Date: 16 December 2010
Location: Rio de Janeiro
- For some reason, to me, it seems like the USA seems like a country, which doesn’t have its own culture, more like bits and pieces put together from other places. However, even though Brazil is also a new country, it is absolutely a place where one can feel an authentic culture (different than Portugal) and a sense of nation.
The day started again with a sky filled with clouds and rain. I still could not confirm what an American girl told me years ago about how different Brazil’s clouds and sky are.
Copacabana is actually the name of a Mayan village in Bolivia and means the “horizon of the lights” in the Mayan language.
Today, we passed through more “real” streets where people live their daily lives. It was more possible to see the poverty. We saw a mother and her children sleeping under a blanket under a bridge.
The two-storey, Portuguese colonial old buildings are squeezed and run down in between the concrete and modern buildings. The poor live here (the ones who are lucky enough to be outside the favelas).
These buildings actually look very much like the ones in old Dhaka. F. and I again thought how things would be different in Bangladesh if the population was 30% less; it would actually be exactly like Brazil.
We went to the business district. The skyscrapers created a mini Manhattan or Canary Wharf in Rio.
We visited the very modern Sao Sebastian cathedral in this area. The architecture was very interesting. It has been designed like the tents or the pyramids of the Mayan or Amazonian tribes.
The opera house in downtown has been inspired by Opera Garnier in Paris. The fine arts museum building also has been inspired by European architecture.
Settlements in Rio are very interesting. Due to the landscape formations of the rocks, bay, lake and ocean, many neighbourhoods are completely separated and independent from each other. Many people have to use ferries to get to work.
Our next stop was the Sugarloaf Mountain.
We climbed by cable cars and saw the magnificent views of the city from a different angle and of course, the Christ statue, which showed itself from time to time behind the clouds and the fog. It was as if it was flying above the clouds.
It was also nice to watch the hawks flying below us when we were at the summit of the mountain and seeing the lizards.
Rio has exceeded all my expectations. As I wrote before, not because of its architecture but due to its landscapes and types of settlements; it is a must stop-over in South America.
The famous architect of the city of Brasilia, Oscar Niemo’s office is also in Rio, by the Copacabana. He is now 103 years old and married his 77 year old secretary 2 years ago. He works everyday to keep his mind active.
We preferred to eat light for lunch (after the lunch experience yesterday…). I drank guavara juice. It was like ice tea and incredibly delicious. I guess it is a fruit from the guava family. I ate melted cheese in small bread rolls. F. ate chicken empanada. I noticed that there is never vegetables on the menu; however, plenty of tropical fruits and pastries. I still cannot understand why I don’t see any vegetables. Now it seems like it is getting a bit sunnier.