RIO DE JANEIRO – After the hottest February in recent memory, when temperatures soared past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and the worst heat wave to hit the country in 50 years, Rio’s been rain-slogged for a solid week.
Unfortunately for some, it means the long awaited vacation to the marvellous city has turned into to an exercise in how to spend rainy days. An interesting and somewhat controversial option is a visit to one of the many favelas in Rio.
The balance between exploitative voyeurism and community immersion remains debatable, especially in areas of the city where the U.S. Consulate recommends tourists avoid. Part of the equation is that many acknowledge the favelas exist outside the governments sovereignty, which doesn’t necessarily make it less safe than Leblon.
I personally would recommend everyone visit one of these vibrant communities, but I would also caution one to reflect on the motivation, and how your presence is, and should be, perceived. There are so many opportunities to help under-privileged people in Rio and the world, and I’m not sure just looking counts… although going to a good party there might.
In the news this week we’re seeing some tempering of the Brazilian boom, as well as more scandals and dead fish. On the positive side Green Building is laying a foundation and USAID continues to coordinate support for those in need.
There are a lot of big performers making their way through Rio in the near future, as well as Brazil Big Brother drama, and short movie screenings. For those that can’t get enough futbol (soccer), the next leg of the state tournament, Taça Rio, is kicking off, and of course Brazil has started the 2010 World Cup in strong form as expected, looking good.
If only the weather would shape up soon.