01 December 2014

All Rio, All Day (ii)

12 January 2014

We had lunch, picked up some additional tourists and went to the Santa Marta Favela. This gave me angst. Favelas are basically synonymous with poverty. As I've said before, I don't like visiting places made famous for income inequality. I especially don't like it when the people on the other side of the invisible walls look like me. It makes me a unique kind of uncomfortable.

In other words, I did not want to be part of the white people tour through the poor brown area.

The gist of the tour was simple: Rio was addressing the favelas ahead of the World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Santa Marta had been through the rehabilitation program and was being touted as a success. We were being shown the future of the favelas and I think the whole thing was supposed to leave us feeling hopeful. Still, we heard that residents were being pushed out to other locations on unstable ground. It was (probably is) an icky situation.

The favela was extremely interesting, as were the efforts to modernize the residents. People who brought their recycling to the recycling center received discounts on their power bills. (Apparently the old method was just to let the rain wash the trash down the hillside.)

We found people just existing - sitting or talking or selling things in shops. We also saw a lot of construction equipment. I can't imagine having to remodel apartments in that weather or in such tight conditions. Personally, I was sweating so hard I'm sure I looked as though I was melting. It was 97 degrees. We were climbing up stairs and there wasn't any semblance of a breeze.

From Santa Marta, we headed up to Christ the Redeemer. We had been seeing the statue from every vista in the city and I'm honestly really glad it was the last official stop on our trip. The weather was overcast, meaning even though the road up the statue had great views of the city, they literally paled in comparison to everything we had already seen. Also, I was excited to just get there. Everything else was filler. (#SignsYouveBeenOnVacationTooLong)

I mean really.
What's the point of this?
So it's a thing for people to visit the statue and to imitate the pose. Ang told me that and I didn't believe her. It seemed wrong to me. You are not Jesus. You're not the watchdog or supreme being or whatever over Rio. I feel as though the monument is a religious site, deserving of a certain level of reverence. I am in the tourist minority.


The key to getting the shot is to lay on the ground.
But seriously. The statue is huge. 
After the tour, we took a cab to our hotel. The plan had been to party it up at a hotel with a rooftop pool. But I was so tired and hot and tired. While Ang went to live the dream, I took advantage of the amazing water pressure. I felt nothing short of accomplished.

We later received a message from our Argentinian friends that they were going to a samba show but that we could meet them beforehand. That meeting never happened (despite our best efforts) and Ang and I had another ridiculous dinner. We were bummed not to see our friends and too exhausted to think of a conciliatory activity. Our last night in Rio was restful, though unrewarding.

View from the hotel rooftop.

We took most of this to go.
Later we realized we received the wrong food.
Dear broccoli rice: what we had was so, so real!

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