Favela Rio

Monday, February 04, 2013

When in Rio, I decided to visit a favela. I wrestled with this - going to a favela felt a bit like going to point and stare. I decided not to go on a favela tour but instead go on a new cable car to Complexo do Alemão favela in the north of the city.

The cable car connects Complexo do Alemão wih Bonsucesso station, which is a short trip from Rio's Central Station.

The overall trip in the cable car is about 16 minutes, though longer if you get off at every stop along the way like I did.

It soars above a jumble of houses, electricity wires, satellite dishes, corrugated iron roofs and patched up streets.

I went on a Wednesday morning. All below the cable car was quiet, calm, hardly anyone to be seen. I had expected to see busy bustling streets, but these were mainly quiet residential areas. The only sound I heard was Britney Spears' I wanna go blasting out from a stereo.

At the top station, I got out and went for a small wander. A few small kiosks and shops were clustered near the cable car station, but no other amenities were to be seen.

I bought a drink from one shop-kiosk, freshly painted and seemingly newly installed.

The friendly guys behind the counter urged me to follow them on facebook. They seemed delighted to see visitors from other places, and with the long, complicated history of their neighbourhood hopefully now behind them, I wish them well with their new business.