Rio - The Favelas

Trip Start May 12, 2013
Trip End Jul 30, 2013

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

As our favela tour with Simone was in the afternoon, we had spare time to laze around for the morning. Headed back to Copacabana beach (Ipanema was quite a walk away) for a tan. Waves seemed stronger today, but I didn't plan to get wet today. We stayed from 10-12, before packing up to head to the local haviannas store to round up our slippers purchases. I bought another 3 pairs :D

We headed back to the hostel after to drop our bags, and got ready for the tour. Simone came to pick us up punctually at 1.45pm and navigated us through the Rio streets. We went through some chaotic traffic and up the hills to the top of Santa Marta Favela, made famous by Michael Jackson's MV 'they don't care about us'.

Simone explained that years ago the government started clearing up the favelas of drug trade, chasing out the local drug lords, and putting in place the local police. Santa Marta was the first favela to be cleared. As the government moved in, they put in place proper water, sewage, electricity, built safer buildings, and even built Furniculars so that residents can get from the bottom of the hill to the top using the lift. The streets (or rather stairs) are paved concrete, compared with clay of the past. And undoubtedly, the life of residents here have improved. Many of them came from poorer cities in Brazil, and because of the expensive rentals in cities, they are made to move into these slums.

Santa Marta is just one of nearly a thousand favelas in Rio, and it isn't the largest. But looking at the entire neighborhood from the top gave an indication of the vastness of the neighborhood.

There weren't many people around in the day, as most are out working in the city area. We walked downhill, past a souvenir shop, and the MJ memorial made of mosaic tiles. At the main square right at the bottom of the hill were some colorful buildings which were picturesque. Too bad there wasn't a good viewpoint to take a good shot of the whole landscape.

We took the furnicular back up to mid hill, and walked back up to the top to conclude our tour. Tour was safe, and we met no problems with the locals along the way.

Moving out to another hostel near downtown Rio tomorrow!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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