I was a little apprehensive on my travels to Brazil, it’s said you should not always believe what you see and hear on TV - good or bad.
Rio is certainly famous for its beautiful beaches, culture and climate along with of course the infamous life inside the Favela’s. Although I always found this part of Rio to be interesting and exciting, the reality when I arrived was very different -especially as I looked outside my hotel window One side was a view of Copa Cabana beach and the other a hill side covered in Favela’.
It was made very clear that although where we were staying was safe, we were under no circumstances to head into the Favela to check it out.
My interest and from what I had seen on TV still left me wondering, what it was all really about so it was time to get some local intel to satisfy my hunger.
There are basically 4 Gangs and without dressing it up they typically end up shooting the shit out of each other - for one reason or another, but at the end of the day it comes back to crime and major drug trafficking. Whoever runs the Favela is King of course, and when they get killed someone else takes their place on the ‘Cocaine Throne’. Pretty easy to get your head around. Not so great for the families that have no choice but to live there due to financial circumstances-it’s the hand that life cruelly dealt them. When its kicks off everyone suffers.
You have the Amigos Dos Amigos (ADA) these guys from what I’m told are the long standing bad boys and it tends to be here where the birth place of the other 3 gangs all branch off from, so in a roundabout way it’s full on internal war and long-standing battles for power and money. I have been told that this brutal existence really does stay within the Favela’s, as to not draw attention from outside the walls - and more importantly disrupt business inside. The existence of each Favela relies on the criminal activity that takes place daily, so when the Police/Military enter and cause disruption (War) then the economy of the favela hits rock bottom.
Time was not on our side, we had to leave Rio in a couple of days to grab a flight to Sau Paulo. This meant it was time to do some quick tourist stuff as you just never know if you will be going back.
You guessed it, Christ Redeemer - I’ve seen this place so many times over the years on TV and in magazines, I’m sure you will all know of it, this has to be seen! I had no idea how amazing this was going to be, the train ride up the mountain was unreal. It’s really hard to believe it until you see it first-hand, how high up you actually go - the views are out of this world. You look down at the whole of Rio, I’ll shut up and let some of the images do the talking.
The next stop was to hit a few beaches, we have the famous Copacabana. This beach was exactly as expected, beautiful in everywhere especially with its surrounding backdrops of mountains etc. For me though the beach that stood out was Ipanema.
I have never seen or heard of a beach that had what I was about to see. It was Halloween and the Brazilians where celebrating a couple days later, with a big street party and fancy dress costume’s everywhere. We walked down to meet friends for some drinks and to watch the sun go down. Our meeting spot was right out on the edge of the rocks at the end of Ipanema beach.
The location was spot on as you could see the city disappear around the cove into the distance, and as the sun went down the city lights really made for a great view. I’m going off on a tangent here, this part of the beach was where everyone surfed, and it was cool to just hang out and watch everyone surfing - then it happened.
As the sun dropped and the darkness set boom! A huge blast of light came from nowhere or at least I thought nowhere. I had not noticed the huge football stadium flood light situated on one of the rocks that lit the sea so the surfing could continue into the night. This was really something, and such a cool thing to see. So if you ever fancy surfing at night then Ipanema beach in Rio is worth a visit for sure.
It was time for food and bed as the next day was a rush, some last-minute sight-seeing and then to catch a plane to Sau Paulo for a Brazilian Wedding but that’s another story. Whoop Whoop
I hope some of my images do this blog justice, and gives you a little insight to how cool Rio is. I’m defiantly going back to finish off my inquisitiveness about parts of Rio, and if I make it out alive I’ll head to the Amazon and see what that has in store for me.