My eyes had been popping out of my head all week.
Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, Dois Irmaos, Ipanema Beach - Rio de Janeiro had been throwing postcard vistas at me left, right and centre. But one night while walking on the decidedly less famous Boulevard Olimpico in the city’s freshly gentrified port district, formerly a decaying industrial bayside rustbucket prior to the games, I came face to face with a giant mural of a woman with long black hair blowing to her
I was getting out of the lift in my Rio de Janeiro apartment building when the random Brazilian guy riding alongside me gave me a hug goodbye.
I’d never met him before. Even more strangely he was with his wife at the time who just smiled like it was totally normal. But it wasn’t a hug hug, like the wrap your arms around the person variety you’re probably thinking of, it was a Brazilian Portuguese hug from his mouth to my ears. It was classic Carioca warmth with him saying t
Normal one day, crazy the next. This would be the honest slogan for Rio favela tours, ripping off Queensland's era-defining "beautiful one day, perfect the next" tourism campaign.
Like a dormant volcano, random eruptions of violence between rifle and grenade toting gangsters and police happen with unexpected but inevitable (in)frequency, the uncertainty in the last word really depends on your perspective. But despite these sporadic outbursts, tours of ‘pacified’ favelas, w
Technobloco? More like Cryptobloco.
The legend of Technobloco spread so far and wide over the past year that it grew with as much hyped up ferocity as Bitcoin. After the hundreds of us there had one of the best nights of our lives 12 months ago, word of the magic of this underground bloco had levels of FOMO so high that thousands of people filled the street for it in the early hours of the final morning of Carnival on Wednesday. All day private messages had been running hot
There's a great woman who works on Ipanema Beach that is impossible to forget.
Vanessa Cabral dos Santos, or Vanessa Esplendorosa as she's known on the sand, sells acai, the Amazonian berry superfood turned purple smoothie health snack which can be mixed with things like banana, granola and powdered milk. It's loved by Brazilians and has made its way to Australia and anywhere else there are hipster, health-conscious people. But she doesn't just sell it, she lives it. This l
I’M living in a city where the gangs are so out of control the army has been called in to keep the peace.
Like many predicted before last year’s Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro’s hopes for a new beginning were snuffed out along with the cauldron. The economy is in recession, automatic gun fire echoes through the skies, innocent lives are being lost and Brazilian soldiers are now helping police try and keep a lid on this explosion. Instead of just guarding the main highways and
Back earlier in the year I had the pleasure to do a story on the work of the Mais Caminhos charity in Rio's Ipanema just around the corner from where I live.
It is part of Caminhos Language School where I studied Portuguese when I first arrived in Rio last year. Besides being the city's number one ranked Portuguese school, and a great place for foreigners to make friends while they're here, they also help in the local favela called Cantagalo. More correctly they prefer to re
DOES Brazil’s Christ shed a tear looking down over the sadness below him?
It’s a question Rio de Janeiro’s residents ask as they gaze up to what has become the most dangerous wonder of the world. Last Friday the steep 4km Corcovado jungle trail to the giant Christ the Redeemer statue was closed the day after a Polish man was stabbed, one of 58 people to have been robbed along the trail in just 10 days. More than 150 people have been robbed this year. Young, armed criminals f
You haven’t lived life on the edge until you’ve ordered a haircut in a foreign language.
There it is, my quote from my highest ever liked Instagram post (60 likes and counting, just 386 followers so solid ratio) alongside a photo of me having my second ever haircut in Brazil. Travellers avoid it like the plague when they’re overseas, fearing how a complete stranger with scissors in their hand can chop away their sex appeal in one go as if their testicles are being held betwe
After over a year and much blood, sweat and tears, or more realistically, sun, sand and samba, enough Brazilian Portuguese has seeped into my veins that I can actually help out newly arriving gringos with some words and phrases.
Brazilian Portuguese is the same language as Portuguese and when written formally they are largely the same. But we use language first and foremost to talk, and Brazilians have their own words, phrases and slang unique to them, just like with Aust
Company, Career, City, Country, Culture. Changing just one of these C words in your life can lead to untold discovery.
Them all? Well that’s what I’d call a life well lived.
You step up to the edge, toes peeled over the side, peering into the unknown, mind full of fantasies and possibilities about what could happen next as you get set to step over. A whirlwind of new encounters, friendships, lessons and knowledge flash before your eyes and next thing a year has passed and
If you’re thinking of coming on a holiday to Brazil and Rio it's a great life choice to make, believe me.
There can be a lot to get your head around as a tourist though so here are some travel tips and advice for anyone that wants to jump on a plane for a Brazilian holiday. Follow these and you'll thank me later. 1. COME! Brazil’s reputation is bipolar, it’s either known for out-of-control gang violence and petty crime or for its crazy culture, beautiful nature and even mor
Hardly a country has needed Uber so much as Brazil.
Between its huge traffic jams, chasm of social inequality, tumbling economy and ripoff taxi drivers, the nation of over 200 million people had been crying out for disruption. It has exploded in popularity here and is now the phone app’s third largest market after the USA and India and following the same narrative which has unfurled wherever the ride-sharing service has flourished, the taxi industry has declared war on it an
"A good criminal is a dead criminal."
That’s the meaning of the Portuguese words “um bandido bom é um bandido morto” on the lips of people from one end of Brazil to the other. But it’s not often it’s caught on camera, City of God style, where police officers shoot criminals dead, expediting the court process and laying down a death penalty not allowed in the country’s constitution. Machine gun fire between police officers and drug traffickers outside a high school in Morro d
Ambushing the Sambódromo with hundreds of other Brazilian Carnaval party animals was one of the best moments of my life.
The epicentre of Brazil’s biggest celebration just days earlier now lay empty of the floats, colours, beats and beauties which had danced through it before thousands of the happiest people in the world. At Technobloco it was our turn to take it over and Rio’s streets to have so much life-affirming fun in a way I can’t imagine you can find in too many othe