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
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
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
"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
An Italian tourist who took a wrong turn into a favela and wound up dead with a bullet in his head today is another reminder of the ever-present danger bubbling below the beauty of Rio.
The 52-year-old, Roberto Bardella (on the left above), was riding a motorcycle alongside his cousin Rino Polato, 59, to the beach when their GPS led them into the Morro dos Prazeres favela with totally unforeseen and grave consequences just before midday.
Wearing professional riding clothes
A newspaper front page with a little girl covered in her dead mother’s blood declared “Terrorism in Rio is everyday”.
In the grisly story from July, Cristiane Andrade, 46, was stabbed in the neck in her car's front seat sitting next to her daughter in a supermarket carpark. The girl ran to a nearby taxi who raced them to hospital where the young mum died.
Afterwards the driver recorded a short movie of the little girl, 7, distraught, blood-soaked next to his taxi, a police
Brazil has turned its big time crime problem into prime time television.
Taking the lead expertly from the USA, cameras chase Brazil’s machine-gun carrying police as they swerve and run through dingy streets capturing criminals.
Hours-long news programs dedicated to reporting on crime across the country dominate primetime viewing. And it’s not car hoons and out-of-control teenage house parties. High quality footage of robberies and shootings is regularly captured through th
Walking through a Rio de Janeiro favela I was told by my resident guide that the order from the most senior gangsters is to not lay a hand on visitors.
She said I could navigate the Cantagalo favela’s steep maze of pathways, streets and stairs safely with a Brazilian or even alone, something more people are not afraid to do. Because of this Cariocas often say you’re safer from being robbed inside them than near the beaches.
Bringing in money to an economy once off limits