A day in the largest Favela in Rio

Trip Start May 10, 2011
Trip End Apr 15, 2012

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So this morning we had to sort out out bus to Bolivia - I think we have been putting it off as we know its another mammoth journey back there - again the flights are just soooo expensive so its long long hours of overland travel again.  Its good that we did South America last though cause if it had been at the beginning of our travels we prob would have just said "fook it lets pay for the flight" but money is running out rapidly we are going to have to sit down over a beer when we get to Bolivia and make a plan - to do Columbia or not is the problem.  Every single person we have met has said its been amazing but as we fly out of Lima in Peru to bus all the way up there and back would be the biggest bus journey so far and thats saying a lot after doing 65 hours....anyway a story for another day !


The Favela Tour
(there is a couple of videos uploaded too)

 So we get picked up from the hostel and head to the Rocinha Favela, the biggest in Rio, its estimated somewhere between 150,000 and 300,00 people live here.  It is built on a very steep hill and from the top has some amazing views over Rio, unfortunately the downside of this is that heavy rains cause houses to collapse and fall down.

Some of the houses are 3 or 4 stories high, and most have running water and cable TV, there are schools, a post office and a hospital and plenty of shops, banks, barbers everything a normal town would have.


Unexpected "moto" taxi up ..
Once we got out the van we realised we had to take a moto taxi to get to the top - neither me or Marc are big fans of motorbikes but we couldn't really say no, so needless to say I was on the first taxi and off we went - girls were allowed to hang onto the drivers but men had to hold onto the back of the bike as the drivers had complained haha too funny. The drive up was great I love being on the back of a bike even though its scary, we nipped in and out of the traffic as we climed higher up the hill, passing all the shops and the daily goings on of the favela.

The Tour
We spent the next 3 hours walking back to the bottom of the favela, we got to see an Art gallery where they were selling paintings made by the people who lived there, they were amazing but soo expensive its a shame cause only one person bought one of the smallest paintings and that was 20, I am sure if they charged less they would make more money.  

Anyway we stopped for some lunch and bought some bracelets, so many of the people there have some way of earning money - although a lot of the houses look bad from the outside - inside were big TV's, and huge fridge freezers, goodness knows how they carried them up the small alleyways through the slums.

We met a group of young kids who played music using just old paint cans - they were amazing - the wee kid dancing was so lovely - but they were excellent with just some old tin cans.  

Recent Police Control
Until Nov 2011 basically these places were run by drug lords and ex military and you had to live by their rules for example pay them extra tax each month for "protection" - this changed in Nov when the Police gave 2 weeks notice that they would be coming in and sure enough they did with all sorts of armour - see the article on bbc below.

From what I gather full order is not yet fully in control but things are improving.  We seen a few houses of times past that the walls were full of bullet holes, it must have been pretty scary times living there.  The idea is that all this is cleared up for the Olympics in 2014 - seeing as there are over 1000 favela's in Rio there is a lot of work to be done.

It was a really good day out to see this, and this was definitely in a bit better state than the slum we seen in Mumbai so I guess we kinda knew what to expect to see - but if in Rio its defo worth going on the tour.

Cost of the tour - 23 each  

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