RIO DE JANEIRO – Limpa (clean) can be overdone with some things in my opinion, like; screenplay dialogue, music lyrics, sneakers, New York, and street parties. Last week we wrote about the changing face of Lapa, but it didn’t hit home until I went there last Friday to see for myself.
There is no need to re-write the story of Lapa here, but let’s just say it has been Rio’s quintessential riot/street party scene on Friday night for the last 10 years or so – and it seems to be looking at it’s last hours.
It’s part of a trend in Rio that’s “cleaning up” the town, as I’ve lamented recently.
Maybe it was just an off night, but the whole feel of the place seemed… less exciting.
To my eye it started with the major change of the roads being closed to car/bus traffic. I don’t know where they are going now, but a endless slow flow of traffic used to offer entertainment and a sense of danger as drunk-runners darted across the double lane through-way.
The street vendor scene has been totally normalized as reported, and they are even painting the Arches – something I remember suggesting to a survey taker last year standing outside the Lapa Irish Pub… although I won’t try to take credit for it.
The crowd was also more mainstream, which has pros and cons… but in Lapa? Perhaps it’s a positive result of the investments being made. Perhaps it’s inevitable, perhaps we’ll look back at it like those crazy days before seat-belts or motorcycle helmet laws…
Really, Lapa will not be limpa anytime soon (if ever), I just like alliterations. The music and concentration of bars and dance-halls will keep it lively for some time to come. And on the plus side I was able to take my parents there last March to see some music, which could only happen with some sort of sense of security (see).
Although now with the roadways closed, when they come next year we won’t be able to jump in-and-out of a taxi as easy. We’ll have to do more street walking – fortunately there are still a few professional transvestites around to rubberneck.