Monday, June 27, 2011

Ipeanema Copacabana beach, Walking through a Favela, Great views...again

So far I’ve spent lots of time in Rio. Too much time in fact.

My plans are to head up north to Belem to find a boat down the Amazon to Manaus.

For the mean time I’ll continue to hang around Rio as it’s terribly difficult to buy an airplane ticket online with the air plane companies in Brazil.

They require a Brazilian ID number (CPF) and such, and paying with an international credit card is impossible or a hassle.

The Dutch girls tried for over 4 hours calling and such to buy some tickets with no success.

So it seems going directly to the airport to buy them is the only option for me. For those traveling to Brazil for the world cup or anything, I highly suggest getting a Brazil Air Pass from GOL or TAM. For $500 US you get 5 flights in Brazil to anywhere there’s an airport. Only problem is you have to fly in on an international flight and use it within 21 days of purchase and can’t visit the same city twice. I walked in so I couldn’t purchase it.

Until then I’ll hang around the city some more.

Been going to the beach quite a bit.

The famous beaches here in Rio are Copacabana and Ipanema. I’m sure you’ve all heard the famous songs that have these names. I believe that the songs made these beaches famous and not the other way around.

Was even a protest biker ralley going on.Made me miss the bike

So like I said before, the view is quite nice around these parts.

I was also accompanied to the beach by my new friends from the Netherlands and from Australia.

Coconut, beach, sun in the middle of winter with a great view….yes life is good!

There are lots of beach sports going on with some good talent.

There was also a soccer game today with Flamenco where the famous Ronaldinho plays at now, (which everyone says he’s sucking pretty bad now that’s he’s back home partying ad such). But tickets were over $40 dollars. Not in my budget, so I’ll be watching that on TV if I have time.

I also visited a Brazilian Favela….oooo soooo scary right?

Well turns out I didn’t feel scared before or after I went in.

I visited the Rocinha favela, the largest in Rio de Janeiro. There are over 100 favelas in Rio FYI

There was an armed gangster at the entrance to the favela, as there’ only one way in and another way out.

We went to a roof of a house for some "safe" pictures

They typically watch out for suspicious people. These guards are owned by the drug leaders of the community.

The drug leaders promise the people of the favelas a few things: No raping, no crime, free medical services and other things in return for complete loyalty.

The favelas also steal the city’s power, and cable. And have low rent, $75 a month or so for a small place.

Lots of trash though

The reason drugs are such a big issue here is because Rocinha is located right next door to the richest part of Rio.  It’s not even one block away, its right next door!

On the world economic index, the favela is the poverty of Ghana and on the street next to it exist the standard of living compared to Canada or the United States.

It was a huge contrast for just once city block, and it was crazy to see.

Favela to the right, rich homes to the left

The rich buy the drugs from the Favela, so for the dealers it’s the best location in the world for drugs selling and distribution, which is why it seems to prevail so much and will continue to do so.

But it’s very evident of the change the city is doing to change that with more police prescience and relocations and such. As the world Cup is in 2014 is coming to Rio and the city’s image is at stake.

People usually think bad about the favelas and how dangerous they are, but it’s pretty exaggerated.

Although I went in a tour, I was going to just show up and take a moto taxi up and down to check it out which I should have done. The chances of something happening would have been quite slim from what I saw but still a risk. Our tour guide restricted us from taking pictures while in the car and such making a huge deal about it. Too much on my personal belief. I’ve had lots of experiences in dangerous parts of the world and this one was pretty docile.

Went through some Favela alleys

We even went to visit a center for kids after school to promote staying away from drugs and violence

Some of the other tourists even donated some stuff.

Once from the favela I got to the hostel and took a walk along the beach for a nice sunset.

Even saw a free gym!

Great view

The famous statue

It was pretty crazy actually as you can see from the cloud formations.

As I’m sure you’ve heard on the news that the Puyehue Volcano I Chile erupted. Besides the fact that I passed by that volcano I Chile a few months back and the interesting feeling it is to know that, I think the clouds were part of the erratic weather patterns of the region. I’ve never seen such formations in my life and it was quite unique.

And a nice interview to finish off the post

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