I decided to forego the closing ceremony, because it was my last opportunity to see the favelas while in Rio. While I really wanted to go to Niteroi to see the Neimeyer Art Museum, if I had to choose just one thing to see in Rio this week, it was the favelas. I wanted to see how people live. In retrospect it was the best decision I’ve made so far on the trip, as I left with strong feelings about the disparate living conditions that Cariocas (name for locals in Rio) live in, and I think I have slightly better sense of reality than say if I had gone to the Art Museum to look at a collection of Monet.
I know I’ve become less and less punctual over the years, but Brazilians are notorious for being at least 30 minutes late to meetings, as I have seen in 9 out of 10 meetings I’d attended. I think I stretched it a bit when I turned up an hour late to an organised group tour, I felt really bad because I was waiting at the wrong hotel, but there are so many hotels here with similar names, that when you’re walking around in a 40 degree heat in 100% humidity, your mind defaults to a dial-up speed. I was quite lucky though, as they did wait for me and everyone else had taken off without me so it ended up being a private tour with a guide from the favela who gave me a walking tour for over 3 1/2 hours, instead of 2 that it was meant to be. It was funny because his boss kept calling him to see if he had finished, and after a couple of calls, he told her “she left 10 minutes ago” and continued to show me around for ages.
I’ll write about the favelas in more depth later, but I thought I’d go ahead and share the photos first and get that out of the way.