Rio part 1: Favelas, Talking to JC & Lapa dancing
Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
37Trip End Jan 01, 2009
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When we arrived here, it appeared like every other city we´ve arrived in at night time....and then we got that 1st glimpse of the famous Christ The Redeemer statue high in the hills all lit up and we suddenly had one of those moments that we stopped and actually realised where we were...RIO DE JANEIRO!!
However, whatever divine inspiration I was feeling suddenly went the next morning when I was awoken by the sound of 3 Dublin girls arguing in the showers over who owned the shower gel in the best of Dublin accents!! So I was certainly brought back down to earth with a bang!
Our day was to be taken up with a trip to one of the Favelas, which would be similar to ghettos but way more over crowded and a lot poorer
One of the first things the tour guide said at the entrance to the Favela was not to give money to anyone unless they give something in return. And some of the art and crafts on show was pretty amazing, one particular artist did some beautiful paintings of the Favela and of Rio, and would be the type of stuff that would see being sold for a lot more in Europe, unfortunately they weren´t very backpack friendly size wise so I couldn´t pick anything up. But seeing all the people and especially all the children there, and all of them were so friendly , smiling all the time and really polite to us, it certainly struck a chord with us all! I've attached a video of some kids playing drums and they're really really good.
The next big sight to see was the famous Christ the Redeemer statue that we all see in the videos and pictures of Rio. Apart from a few hiccups by the hostel in organising the tour, we got there just in time for sunset and it really is a breathtaking image. And yes, the 1st words that nearly every mutters as soon as they see the size of it are `Jesus Christ`. Getting up there is a good 10 minutes drive from the bottom of the mountain to top, then walking up another 20 or steps, and being met by a 38 meter (over 100 feet) high statue of Jesus is unbelievable, but when we looked over the edge of the look out point and see how how up we really were, that made it all the more special. We were actually above cloud level! The size of the statue really made me wonder how they made it and got it up there. It's just an incredible sight, a definite high point of the trip so far.
Our day wasn't over yet though and we still had to go to a street party in Lapa, a district of Rio. And it was exactly as the name says, a street party. Everyone literally goes out into the street and bars come outside too. People are running between the crowd selling food, drink, and alcoholic Mr Freeze Cool Pop. But most importantly, the music and all the people dancing in the street make an amazing atmosphere. It was a little dangerous and we heard stories of people getting mugged, Eoin nearly had his camera pick pocketed but he caught the guy red handed and ended up shaking his hand and wishing him better luck next time!
So an eventful first few days in Rio, and a few more followed with trips to the famous Copacabana, a local derby in the Maracana and massive party in a warehouse with 6,000 people!!! Will have more photos and an update soon.
All the best