Rio was our last stop before our flight home. It ended up being one of
our favourite places- a really interesting and beautiful city with great
atmosphere and people. This is Copacabana beach on a quiet morning...
The waves on Rio's beaches are really powerful so you can't really swim.
Woohoo! a tan.. sort of...
These monkeys live in Rio and came around to the hostel looking for scraps of food.
Went out to Niteroi, just outside Rio, to the the Oscar Niemayer designed MAC.
Tried to go up the Sugarloaf but it was covered in cloud at the time and we never made it back unfortunately.
a couple of nights in a ten bed dorm in Copacabana we decided to treat
ourselves to a nice hostel up in the hills of Santa Teresa, an artsy
middle class area of the city. The views were amazing. Christ the
Redeemer was smaller than we expected, that's him on the hill.
of the highlights of the trip was our Favela tour. It sounds like a
strange idea and there are some tours were people are driven around in
safari jeeps which is pretty insulting for the people living in the
slums but we were really lucky as our hostel put us in contact with a
guy who was from the favela who gave us a personal waking tour, which
involved going for a great lunch and visiting his house for a drink. We
loved the Rocinha favela that we visited. The people were really
friendly and it was a really vibrant exciting place. This is the
biggest of many favelas in Rio with 300,000 people living there. We
were so impressed by how the whole thing had developed with no support
from the government. At the start of the last century many poor people
fought in the army having been promised work and housing. The
government never followed through and the people were told they could
build in the hills. Then more poor people flocked in from the rural
north hoping to get work. Since there is no real welfare for the
unemployed, everyone has to work so the people from the favelas work on
the beaches selling drinks and chairs, they drive the buses and
basically do all the jobs that keep the city going. Apparently 1 in 3
people in Rio live in a favela. Although we saw a few shacks on the
outskirts most of the housing was built to a fairly high standard and at
least as good as housing we'd seen in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and
Views of the favela from near the top...
community are self governed and have managed to organise and develop
all facilities, including water, electricity, bin collection, and
transport. The police rarely come in and when they do it results in
shoot outs and violence. Nobody likes the police around here and due to
massive corruption it's hard to know who the good guys are. The drug
gangs rule the favelas, and it seems to work. Apart from what they get
up to, there is barely any other crime. If anyone in the community
steps out of line the gang will deal with them as they don't want any
reason for the police to have to come in. Our guide assured us that
nobody would even try to steal anything and children are safer to roam
around here on their own than pretty much anywhere else. If anyone were
to do anything to a child they know they would be taken up the hills
and shot. The gangs sell drugs openly on the streets and after a great
meal in a local pay per kilo buffet we saw them with the drugs spread
out on a table like a typical market stall in their usual spot. Our
guide brought us up to his house which was of the same standard as most
flats and apartments in Dublin (that I've lived in anyway). He donates
some of the money he gets from giving tours back to the communtiy and
is involved in a lot of art projects and wants to set up a dj school.
having the trip of a live time, it was time to leave the 32degrees
sunshine of Rio de Janeiro and fly home for Christmas...It was an
amazing experience and we were really lucky to have no real problems at
all along the way. We'll miss South America!