Lapa, Rio de Janeiro

Brasil 2011 044

Me on the steps at Lapa, Rio de Janeiro’s party district. On Fridays people from all over the city, even the far away Favelas, come to drink and dance at the many bars and clubs that line Lapa’s main strip, where party doesn’t start til well past 11:00pm. Getting there is easy, from the western part of the city where most travelers stay (near the beaches of Botafogo, Ipanema, and Copacabana), get to the nearest main street and hop on any of the small vans heading east, they are cheaper and faster than the big buses, and they come by often. The tiles of the steps I’m sitting on are tended to by a man who continuously changes out old or broken ones. Lapa is a really amazing area where all the diverse peoples of Rio de Janeiro can be seen in their element, spilling into the street dancing to local samba bands. Plus, the Caipirinhas are outstanding!


Rio de Janeiro

Unquestionably a great country.  Friendly laid back people.  Exquisite jungle countryside. The trip started with Rio de Janeiro, then on to Ilha Grande, Paraty, Trinidad, Sao Paulo, by plane off to Bahia state which included the capital Salvador, plus smaller beach towns Itacaré, Arraial d’Ajuda, and Troncoso before heading back to Rio de Janeiro. Some of the tendencies of the Brazilians that I noticed: They eat more foods with silverware than other peoples of the Americas, including pizza. The thumbs up are used by everyone for day to day interactions to mean a variety of things such as ‘ok, it’s all good, we’re settled up here, thanks, and you’re welcome.’ Used by kids and old ladies alike. In Bahia state you see a bit more hang tens.

The favelas. By day ramshackle homes look like multicolored growths overtaking the hills and small mountains as the mountain drowns in them, head up trying to get in that last breath before the summit is overtaken. At night they look like black tar hills speckled with gold dust, the conglomeration of lights after dark.

I’m very impressed with Rio’s city beaches. Even after visiting a series of other beaches in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia states, I still maintain that the beaches in Rio are quite beautiful. There’s something to be said about a huge city like Rio being able to maintain a set of clean, soft-sanded, fairly clear watered beaches.  Obviously the powers that be and collect taxes are invested in maintaining them. This one depicted is Copacabana, my personal favorite.  Famous beach of Ipanema. Yes, even in autumn there are models posing for the cameras. I noticed that photographers seem to look the same throughout the western world. ‘Ipanema’ is a Tupi (indigenous group of the area) word meaning ‘bad waters’. They meant ‘bad for fishing’. 

Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking…

       I’m not that into representations of Christ. However this 30m tall, art-deco version is the best one I’ve seen thus far. Donated by the French to celebrate Brazil’s independence (the French seem to give good presents of large stature, statue of liberty…). If you visit Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), take the train that starts in Corcovado.  I thought it’d be a good idea to save money by walking the 9km uphill, but instead I ended having to pay pretty much to same price as others who took van’s or the train up. The walk took 2 hrs and was tiring but was nice in allowing to see the scenery of the Tijuca forest at a slower pace.

I enjoyed the street art in Brazil. Many various styles from straight-up graffiti, to cubism and abstract among other styles. This one is a bit Picasso-esque in my opinion.

“Rio for whom?”, and “Who pays the duck?”.

The Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp?