Do you know these stereotype pictures of beautiful lonley beaches with some palms and turqoise water. I never really liked them. Not because of the beauty in it, but because they always seemed to be at the end of the world. Since I’m a city kid I need people around me and somehow an urban environment to feel well.
Arriving in Rio de Janeiro was one of these big exciting moments in my travel life. I mean I traveled to a lot of big citys but I knew this city is different. Influenced by movies, Baile Funk Music and the Graffiti of Os Gemeos & Pixacaos I had a deep wish to experience this upcoming country and especially Rio de Janeiro.
I can say that Rio is different and full of controversity. It is not a beauty. Turning these amazing beachsides into on rich ghetto full of architectural boredomness is just one of the mistakes a city can ruin it’s own soul. But fuck it. You are sitting there on the beach and when you are turning your head and discover the beauty of the smooth rounded montains around the city with it’s natural rain forests you forget about the rest. Okay not really because than you also have to ignore the 700 favelas that take over nearly every free space of the city and espacially the mountains.
This also marks one of the biggest problems of the city and as a foreigner you are not really able to build your own picture. The heavy war between the police and the favela drug lords still continues with tousands of people getting killed every year. Thanks to graffiti artist BEAM who showed me around these “No Entry” areas I was able to explore some favelas myself and what I saw belongs to some of the most intense experiences in my travel life. I mean I never showed 10 year old kids on crack with guns how to write their names with spraycans. BEAM told me that the situation gets even worse because after cocaine cheap crack arrived in the favelas just a couple of years ago and fucks the people like never before.
But next to all these problems the cariocas (Rio locals) have a lifestyle you can’t compare. I would describe it as a relaxed smoothness combined with a positive energy. They know they live in a special place and the Samba rhythms all over town are just on expression you can see from the outside.
I’m excited how things develope in the next years. It is for sure that Brasil belongs to one of the fastest upcoming cities worldwide and Rio has a potential like very less citys in this world. If they get their problems fixed it is one city I would definitly wanna live in for some years. And I don’t say this for many citys.
I’d like to thank LEICA cameras for inviting me to be part of the Leica Explorers team. I spent 1 month in South America last year and traveled all the way down to Patagonia. If you are interested in more pictures of Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Patagonia please check my Leica Explorerers Blog over here.