- We (14 women belonging to the Women’s Travel Meetup ……… predominately from Victoria) arrived in Rio de Janeiro late….. at about 11am on Saturday morning. We had left Victoria Friday morning at 8am ish. FYI there is 5 time zones between Victoria and Rio. Needless to say, most of us were exhausted because sleeping on airplanes is not all that comfortable or productive.
4 of us didn’t even get access to our stateroom before heading off on a tour…….. one that had been pre booked. It was to see and learn about the largest favela in Rio called Racinha. Befor going to the favala, we taxied to Cococabana Palace hotel across from the beach of same name. That beach is 4 miles long, Ipanema & Leblom beaches are 2 miles each. The beaches and all the scenery of the city are absolutely stunningly beautiful. I can see why they call the harbour city one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.
Our guide met us at the hotel then we all walked to a bus stop. We rode the local bus up up and up and up some more and around crazy corners. That in itself was thrilling. Finally at almost the top, we got off. Translated, favela mean slum. People started to build shelters where they could sort of homestead on because they couldnt afford anything else. They were shacks build of whatever material they could find…… not necessarily safe. Eventually the government tore down those that were encroaching on the Tijuca National Forest and replaced them with apartments lower down at the beginning of the favela. The government also allowed more permanent structures like cement blocks, to be built. Since there is no more vacant land on the side of these hills to build on, if there is an empty roof, it is sold for yet another home to be built on top of. Hence it is very congested. This particular “town” has 300,000 residents. There are banks and lots and lots of thriving businesses and so so very many motorcycles. OMG this community is so “alive”. The “cyclist” with vests are taxis. Incidentally, they have helmets for their passengers. There is only one main road in this community but 500 alleys (not for vehicular traffic. The alleys are extremely steep and narrow. Our guide said it would not be a good idea for us to go wondering on our own. I absolutely agree. We would surely get lost. It is like a maze). This “main” road is so twisted that if two buses meet on a corner, they have to stop AND one or both have to back up to make it possible for one to pass. And…. If there is a space between those buses for a moment, the motorcycles will scoot through the middle. And everybody is honking their horns to warn others they are coming around the corner. Crazy!!!! It must be the latin in
- those people. For most of us, the higher up we live the greater the value. Not here for if you have say a fridge delivered and you live on the 6th level, you are the one whose responsibility it is to take it up. No elevators. By the way the views are breathtaking.