Trip Start Dec 02, 2010
17Trip End Mar 04, 2011
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Once at the top, we started on the 2-3 hour walking trip back down to the starting point. During which time, we stopped off at a local art gallery, bakery, listened to some local lads practising for the Samba school and finally a day care centre where young kids go to while their parents are out at work. The guide was really good and probably spoke to every single person we met on the way down. He was really informative about how the favelas originated, the fact that up until very recently it has been a no go area for the government and the police and that everything was managed by the drug dealers. The drug dealers provide for the cummunity, but also manage it with a iron fist. Any crime is usually paid for with your life. Times are changing though. With Rio hosting both the world cup and the olympics in upcoming years, the government has set the target of taking control over Rio's 200 favelas by 2014. This has led to some big shoot outs between the military and the drug dealers in recent weeks and months. With an estimated $5m generated in drug money a month in this favela alone, you can see why the dealers aren't giving it up without a fight. One of the things I was really surprised at was that renting one of the favelas can cost upto £200 per month. Unbelievable, for what is little more that a shack with a corrugated steel roof.
We didn't take too many photos on the tour. In some ways, I didn't think it was massively appropriate and secondly, we were only allowed to use our cameras in certain part of the tour. The drug dealers are nervous of undercover police, so many parts were off limit. Overall, I'm really pleased that we did the tour. It showed another side to Rio away from the long beaches and glamorous bars.
We made our way back to Santa Teresa for mid afternoon, where we had a stonking great lunch at Bar Do Amaudo, chilled out in the hammocks at the hotel and then spent the evening getting drunk in Bar Do Gomez. Excellent bar, making great Caiprinha and caipivodka. Possibley not the best idea when we are leaving Rio early in the morning and haven't started packing yet..........