Is it the non-stop flow of Caipirinha’s? A sip of the exotic consumed along the alluring white sand shores of Ipanema and Copacabana all the way up to Lapa, the avid nightlife district like no other. Maybe it’s the glamour that the cityscape seems to reflect; the 70s hotels – too cool to be restored, the glimmer of the rustic beach parasol just short of the horizon, the low hum of samba that you catch from an unknown, backstreet, popular bar with a beaded curtain for a door an old rotating fan on the ceiling, as you take in the most exquisite view from the magnificent Christo. Authenticity beats modernity, you’ll feel. Or, is it the carioca’s who put you in that certain “RIO” state of mind? The laid back locals who appeal to your go with the flow side.
Perhaps though… the reason that the tourist has come to love Rio, is the hunger felt by all, visitor and carioca, for social change in this supposed paradise. One in five residents dwell within the favellas beneath the poverty line. One trip to Rochina, the city’s largest slum (pictured below) and you will see that not nearly enough is being done to prevent many of its issues. Is it the equal mixture of beauty and tragedy which leaves the traveler wanting more? Both from the city and the authorities. Christo himself is asking the Brazilian government to open up their arms.
If not for your love of football then for the atmosphere. Here, at the worlds largest stadium, the entrance is located through a windy footpath which must have been designed to build the excitement. As you tread, your heart beat rises with the wild beat of the samba drum, the shriek of crazy fans and the wave of their bright flags. The Brazilian’s passion for their national sport would make the least interested football-goer fascinated upon joining the roaring crowd. It is warming to see that all walks of life are so thrilled and united by the game; you simply cannot help but join in!
The feeling up on Sugarloaf is one of complete serenity felt by every onlooker. This is the view that somehow, amidst such a vibrant city, could quell a naughty monkey with its true beauty. The deep wash of blue surrounding the land becomes lighter as the sun sets downwards, pleasing every reflection with sparkle. The sense of magic heightens as the lights begin to fliker on; from the bottom of Rochina up to the glowing Christ the Redeemer, the city’s other wonder of the world. It is certainly a feeling of unreality as you spy over the place that you have undoubtedly come to love.
Dance the samba whilst listening to a live Brazilian band or join a street party where Caipirinha is on tap. Lapa; where locals welcome you with familiar delight and tantalize you with their Foho skills – the dance which only Brazilians seem to be able to pull off. The endless beat of the latino drum, bright graffiti and constant wave of people do add to the slightly nerving feeling which the travel books warn you about, but isn’t that all part of the fun? Nightlife in Lapa is intoxiating, go with it!
SO GO 🌎🏃 to Rio de Janeiro!