A few months ago, I posted a question at a travel forum regarding using professional photo gear in Rio. A fellow named Fabio responded with some good advice. He's a cariaoca—a native born Rio de Janeiroite. We've since become friends. I brought down some camera gear that he ordered from B&H in New York and had sent to my house (both cheaper and faster for him), and he picked me up at the airport. Later, I went for a stroll around Copacabana and Ipanema and had lunch at a buffet-style restaurant which had chicken, roast, potatoes, chicken cordeau bleu (not nearly as good as Arby's), mango, papaya, and loads of other stuff. To end the day, I went to Samba/Salsa dance classes with Fabio that he takes weekly. I just watched and took a few photos.
The hostel where I'm staying is mellow and boring, as one would expect a hostel to be in Rio during Carnaval. Not! It's full, noisy, and rowdy. In my room are a Dane, three Swedes, and a Brit—and the American dude. I've also met a gal from Virginia and another from England/Scotland. Not sure who everyone is, but I do detect some additional foreign accents and languages.
To get an idea of the melodies emanating from the house, listen to this audio clip. Apparently, there is some additional benefit with which I am not familiar derived by having to yell to the person next to you to be able to communicate...ergo, the loud music.
It's somewhat hot and muggy here, but tolerable. Off to bed.