You are here1999 S America

1999 S America


001 - Bob and I in or hotel room in Rio.

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We flew via New York, then over the Carribean and the Amazon, landing in Rio on Saturday morning. Spectacular views out of the window! Our hotel was our first choice, R16 per person per night (about £7). This was the cheapest one to allow "gringos" to stay. We were glad to have arrived a week before the 'Carnaval', and managed to get a room with a shower and air conditioning.

002 - Sugar Loaf Mountain.

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Rio de Janeiro from Christo Redentor

003 - Christo de Redentor.

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Mirante Dona Marta (Ash) The Statue of Christ

004 - Refreshments in the sun.

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Bob " the coconut" Goodson. The temperature remained in the mid 30s all day and by the afternoon we were looking for hats and drinks. I bought a straw hat that turned out to be a ladies hat, but at least I wasn't suffering like Bob by the end of the day.

005 - "Our" bar in Rio.

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'Our bar' behind the central post office (Bob). One of the things that was most striking about the city was the way that 'colonial squalor'; mixed freely with 'grandiose enlightenment'. 8 lane roads, pedestrianised parades alongside old spanish town houses and austere churches, shoeless people parking cars for executives. We found ourselves a locals bar, which over the next few days was to become a friendly haven from the bustle of the city, and sat down to write few postcards.

006 - Bob on Copacabana Beach.

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Bob shakes for a coconut on Copocabana Beach. A lazy day, we hit the beach. The beach seems to be where everything is going on, volleyball, running, football, keep-fit, wall climbing, and surfers. They play volleyball with no arms or hands, brilliant to watch. Copocabana is the most densely populated 5sqkm of land in the world, over 25,000 people per sqkm.

007 - Me bodysurfing on Ipanaema Beach.

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Ashley 'surfs' on Praia do Diablo (Devil's Beach). Here we took it in turn to watch the kit whilst the other surfed. It was definitely different to surf in water that felt warmer than your own body. We both spent far too long in the sun, abnd retuerned to the hotel to douse ourselves in Nivea, much to the local chemist's amusement. It was obviouis to him what we were looking for as Bob wallked in with his head all pink and peeling in big strips. On the other side of the coin though all my psoarisis is nearly cleared up.

008 - Entry to the favela.

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Favela houses built on top of each other. Our guide, Richard, took us into Morro do Cabritos, Hill of Goats. This favela is one of 326 in Rio. The estimated population of Rio is 15 million, of which over 70% live in the favelas. These districts, built precariosly on the treacherous slopes between the mountains and coastal strip, are usually hidden from view by the high-rise flats and hotels of modern Rio. The favela was quite an eye opener for me. I was surprised to see all sections of society living here, and many different races.

009 - One of the better houses in the favela.

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Beautiful, friendly kids in favela (Look inside the house, what can you see?)

010 - Favela housing.

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This is a house, not a rubbish tip. Some houses were made of wooden crates and corrugated sheets, no bigger than my bedroom but housing up to 15 people. Those in the centre of the favela were brick built with double glazing, and we even saw one swimming pool. The favelas are 'self-governed' almost 'no-go areas' for the authorities. Electricity, water and telephones were 'available' in some parts, whilst in others sewage was running openly in the streets. The people we met were all really friendly, even the Uzi toting CRF who 'ran' the favelas for the drug barons.