Today has been all about seeing the different lives of people in Rio.
After breakfast some of us embarked on a trip into two of Rios favelas. On the drive to our first stop our guide told the story of how it all started.
Brazil gaining independence from Portugal, the slaves were freed and eventually ended up creating the first favelas. The favelas seem to a bit of a taboo in Brazil, people not living there don’t care about what’s happening. And apparently don’t really know how it all comes together. It’s interesting to hear the story from someone who lives there him self, and to hear his wishes for everyone to go on a tour to see how it really is.
Our first stop was Favela Receptiva, a small favela that never have had a lot of crime. Mostly because of the size and the fact that there is only one entrance and exit.
Our next stop was Favela Rocinha, which in the past have had a lot of organized crime. In 2011 the Brazilian federal government together with the Rio police undertook a security operation to clean up the favela and it has since been free of the heavy organized crime.
The issue now is that there is still a lot of crime, and not a lot seem to be done by the officials to better the living conditions of everyone in there.
I did a similar trip five years ago, and as far as I can tell things seem to slowly turn to the better. There seem to be more open shops this time. Still there are the issues of bad sanitation, no running water for most, and a power grid that I guess nobody got control over.
And all of this happens just right next door to the most expensive real estate in Brazil.
After this experience we wanted to visit some, or the one, good thing that’s happened to the city after the Olympics. So we walked a few blocks from out hostel and go on the brand new subway system. A clean and tidy train that took us to Gloria Station in Lapa.
We continued on foot to Escadaria Selarón, the famous stairs covered in artistic tiles. Quite a grand site indeed.
After lounging around the steps for a while we continued down to the Santa Teresa Yellow tram terminal. This is the start of the old tram line taking tourists up the hill to the beautiful Santa Teresa region.
We might not have chosen the right day for this since a lot of shops were closed, but we had a walk around. Got a caipirinha at Mike’s Haus and some food later at Esquina de Santa.
Then we grabbed a taxi back to our hostel, and went to the beach for one last caipirinha in Rio.
Tomorrow we’ll be getting on the bus and go toward Paraty, our first day on the bus.