Copacabana, Ipanema and Favelas
16.02.2010 - 16.02.2010 35 °C
We headed out to the beachy suburbs of Copacabana and Ipanema, which are nicest parts of Rio. We walked (yes, Seth walked) the length of the beaches stopping frequently for swims as the temp was about 35degees, and thankfully the water was freezing! Making the walk a little easier. The beaches were packed - I thought Bondi on a busy holiday was bad, but these were crazy.
All the Brazilians wear the tiniest bikini bottoms and padded tops (yes, Seth they are all padded!) and the boys all wear Euro-togs... so, Seth and I stood out a little in my big-bottomed bikini and Seth in his Speedos! Even the fattest bottoms wore tiny biknis - really not very flattering.
The crowded beaches did make it very hard to continue my celebrity-spotting, but when we were outside the Copacabana Palace Hotel we were told that Madonna and Beyonce were in there!
The beaches have a beautiful outlook and some great paving along the boardwalk, just a shame there were so many people there.
In the afternoon, we headed off on a tour into the other side of Rio, the favelas (slums,shanty towns) - these are communities that have grown within Rio, usually on the side of hills, giving them great views and usually where the good parts of a city are built! Usually favelas develop (or are pushed by the Govt) on the outskirts of cities, but here in Rio they are right next to the posh bits, one we visited even backed onto the best Golf Club in Rio.
In the 80s the Govt´s plan was to get rid of them, but in the last 20/30 years they have decided to integrate them into the city, provide services (water, elec, sewerage and actual addresses) - because it~s cheaper and easier than building homes for all the people in them.
We visited 2 - Villa do Canoas and Rocinho.
Canoas was a small, clean, well run favela, just a hodge-podge of houses built on top of each other, which a great community school (funded by our tour).
Rocinho was a drug-run favela, there were places we weren~t allowed to photo and we had to open all the windows onthe minibus so that they knew who was coming into the favela. It was more what expected, but again looked to be run in an organised and community way - I guess the drug lords are good at that! We were warned that we might see guns and drugs, but didn´t (probably just a tour-tactic!).
Both favelas were quite fine with having tourists walk through and it didn~t seem too voyeuristic - we got some great pics from the top of them both!