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 Brazil
 20th august to 6th september 2006
 
Rio de Janeiro

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Friday, september 1'st

Leaving Buzios at 8.30 for Rio de Janeiro. Same minibus, same driver and same company - only myself. But this time it's day and dry, so you can actually see where you are going. A lot of poor farmland, and as we get closer to Rio, it's more industrial-areas and favellas.

We arrive at Rio Othon Olinda at 11.30. I say goodbye to the driver, and checks in at room 205. Othon Olinda is a bit old and rundown - just the place I like - and it's right on Copacabana.

I spend the day walking Copacabana. First all the way up this famous beach - and then plans are to walk all the way down. But as I pass my hotel it starts to rain, so I get inside for a football match on the TV instead.

There's not many people on Copacabana on a day like this - the locals find it too cold. 22 degrees celsius is not a decent weather for beach-life. So there's only a few football players, and the usual guys selling fake football-shirts.

One of the bars at Copacabana - selling  ???

Not the Copacabana you will see in the tourist brochures

Dinner at a local Charuscoria. Plenty of red meat and good salad. You pay 3 reails for 100 grams.

The day ends in the hotel bar with a view across the road to Copacabana. Well actually a view towards the gas-station in the middle of the road.

 

Saturday, september 2'nd

First duty is a local ATM. 350 Reials for the the last few days.

350 Reials is by the way the minumum-wage for a month here in Brazil. Christina tells about that on my first tour of the day - a favela-tour.  So I spend the same amount of money on a few days as a tourist as a lot of people is making in a month. Something to think about.

A large part of the inhabitants of Rio is living in favelas placed up the hills. Favelas has got a reputation for being dangerous. Police has nothing to do here. The local drug-dealers are controlling these areas. But Christina tells us that we can be safe. They know we are here as tourists, and the moral-codecs of the favella is that crime is not allowed inside the favella. That will only attract the police, and noone is interested in that.

View of Rocinha

Roofs of Rocinha

It's ok to take pictures, but not of people wearing guns or walkie-talkies. They are involved in drugdealing, and would not be happy to see their faces on www.henningn.dk. Favelas is also known from the great film "City of Gods"

The first favela is called Rocinha and it's huge. No one really knows how many people live here, but estimated - on the use of electricity - it's somewhere between 100.000 and 150.000 people. We make 3 stops in Rocinha. One just as we get into the favella, one a a building with a nice view across the favela and the last one in a busy shopping-street. A favela is like a whole community. You don't have to get outside. You can buy everything you need in the favela.

The architecture of a favala is something speciel. Houses are build of what you can get. Rocinha is a relatively "wealthy" favela, so most houses are made of decent materials, but here and there you also see blue plastic used as part of the construction.

Many houses are in more floors. They build one floor, and when that's not enough they put another one on top - etc. etc. There's no earthquakes in Brazil, so it seems to be an ok method.

Electricity is something special as well. Cables are everywhere, hanging across the streets. In this area most houses has water and sewers as well - and most even satellite-dishes. According to Christina no one in Brazil can live without football and soap-operas on the TV.

This is a special thing in Villa Canoas - a playground. You don't see that in many favelas

Second tour of the day is for Maracana - one of the largest football-stadiums in the world. It was built for the world cup in 1950, and they promised to paint it, in the colours of the champions - believing that it would be Brazil. But it wasn't, so the stadium is painted lightblue - the colours of Uruguay.

The match tonight is between Flamengo and Internacional. One of the best clubs in Rio vs. the winner of Copa Libertadores (Champions league of South America). Only a crowd of 14.000, but they make a lot of noise. Flamengo gets in front at the end of the 1'st half, but the game is turned upside down as Internacional scores on two penalties in the second half. The crowd is not at alle happy with the home team - especially the left back who was the guilty one for the second penalty is having a hard time with the crowd.

Before the match at Maracana

Electricity in Villa Canoas

Next favela is much smaller. It's called Villa Canoas. We visit a community-school - called Para Ti - where they try to help the kids that is dependent on the hopeless public schools. Half of the price of this tour, is for supporting this school.

Then we walk the tiny alleys of this favela. If the guide wasn't there we would get lost.

The whole trip takes 3 hours - some of the most well spent 3 hours on any tour I have ever taken.

The match ends at 8 and we return to the hotel.

 

Sunday, September 8'th

Sugar Leaf

The big Rio-tour today. Guide is picking me up at 9 for a trip to the major Rio sights. First one is Sugar Leaf - or Pao de Acucar in the local language.

It takes 2 rides on a aerial ropeway to get to the mountain with the great views. Weather is perfect, so you can see all the Rio neighbourhoods clustered among the green hills in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Sugar Leaf is app. 400 m. hight, and is also a good destination for rock-climbers. There are several groups climbing up and down the hills this morning.

 

A couple of small aeroplanes is in the air above writing the letters Oi in their stream. Oi is a telephone-company sponsoring the Rio Marathon that takes place today.

From Sugar Loaf we cross the city to the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon. It's nice weather, so there are people at the beaches today.

And then it's time for lunch.

Nice Rio-view from Sugar Leaf

Would this be the size of today's catch?

Afternoon starts with a drive through the huge Tijuana-forest to the mountain of Corcovado. This place is famous for the huge christ-figure - called Christ the Redeemer. We are 710 m. up in the air, so it's pretty cold. We get to see the statue, and the nice view before we get on the bus again. Now we go down through the charming - but also dangerous area of Santa Theresa. We pass the house where Ronnie Biggs - famous english train-robber - spent his life, before going back to England and prison in 2001. Later we also pass Maracana and the Sambadrome, where the carnival in February takes place. Now it's just a huge place made out of concrete. Some samba-dancers would have been nice.

Last stop is the San Sebastian Cathedral. Very modern thing. Ugly from the outside, but pretty nice inside.

Then on via Rio downtown and the 2 neighbourhoods of Botafogo and Flamengo to the hotels at Ipanema and Copacabana. As usual I end up being the last one on the bus, so I have to spend an hour looking at different hotel where the other people on the bus is staying.

Dinner at my local and a short walk up Copacabana. There's a huge concert-thing going on - lot's of people - impossible to get past them.

San Sebastian Cathedral

Monday,  september 4'th

Rain in Rio. Not so nice. The only thing I can think of is going to the shopping mall Rio Sul. That's not what you travel half the world to see is it?.

Dinner at a local restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet. "Manuel e Joaquim" it's called - and it's great.

Tuesday, september 5'th

Surfing at Copacabana

Windy and cloudy today - but no rain. Not exactly how Rio looks in the tourist-brochures, but at least you can take a walk outside. I go for a long walk along Copacabana and Ipanema. No one is swimming at the beaches, but the weather is great for surfing. There are huge waves. A lot of people use this chance, and they are good at it.

 

My last brazilian lunch is at "Manuel e Joaquim". I'm only been in Rio for 3 day, and that's not enough - especially when you miss a day due to rain. There's a lot of things I haven't seen - but maybe some other time.

A sand-castle at Copacabana

Ipanema

Taxi from the hotel at 2.30 to Rio Airport. TAP leaves at 5.30 and we land in Lisbon at 7.15 wednesday morning local time after a 9 hour long flight, with bad movies and no sleep.

Wednesday, september 6'th

TAP leaves Lisbon again at 9.30 and arrives in Copenhagen 3 hour later at 2.10 - local time. I grab my luggage, and reach the train to Vejle at 2.40 - arriving at my hometown at 5.20.

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