byrdmanva's Travel Journals


What do you want to do the next time you travel abroad?

change the world [somehow], make some money, meet new people, gain professional experience, learn a language, go sightseeing, play tourist

  • 56 years old
  • From North Carolina, United States
  • Currently in Virginia, United States

Rio 2007 Pan American Games

My trip to Rio in July 2007 for the first week of the Pan American Games.

Favela photos

Brazil Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  |  Jul 08, 2007
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 But these things are as close to hell as you can live. At least from the outside they look like it. 

I was riding past some of the favelas in Rio on my way between Copcabana and Barra. I was safe in my bus, but there are millions of people living in these slums. The authorities here say that it is a haven for drug dealers and criminals. One of the flightattendants on my flight down said some of the drug lords have offered a $10,000 bounty for killing a policeman.

But these things are as close to hell as you can live. At least from the outside they look like it.

Imagine if you can buildings made of sheets of plywood randomly tacked together. Cover that with cardboard and a corregated tin froof. Then cover all that in about nine layers of ash from burning trash. Set it next to a foul ditch filled with sewage, tires, oil, and other unsavory matter.

Then add the desperation and contrast of the poverty these people live in to the wealth of the rich in Ipanema. And the mosquitoes - can't forget the bugs.

But right in the middle of it all was a giant gleaming stadium built for the Pan American Games and named after Joao Havelange - the former head of FIFA.

Real life smacks you in the face sometimes. Today was one of those times.
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