Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Friday night clubbing in Ipanema

I did that. It was me, that was. Clubbing. In Ipanema. In Rio.

It didn't look too promising initially, since I'd only arrived that morning and hadn't slept at all the night before. I also couldn't check into the hostel for about five hours and had to hang around in my sweaty clothes when all I wanted to do was sleep, and by the evening I was exhausted and was about to go to bed. However, I was convinced that it was a sin to miss out on a Friday night out in Rio, so I dragged my carcass out of the hostel.

The evening was spent listening to loud music in a hot and sweaty room and paying far too much for drinks - so totally unlike anything I've ever experienced, except for the last five hundred times I've been out anywhere in the world.

Okay, maybe the dancing was of a marginally superior standard to the average Hoxton hangout (in the same way that winning the lottery would be marginally more welcome than losing a limb), and there's certainly no minimum clothing rule for the Brazilian women, but it was still not the near-religious experience I was led to believe.

To be honest, I got a little bit bored. Fortunately one of the rooms downstairs was showing the Botafogo game live, so the evening wasn't a total right-off.

Still, that's me - wouldn't know a good time if it samba'd right past me. And of course I will be starting every story I tell from now on with the words "Yeah, that reminds me of the time I was clubbing in Ipanema ..."

By far the best parties in Rio, as far as I'm concerned, are held in the Maracana stadium, where a game of football is merely an excuse for a party. The sun rising in the morning is an excuse for a party in Brazil, and when it sets in the evening that's merely a cue to pick up the pace, but a football match is a big deal.

I went to see Fluminense beat Sport 3-0, ninety minutes of good attacking football from both sides, and the atmosphere was like nothing else I've seen. It was a standard league game, but you'd have thought it was the world cup final from the way the crowd behaved. They have drumming bands in the crowd and chants you can actually dance to, so I shook my hips more at the game than I did in the club the other night.

Of course I'm now a huge Flu fan, but it was just luck of the draw - if any of the other teams had been playing at home this weekend I would now be wearing their strip and raving about their fluent attacking play, I'm sure. Unless it was Flamengo scum, us hardcore Fluminense supporters hate them.

Other than that I've been to Copacabana, the statue of Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf mountain, and spent a lot of time hanging out on the beach in Ipanema.

Yeah, I know, it's dreadful being me. :-)

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