Riowakening

Brazil through an Australian's eyes

July 1, 2018


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...

June 1, 2018


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 th...

March 24, 2018


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...

February 17, 2018

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 level...

January 31, 2018


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...

December 30, 2017


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 echoe...

December 19, 2017


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...

September 13, 2017


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...

August 26, 2017


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...

June 22, 2017


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 wr...

June 16, 2017


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 possibilitie...

May 1, 2017


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...

April 26, 2017


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 lar...

April 5, 2017


"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 co...

March 18, 2017


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 happ...

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I'm Ian Walker, an Australian freelance journalist and travel writer who ditched his job as a full-time newspaper reporter to move to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Riowakening Ipanema
Riowakening Ipanema Beach
Riowakening Ipanema Elevated
View of Rocinha, the Largest Favela in Brazil, With Over 70,000 Inhabitants, Ocean in the Horizon an
Riowakening Cantagalo
Riowakening Rio Lagoa
Riowakening Rio Lagoa 2
Riowakening Arpoador
Riowakening Rio Centro
Riowakening Technobloco Tunnel
Riowakening Technobloco Sambadromo
Riowakening Pedra do Sal
Riowakening Lapa
Riowakening Ipanema Night
Riowakening Ipanema 2
Riowakening Ipanema Football
Aerial view of Favela da Rocinha, Biggest Slum in Brazil on the Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, and Skyl
Riowakening Vidigal
Riowakening Rio Lagoa 3
Drone Niteroi
Parque Lage