Rio part 1: Favelas, Talking to JC & Lapa dancing

Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
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Trip End Jan 01, 2009


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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rio.....what a place!!

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. The one we went to was the biggest and housed over 200,000 people in a 1 square kilometer area, so I´m sure you can imagine the conditions are pretty bad to say the least. The money we spent on the tour goes straight back into the area and has already helped to build a school and begun to clean up the sanitation. At the start of the trip, we had to get on the back of a really dodgy motorbike and be brought up on a slalom trip to the top of the mountain, which involved diving in between cars, buses, people and just about anything that came in front of us!! At one stage my elbows hit off the mirror of car, so it was a great start to it all!

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
James 
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Comments

lorim
lorim on

Brazil
The photos are amazing! Love the one of you with CtR, I was dying to know what you'd think of it.

cazamccawley
cazamccawley on

WOW
Can't believe you were there.... I've always wanted to go there and wear my Tee Shirt. Jose would be proud of you he's from there. Had 2 lovely days in Dublin for Dad's B.Day. You'll see the photos. Just had a little dinner in Dun Laoghaire. And by the way Olivier loves the Tee Shirt HOOTERS... And YES I WILL LET HIM WEAR IT.....I'M not that bad... YET....
He didn't know what HOOTERS was had to explain by showing him..... He got the picture then. ha ha.
Oh and we watched the Sky Dive and Scuba Dive you looked cool with your shhin flying in the air like you just had a face lift... No seriously Hats Off to You for being so brave. You should have seen Mam watching it she had her hands up over her eyes when she saw you jump out of the plane. And was asking why the inructor's arms were moving so much.... Great laugh and Dad looked so proud watching it. So well done. Keep up the good work.
Lots of Love from Kerry. XXXXXXXXXX

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