Sophie invited me to join her guided trip to the favela of Rocinha. A favela is a very poor area, built on land that no one really knows who owns it. The favelas are military
Sophie invited me to join her guided trip to the favela of Rocinha. A favela is a very poor area, built on land that no one really knows who owns it. The favelas are military controlled by various gangs, so it’s like going to a different country. If you just go there, and look like a gringo, you get robbed. At least my Swedish friends got. But by paying 25 euro to a guide, you get some kind of visa.
I joined because why not. We got picked up by a taxi and then picked up various gringos across Rio.
I changed my mind as we finally reached the place and wanted to go home, but didn’t want to say it.
The guide, who knew everyone in there, hugged the children etc, explained for us how to act inside. We were safe when we were with him, but not when we weren’t. We were OK to take photos when he said we could, but not when he said we couldn’t. Now, I didn’t hear so much what he said, so I didn’t take many photos, as I was so scared that I shat my pants. The Chinese girl also didn’t hear so much so she took photos all the time.
Do you see the cans on the roof in the image above? The guy living there picks them up from the beach every day. Dirt-poor recycling gives a lot of jobs here.
What moved me the most was the streets themselves. They were so narrow, going up and down, and were mostly inside, as in the roofs of them being more houses built. And packed with businesses. Everywhere there were shops were you could by food or candy. And it was so tight. We saw plenty of beds. It all reminded me a lot of Kowloon Walled City, an area that I’ve studied a lot. People live tighter than anywhere else, and there is mafia instead of government.
Momo, the Chinese girl, once had her own AI company, and now sold it, and is now living of the money for the rest of her life. This trip was part of her 6 day South America tour. Here she is taking a picture with some ghetto musicians.
The house on the right was inhabited by a family who got social housing. So now they’re subletting this house for good money. Around here there was a teenage guy sitting on a strategic roof with another rifle. Automatic or not, I have no idea since I don’t know anything about weapons. But Momo got really scared.
The area, or the gangs that control it, live from distributing drugs across Rio. Cocaine from Bolivia and Colombia, pot from Paraguay and ecstasy from Netherlands and Germany. No crack though. The gangs have forbidden it. Those Social democrats have never heard about libertarianism!
Back in civilization! It was the nicest guiding I’ve ever had. You can contact them here if you’re around.
To get in and out of Rocinha, you need to pass a bridge that is so funnily formed that it takes 1 min extra to walk it than just some stairs. If 10.000 people use it twice a day, that is 20.000 min, or 121750 hours a year. If the average hourly wage in the area is 1.5 euro, then the architect of this bridge is stealing almost 200.000 euros from the area every year, 1-3 euros per person. 20.000.000 euros in a hundred years. Who’d ever do that? Oscar Niemeyer of course! Modernist architecture separating classes just like in Sweden. The bridge is btw designed to look like a Brazilian dance step.
Noreen, from Germany, invited us to her home in Lapa, where we met a Dane and a Norwegian. Scandinavian party! They also had snus <3.
Plenty of Americans in this place. One of them had already decided to vote for Andrew Yang in the Democratic party! I gave him a beer, and he retaliated with a tequila. That’s basic income love.
At some point, they closed the last place, and all we could find open was the place from last night. But it was so packed with people last night, plus that I cannot go to the same night club two nights in a row in a city like Rio de Janeiro. Maybe in Pajala, but not here. So I join the Scandinavian/Canadian couple to a strip club. Packed with girls walking around in bikinis, trying to talk to you. I didn’t like it so much so I went out all alone. Found some super-drunk Irish who took care of me.
I had left my cards and most money in the hotel, and really needed someone to say “drunk Swede, can I pay you a taxi home?”. And what happens? Sophie, who started the day with the favela, suddenly shows up and pays me a taxi that goes straight to my hotel. Bon nuit!