A great place to start

Trip Start Jul 02, 2009
Trip End Jun 28, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Thursday, July 2, 2009

It was sort of ironic that having pulled off the Great Escape that I spent a substantial part of the first day in Brasil sorting the galleys for my last publication (at least as a corresponding author) from where I used to work.  The rest of the day was spent sourcing the appropriate Lonely Planet since I'd left The South American Handbook in Congleton and emailing my friends in Melbourne to see if there was anything useful I might do there.   This was not as easy as you might think because you normally use the guide book to locate the book shop.

I visited the Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer like everybody does and there's not much to say that others have not already said.  Weather was not great for photography but Rio (or Heeo as the Brazilians would say) is such a gorgeous city so who actually cares.  The juice bars are not to be missed and my lodgings were a short walk from Lapa so I was set.

Distribution of wealth in Brazil is not as even as it might be and this poses a problem for folk who want to participate in Rio's economy but can't actually afford to live there.  One solution is the favela which can be translated as 'slum'.  I visited Rocinha on a favela tour and found the excursion both educational and inspiring.  The favelas tend to be on less than prime land which in Rio means steep hillsides.  The folk who live in favelas need to make efficient use of the limited resources available to them and, while the result may not be pretty, it is certainly functional.  I've got a slot at the BrazMedChem conference in November and will use a Rocinha pic in the title slide to illustrate Brazilan ingenuity.  I hope they like it.
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