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Published: April 4th 2013
05-02 to 10-02 : Rio de Janeiro
Rio is in places a very pretty city and in some places it looks like a bomb site... We arrived 3 days before Carnaval to be able to visit the city prior to Carnaval madness.... However the flow of people in the street and the Carnaval atmosphere was already in full flow...!
We went to see the famous Corcovado: it is an impressive piece of Art Deco Style this Christ the Redeemer, Portuguese Cristo Redentor, colossal statue of Jesus Christ at the summit of Mount Corcovado. It was completed in 1931 and stands 98 feet (30 metres) tall, its horizontally outstretched arms spanning 92 feet (28 metres). The statue, made of reinforced concrete clad in a mosaic of thousands of triangular soapstone tiles, sits on a square stone pedestal base about 26 feet (8 metres) high, which itself is situated on a deck atop the mountain’s summit. One can see all Rio from the top. We elbowed our way through the crowds at the summit to be able to take a few shots 'for the album'... The views from Mount Corcovado are spectacular.
Of course we went to hang out
at Copacabana & Ipanema Beaches - we (Marie) did notice that men have got better bodies than women but even so Latin-American are beautiful people! We think that the men build muscle to create a look of toughness and hence not allow themselves to be a victim in what seems to be a bipolar city. It's Beauty (Beaches, People & their charm, Carnaval atmosphere etc..) and the Beast (high crime rates, petty theft & more serious muggings/robberies, territorial markings of gangs such as: 0.05mm, 0.09mm, 0.13mm - i.e bullet sizes..) Made Rio (at times) an unnerving city.
We stayed in Santa Teresa (a lovely, peaceful, working class neighbourhood) which is comparable to Montmartre in Paris. Streets are made of cobble stone and the hills are steep! If tired there is always moto-taxi to bring you up from the bottom for 4 R$.
Our hostel was comfortable, handy and people were very helpful the place was a very positive space except the relentless mosquitoes....
We managed to have tickets for the Sambadromo to watch the procession of the Access Group on the first day of Carnaval: they have to compete to be able to be part of the
main parade next year. Very good ambiance, great music and what a show!! It certainly lived up to our expectations 😊
We went to a football match with the local association Be a Local - www.bealocal.com. their moto is: don't be a gringo, be a local, they manage favela tour, city tour, favela party and football ticket. We watched Fluminese vs Vasco - final score 1-1. The atmosphere was fantastic and we definitely felt the intensity of the 'local derby'.
We didn't feel the need to visit a favela, of course it is good to support a community but I can't get my head around visiting a poor ghetto. The government does offer them big screen TV, and other home appliances to keep them happy and also offer them money to send kids to school. The actual situation is created by their own government and my support will not change a thing. There is more petty crime and it is spreading - this is due to the Police being in 'control' of the Favela's as opposed to the previous 'rulers' the Drug cartels. Previously fear of death would stop people stealing - especially from outside of
the Favela's. The Cartels leaders would ensure there was little or no intervention from the Police (to keep their drug business running smoothly) Now things are different and the 'respect' once shown amongst the people is disappearing....
We did feel that Rio at night and even sometimes during the day is dangerous. If you have to go out at night then a taxi is the best option. Rio has got a Metro which is open all night during the Carnaval season and also a very good bus system.
If can speak some Spanish, you can understand the Brazilian Portuguese. The language does sing (similar to Italian although less aggressive), lovely to listen to!
We had a fantastic time in Rio but were happy to leave and get into a more peaceful environment...
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