30-minutes after boarding the Varig plane from Buenos Aires and drying our tears, we were in Brazil. The seaside, moonlit mountains and an illuminated Jesus in the sky marked our arrival in Rio de Janeiro. The place I’d secretly imagined I had come from. The soccer, surfing and samba of it all called to me.

Funky, beach house greeted us as we signed in at Mellow Yellow, our terraced hostel boasting a Jacuzzi and restaurant on the top floor. With a room named futebol, it was only fitting that I got a Ronaldinio locker and Kirsten scored a Ronaldo one. Our first morning, we awoke from a chicken ensulada-induced sleep with a fan cutting through the brazilan humidity to the accompaniment of our Texan and Australian roomies snoring. The cheese, ham, toast and watermelon breakfast which only finished at 1pm daily hinted that Rio was not the city for relaxing. The loud, musical streets told us we could sleep when we were dead.

We thought we were being productive in persisting with our sightseeing schedule to go up through Corcovado National Park to see the statue of Christ (Christo Redentor) on an overcast day. All we “saw” was an outline of Him through the mist and the aerial view of the city looked like sweet nothing on our side of the clouds. There isn’t much that makes up for wasting 100 reals and not being able to see the symbol of Rio, other than the sweet, slushy pulp of the acai berry sprinkled with granola. Perpeptual backpacking brokenness ensured that this berry product and salty popcorn made the perfect lunch.

Note to self and all those jumping into group cabs from the hostel in search of parties. Do not heed the advice of foreigners pretending to be tour guides. You’ll find yourself standing beneath the arches of Lapa, officially soaked and wondering why you bothered creating waves in your hair with curling tongs. You will have bypassed the obvious location of entertainment where the locals are busting out and find yourself in a dark warehouse resembling somewhere from you nightmares where progressive, have-to-be-high music deafens you. Not the stellar first impression of Brazil I had hoped for.