Tag Archives: Rio

Stunning pictures from Rio’s drug war

23 Dec

The Boston Globe’s Big Picture column on its website is a great concept; simply one page of giant photos with no ads or breaks, something that is very rare to find these days. It’s even better too when the Boston Globe are featuring Rio’s drug war which means we get incredible shots like these:

(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

To see the rest of the pictures click HERE.

Christ off the menu

14 Apr

More of an update on these mudslides I’m afraid since they are the main thing on my mind, Brazil-wise, at the moment.

Christ the Redeemer is currently unreachable by tourists as mudslides have affected the area all around it’s perch on Corcovado. The city are saying it could take up to six months to remove the debris and get access to Mr Redeemer going again. This seems like a ridiculously long time, especially considering every poster for Rio I see has a massive picture of Christ on it and a promise of the monumental Christ tour, meaning there will not be many dry gringo eyes in Rio for quite a while.

These are the some of the workers trying to clear the rail line which takes the people up to the top:

Brazil Flooding

I’m presuming the fact they are sitting around doing absolutely nothing has very little to do with the fact it will take six months.

The amount of deaths from the floods and mudslides is also now estimated at 230 people.

Update on Floods and Mudslides in Rio

11 Apr

It is still raining in Rio, though fortunately not as much as previously in the week, and thankfully forecasts are that it will stop completely tomorrow. The floods carried on til Friday (bringing the death toll upto 205 people) with the worst mudslide happening on Wednesday in Niteroi. Over 100 to 150 bodies have been pulled from that mudslide alone.

This is a video from ITN News focusing on the floods:

For me it’s the carioca at the end who says the most interesting thing. Why isn’t Rio prepared for tropical levels of rainfall? It’s obviously a big problem, and one which is explained by the poorly-built homes that adorn many of the hills. As I previously suggested it seems that the Government will therefore use these incidents as a reason to move its poorer residents. This has already begun to happen, with resident groups getting in their complaints early.

Time and all that nonsense

22 Mar

Well I’m certainly not gonna make it sound like I’ve done much over the past week, seeing as I can’t even get my act together to write an entry on this blog. There’s just something about Trindade that makes the idea of sitting down at a computer for any length of time the worst idea in the world. The social cost is too great, not to mention the fact that I could be better spending time surfing, sitting on the beach, finding trails, following the river, listening to music, watching football, drinking beer, etc., etc. The distractions are too great!

That’s not to say there have been some glimpses of productivity though. I have cooked a number of meals, the last of which in exchange for a massage from two lovely swedish girls (an exchange which I believe will be fulfilled very soon) and discovered that we’re allowed to use the table football, pool table and table tennis in the guesthouse over the road (a realisation that has pretty much ruined any chance of me ever doing anything else).

The lesson here really is that Trindade is no place to come to stimulate the brain or achieve anything of note. It is the gateway onto a slippery slope of sweet bliss, which I have absolutely no qualms to be swinging my way down. Until I finally leave Trindade, which is a time getting closer and closer, this may well be my last update for a while!

Trindade – how on earth do I get out of here?

13 Mar

It’s closing in on three weeks since I arrived back in Trindade. I still can’t see myself leaving anytime soon. Especially now that the sun has come. It may not last for too much longer but we have had a whole week of sun which for a couple of weeks seemed like an alien prospect.

The hardest part of any day is to decide what to do. There are six beaches to choose from with seemingly one for every occasion. Cachadaco is my favourite of the beaches nearby, a long beach with a few stray currents which sometimes produce perfect waves for surfing. As you have to trek over a hill for 10 minutes it also seems to be one of the most deserted beaches around here.

Eli, surfboard and Bruce on Cachadaco

Praia do Meio is the beach where all the Brazilians come and hang out. It is always packed with bronzing tourists, generally stuffing their faces at all the restaurants on the beach. Praia dos Ranchos is definitely the spot in the nighttime, the perfect place to pick up a Gabriela at Rogerio’s, something which I’m sure I’ve already mentioned a few times. Following on from that beach is Praia da Fora (kind of a chilled-out family beach) and then Praia Cepilho at the end. This is the number one spot for surfing. It’s only a small beach but it has a real nice point break which brings huge waves up to the coast, making it a great place both to surf and to watch. No surprise then that the next World Cup of surfing will be held right there.

My favourite beach of them all though has to be Praia Brava. It’s not a beach to go to every day seeing as it takes an hour and a half of walking but it is definitely worth trying to go as often as possible. At the moment the sun is too hot for me to even contemplate 3 hours of walking under it so I am waiting for a few clouds before I next go.


It’s the most deserted of all the beaches here in Trindade, and the only one that is closed. It also happens to be a nudist beach but so far I’ve only ever seen one naked man on there. A very disappointing innings really. It is quite common to see many different birds on the trail to the beach, as well as a few giant lizards if you’re lucky. Instead of taking the trail back now I walk up the river starting at the beach. This route will eventually take you to my favourite waterfall. A beautiful set of four falls which you can climb up, before taking the route back to the bottom again before doing it all again.


As well as all this, there is the waterfall and swallowing rock just near the hostel, the trail to the Indian’s head and the fact that there are always plenty of people to meet and of course my mistress, Gabriela, always waiting down at the beach. Leaving just doesn’t seem like a possibility!

A brolly for all seasons

26 Feb

Where did the brolly come from? Who invented it? I can’t see one without thinking about making the walk from Sneinton to Nottingham city centre; the sheer upward struggle of St. Stephen’s Road, the river gushing past Emmanuel House and arriving in cold offices wearing ridiculously wet trousers. Which makes it all the more stranger when I’m sitting on the beach, sweating so much I have to jump in the water every 5 minutes so that I can feel human again, and see people walking past with brolly in hand. There really is something not right about it. Despite the fact that the use of parasols seems so logical to actually be strolling about with an umbrella seems like it should be the pinnacle of inept decision-making. What’s wrong with a hat or some sun screen, at least feel like you’re on holiday. Get into the spirit of things!

Although maybe it’s me that’s missing the point! The tropical climate of much of Brazil means that an umbrella is perhaps the greatest of all accessory, able to keep dry or keep the sun off in equal measures. I am having none of it though, instead quite happy to mock the stupid Brazilians with their ridiculous ‘bring the rain’ bad omen brollies.

Rio Post-Carnival

23 Feb

Unless you’re so wasted from carnival that everything now appears as lights and shapes and there’s no longer any point differentiating between what is good and bad then Rio post-carnival really is not the place to be. On my final day I saw two naked men on the street, one with his pants round his ankles taking a piss in the middle of the road, and another having a shit before cleaning his arse with a broken water pipe. I also saw a man hobbling along with a huge hole in his stomach, from which was seeping some kind of translucent liquid. It’s an image I can’t seem to get out of my head and so probably shouldn’t be writing (damn! which has just made me think of ‘the game.’)

Which all meant that it was actually kind of a relief to leave Rio, which is the first time that’s ever been the case. Oh, and the temperature was 38 degrees the final day, which with no wind and ridiculous humidity is a little bit warm.

Now I’m back in my old hunting ground of Trindade, home of rainforest, many beaches and gabriela (the sweetest drink ever to be supped on these shores!) George, the owner of Kaissara Hostel where I previously worked has said there’s a free bed for as long as I want it. Looks like I’ll be here for a while!


Rio de Janeiro's carnival never really stops

20 Feb

Today (Saturday) is the winners parade for Rio carnival, finishing off the carnival week that started on Monday with the opening parades. It feels like the city is in meltdown. All my friends that have been living in Rio for the past week seem like wrecks. It’s not too surprising, there just never seems to be an end to the parties. Although most Carnival packages only run from Monday to Friday there are plenty of parties and parades still to be had going into the weekend and which will carry on next week. Plus, Rio has pretty much been the hottest place in the world over the last two weeks. Well, I say hottest, it’s actually been the second hottest, only beaten by Ada, a small town in Eastern Ghana. Recorded temperatures were 40 degress, though the lack of wind made it seem like 50 degrees. Right now I am doing an impression of an exasperated tap and it’s only 32, I can’t imagine what it was like last week, but I’m guessing it probably felt like you were really hot flannel that constantly needed wringing out.


I’m also certain this is probably one of the worst times ever to go to Rio. Maybe there are non-stop parties to choose from, and a ridiculous amount thereof, as well as constant parades and soundsystems going through the streets, but the thieves are also on the warpath. One of the hostels, Che Lagarto, got robbed two nights ago by 8 thieves with guns. Last night, down the road from the club I went to a man was stabbed to death. I also spoke to two people in the hostel I stayed in last night who were robbed by tiny children carrying broken bottles in the streets of Lapa. With so many drunk gringos carrying money around it’s a complete haven for the poorer factions of Rio.

The fact that I’ll be staying in Lapa then, where all of these things happened, for the next couple of nights might not seem too smart then. I’ve never had any trouble though and am pretty certain that if you don’t get into such a state that you can easily be robbed and generally don’t walk around with some ridiculously bad Hollyoaks-style caption-led t-shirt, while mouthing loudly in an American accent, that you won’t get robbed.

Brazilian Carnival Approaching

17 Feb

I made it to Florianopolis for the last day of carnival, but the heaven’s opened and I stayed away. Apparently it wasn’t a bad event, just a bit wet (and it still hasn’t stopped raining!). Now my attention has turned to the Rio carnival. The closing event is coming up in three days time. It’s the two opening days of parades which are the most famous ones, but this one should give a chance to see all the floats. The winner by the way was announced the other day and was Unidos da Tjuca.

Unidos da Tijuca 1
Unidos da Tijuca 2

There’s no doubting the step-up in terms of professionalism from the groups in Montevideo. The reason this group, which supposedly had a routine about the mystery of mankind, was because of their elaborate magic tricks, whih made it seem more like David Copperfield act than anything else. I found one video of their whole routine. It’s a bit long but I like the fact that they show the making of their float. The magic tricks are about a couple of minutes into the clip.

Brazilians eh?

10 Oct

After having been in Brazil for over three months I feel I have begun to understand its people a fair bit. Being able to speak fluent Portuguese would have been extremely helpful in getting to know them better though.

It has to be said that they are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, especially in the cities where they constantly seem to be making up for the violence and crime that is so prevalent (here’s looking at you Rio and Sao Paulo).

Their attitude to the weather is a case in point. When it rains people just stay at home, even if they’re supposed to be at work (unless they are part of that horrible breed of office workers, in which case this might be out of their bounds). In Trindade it rained for around four days each week but never did I hear a Brazilian complain about it. The visitors complained a hell of a lot, but the Brazilians not. They just stayed in, did whatever needed doing round the house, or just sat around watching tv and getting quietly sloshed (this second one is the most common).

One thing I do miss though (and I think this is quite a personal thing) is the lack of a broad sense of humour. All jokes seem to revolve around taking the piss out of each other or making over-the-top innuendos. All good fun, but I do like something a bit more succinct; a play on words or some slight sarcasm. It is quite possible that the language barrier means I do miss out on much of this because either when it’s in Portuguese I am unaware of the craic or because translation from Portuguese to English does not do it justice.

Saying that there has been two moments of inspired genius from my time here. First being Juan’s comments when Sarah showed her a shirt she had bought; “is that one of those shirts you get free when you buy a bag of sweets.” A cheap shot, but the laughter that poured out of him, at his own words, made for any shortcomings in the actual joke. Plus, it was quite an unexpected hit. The second has to be Eli’s words of comfort to Felix after pulling something of a fatty bumbatty; “Well, you have to slay a few dragons to get to the princess.”

It makes me glad to be English when I think of all the ways I can mangle words, make strange similes and generally utter absolute nonsense, and yet have people still understand me. I would love to find out that this can happen in Portuguese, but I just can’t see how it could do it. Whenever it takes on foreign words it always makes them completely Portuguese. There really isn’t the flexibility to build in new sounds, or new clusters of sounds, which makes English such a fun language to speak. Imagine if Stanley Unwin had been Brazilian, it would have been a nightmare; he would have been extricated to the streets as some kind of clown.

Just to finish off, and seeing as I’m making so many comparisons I should say Brazil quite obviously wins. There is no way England can ever compete with the girls and beaches here, which is why I can quite honestly see myself in twenty years spouting gibberish on Ipanema beach, as I desperately try and get the best of these two very different countries.