Again, it looks like the weather have cleared up for another beautiful weekend; the nights are relatively cold but during the day it gets pretty hot.
Again I will start out with a reminder of the current precarious safety situation. Rio’s danger level for tourists have often been exaggerated, statistics for violence taking place in for off shanty towns have been presented in alarming reports. This is not the case this time. It seems like the lack of policing have made street crime come back, this time in a much nastier form: Over the last two months there has been over five bloody knife robberies per day, several of them fatal. These take place all over town. My advice to stay safe: Don’t bring valuables out, if you do; don’t flash them. You’re going to Lapa? Share a cab. You’re going from Lapa? Cab again. Local buses are not safe at night. Avoid open parks. At night time, certain areas are perhaps a bit worse than others: Lapa, Centro (always), Santa Teresa, Tijuca, Glória, Botafogo and Catete have seen more incidents lately. Avoid walking deserted streets, the beach at night etc. Be smart, and you’ll be safe. Don’t take advice from other travelers too easy, they have only been here most likely at the most for a couple of months (many become Rio-struck and thus blind), make up your own mind instead if you decide to not heed the suggestions I wrote above. I really want you guys to stay safe out there, so be extra observant and careful!
For anyone that wants to get a brief summary of what is going on in Brazil on the political and financial level I think I think this article in The Week is pretty good. It brings up some of the main points. Just yesterday it was announced that the national interest rate will be raised to 13.75 %, the raise is in efforts to stop the inflation from getting out of hand; Needless to say, as an effect domestic consumption has declined drastically, and debt are starting to ruin families and companies, unemployment is around 8 % and rising. Brazil’s hope is on the international market, if prices for some of their most abundant commodities would go back up, it would surely help to dampen the fall.
One of Lula’s flagships, the project “Minha Casa, Minha Vida”, which offered affordable loans to poor people to finance the building of their own house is starting to get some bad press. The idea to stimulate the economy by building houses is perhaps not bad, but credit was given too easily. Already after five years, over 20 % of the loans offered to people in the poorest category are not getting paid. If you consider that the installments are as low as 50 to 80 BRL per month you realize that the families does not feel a strong obligation to pay the loan. Why? Because it is very unlikely that the many spineless Brazilian
politicians would do anything about it (afraid of bad press and protests). In the end I’m convinced many of these buildings and condominiums will turn in to new favelas. Bitter for those honest hard working families who invested in the dream to leave crime-ridden neighborhoods for a better life, and also very bad for Brazilian tax payers who over the next decades will pay for houses given to people basically for free. Another populist PT project that will come back to haunt the country in the future.
There are two games in Maracanã this weekend. On Saturday the 6th Flamengo play Chapecoense, kick-off 18:30h. On Sunday Fluminense play Sport, kick-off 19:30h.
The next one or two years traffic in the center of Rio will be complicated during rush hours, big constructions in the port area are the main reasons. Works on Avenida Brazil will make transport to Ilha Grande and Parati complicated during rush hours.
The best nightlife guide in English is The Rio Times Nightlife Guide, just click the link.
Fruits of the week:
Kiwi, strawberries, persimmon, tangerines and grapes are normally nice and affordable this time of the year.
Bom fim de semana!