There is good and bad everywhere so its all a question of weighing the options.
As an aquaintance of mine who lives between Rio, London and Miami so succintly puts it “There is a lot of shit around everywhere but I kind of like this shit here best”.

Rio de Janeiro the Cidade Maravilhosa

Why Rio? Why not? Its probably the most visually stunning city I have ever been to.

It’s a city and all cities are complicated, some more so than others so there needs to be some clarification.
I live in the comfort bubble of Zona Sul in Botafogo, almost in Humaita, two blocks away from the city´s major cemetry and overlooked by the hillside favela of Dona Marta two blocks in the other direction.
The favelas have the City´s best views and worst services having been totally ignored by the politicians for too many years.
Founded of neccessity and exploitation, their whole history is complex.
It’s not a crime to be poor but many Rio politicians, and also the Police, like those in the USA treat them as if it is.
To their eyes it is better to ignore the problem than resolve it.

Until they built the apartment block across the road I could see Christo from my veranda.
I live in the middle of a city that doesn’t really sleep, yet as my second floor apartment in an old vila is back off the street, tranquility reigns,
until the neighbours have a party or the helicopters of War overfly the area.
This part of Botafogo has everything within ten minutes walking distance, buses, metro, supermarkets, laundry, cinemas and theatres, music clubs, you name it, we have it.
The cross streets are luxouriously treelined and the paraqueets squabble noisily.
Every now and then a toucan puts in an appearance as do Micos, little marmosets, but that is more towards the cemetry and the forest.
The streets are a mix of old and new buildings. The main thoroughfares were the only way from downtown to Lagoa and Copacabana and Ipanema before the tunnels.
Some of the older quasi palaces still survive, especially on Rua São Clemente, set back in their own gardens.
Here on Rua São João Batista there are still buildings dated 1890
Voluntarios de Patria the main artery leading to the Metro is a hive of commerce both formal and informal.
This is part of what I love about the city. I am sure there is an informal regulation of the street commerce in that the street vendor pays off someone for his / her patch.
This can be from coffee and sticky cake to socks and elecrical equipment. In the evening there are popcorn sellors and soup caldrens, hot dogs and acaje.
At weekends the BBQ churrasqueiros pop up by the botecos with Picaña and linguica (steak and sausage).
And then there are the street markets.

The beach, when needed is a 10 minute bus ride away. This has its own rhythm. No need to take anything, its all there, chairs and sumbrellas for hire, drinks, alcoholic and non from wandering vendors or the barraco.
The Rio Beach is not quiet, it is a hive of activity, Açai, Queijo Coalho,
Caipirinha, Maté, beer, fresh sanduiche, pasteis, kangas, sunglasses, suncreams, jewellery, hats, and more all being hawked energetically under the blistering sun
which shimmers off the waves and oiled flesh of trim and the not so trim alike.
The ‘orla’, the seas edge is busily taken up with walkers, incedibly talented players of “altinho” or keep it up, frescobal, or kids digging holes in the sand.
The vibrancy of this city is amazing.
The pavements are frequently full, people wander between the traffic, street people ask for handouts normally unagressively.
Grafitti is the broadcaster in the street, frequently political and often with bitter-sweet humour,
and then there are the murals,
When it all gets too much I can go back to my cat and quiet apartment and listen to samba, because last but not least the Music. It’s everywhere.
Get out of the metro on the way home from work and there might be a good rock n´roll band covering Hendrix.
Wander down the street a bit and you moght find a couple of drummers beating out an infectious rhythm or a saxophanist playing reggae.
From the exquisitely talanted Yamandu Costa to the biggest party in the world – Carnaval the City rocks and sways
I will leave you with some Maracatu and the Bateria of Portela


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