portuguese navigators who mistook the entrance of Guanabara Bay for the mouth of a river (Rio).