Final Month on the Road
Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
289Trip End Jan 25, 2009
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Rio's weather hasn't improved. Like Hong Kong, I have despised the weather and it has had a real dampener on my experience of the city. It is a real shame because Rio is probably the most beautiful city in the world... the most beautiful I've ever been to. I have only had 2 or 3 days of clear blue skies out of 16. There may be one tomorrow which will give me the opportunity to visit the Redeemer.
CNN is broadcasting a very interesting show at the moment with a focus on Brazil. Good timing! The show is confirming many of my observations about life here. One issue that is of particular interest is the significant gap between rich and poor... one of the greatest in the world. Both groups live side by side, often separated by just a highway or high rise wall. Ipanema, where I'm staying, is considered to house the wealthy. The wealthy live in apartments where as the poor live on the street (I see them everywhere) and in Flavelas (shanty towns). I have had to look more than once at some of the poor sleeping on the streets. It is like I'm in an African country with such extreme poverty.
Brazil is becoming one of the powerhouses of the industrial world... and has a significant job ahead of it if it is to ensure that it's country's wealth will be shared amongst every Brazillian. Lets hope that the country's planned investments in social capital, education etc. will see improvements in the years to come. I'd like to revisit this country in time to see if the poverty on the streets has declined. Interestingly, 1 in 5 Brazillians live below the poverty line and 10% of the population is unemployed. The country has a long way to go to relieve the poverty experienced here. Another interesting fact is that a few decades ago, Rio was the most dangerous city in South America but now rates as the 23rd. Goes to show that the police here are doing an outstanding job in improving life for the locals. Unfortunately, the crime continues as evidenced yesterday when a bus of tourists got hijacked as they were travelling from the international airport. You never know what's around the corner!
I must say that the impoverished in Australia sure do live a good life compared to those here... but we do share similar issues especially with solvent abuse amongst the indigenous and homeles (not that we have many homeless... and most of those are by choice).