My first three days of Rio are up, and I manage to find my way to a bus stop opposite Bogafoda shopping mall and chance one of the seven bus lanes that takes me to the airport to fly to Porto Alegre – (100 reals cheaper than a taxi and 30 mins extra but worth it).
I am due back in Rio in 8 days where I will be meeting up with various charities working in the favelas. The favelas are notorious for the high levels of crime and are no go tourist areas. However, the favelas that meet the most popular beaches have been ‘pacified’ over the years. The implementation of the police being more visible and new hostels inviting tourists has made these areas a safer place to visit. It still gives a sense of an invisible line between the two areas making the divide between rich and poor more tangible.
My experience of walking through the favelas (which I never took my camera to) is met with a steep climb up cobbled streets past shops and children and families playing and climbing over stepping stone bricks sticking out of sides of houses. Life continues behind more tired looking shop fronts and a bit more rubbish. As you ascend the temperature rises, and I hear the gushing of water being drained from the source somewhere above me. The houses then take an even more steep climb by being impossibly stacked on top of each other covering the rest of the mountain side. At night these communities look like diamonds trickling down the valleys onto the sea front, which is the opposite of what it really is