Our Ghetto Apartment in a Fab Location

25 Mar

A few months before the trip started, we had difficulty finding reasonable housing in Rio. All of the hotels in Copacabana and Ipanema are extremely expensive (upwards of $300/night), and the hostels are dirty and somewhat unsafe. We decided to give Airbnb a shot. There seemed to be a few reasonable options in some prime areas, and we booked a place that was in a great location for $78/night.

It turns out that this place sucks and you get what you pay for! The reviews were all glowing…up until about a week before we checked in. We got nervous but told ourselves it was okay, because maybe the recent disgruntled reviews came from high maintenance folks or something, and that it couldn’t be that bad. So the verdict?

The studio apartment itself is clean, wifi is consistent and fast, there’s a washing machine, and the bed is decently comfortable, but it goes downhill from there. The refrigerator door is falling off its hinges. The bathroom is a small, damp, and dirty place. The toilet seat is pretty scratched up and is painful to sit on for more than a few minutes. The washing machine dumps the dirty water back into the shower to drain! And the gas in the kitchen leaks badly, forcing me to turn off the main gas at all times except when Jeannie showers (it’s so hot here in Rio that I shower cold). We wouldn’t dare try cooking here with this gas leak. We have to be careful to not leave food out because of ants (they are tiny here though). While our host was showing us around, we saw a huge cockroach. Luckily after our host got rid of it, we haven’t seen any since, although we have seen cockroaches in markets, restaurants, and on the street. We can hear our neighbors at all hours of the day and night. (They seem to like 90s Top 40 music!)

Despite the misgivings, it has been very convenient to do laundry with a machine. The last time our clothes were laundered by a machine was 2.5 weeks ago in Easter Island, and it cost us $22. That sounds like a long time, but we’ve been alternating between cold and hot weather clothing all month, so it’s been manageable to go this long. It will be great to start off the Asia leg with a backpack of completely clean clothes though!

There is an AC unit that is fully functional, definitely a luxury that we have been taking advantage of! Though the fridge door is wonky, it is glorious and convenient to access our store-bought water, juices, and fruit immediately.

Also, this location can’t be beat. Our studio is located in a cul de sac with all high rise apartment buildings and a subway stop steps from our door. The front entrance of our building is locked during most of the day and you need to be buzzed in. The neighborhood feels pretty safe, there are lots of people with their children and dogs bustling about. Within a 2-3 block radius of us, there are numerous bus lines (the subway is limited), fully stocked supermarkets, restaurants, banks, and both Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.

However, we can’t wait to leave this place tomorrow. Onward to Tokyo, one of the cleanest cities in the world!

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2 Responses to “Our Ghetto Apartment in a Fab Location”

  1. Oscar March 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM #

    When reading it at first, I thought Jer probably wished he has his glock with him…turns out you didn’t need it . At least you and Jeannie survived with nearby supermarkets, restaurants.

  2. Traveling Saver March 26, 2012 at 8:17 PM #

    Cool post – I just wrote about AirBnB – small world! http://travelingsaver.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/cozy-cheap-vacation-rentals-through-airbnb/

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