Glimpses of the World

Everyone knows that the most exotic way to travel is by cruise boat. Imagine waking up in the morning with a beautiful view of the open blue ocean or another country or island you have never seen before!

Rio's Fantasies 

Rio was discovered on the first of January in 1502 by Andre Gonçalves of Portugal. Believing it to be a river mouth he named it Rio de Janeiro, meaning River of January. The shores of Rio where the indigenous people set their tents prior the Portuguese occupation are now full of bold women parading in "fio dental" swim suits which have replaced the craze for the tanga.

Rio de Janeiro on the plain between the Atlantic and the mountains is a city trying to find space for itself among the rocks. Rio's natural beach stretches along the Atlantic for many a kilometer. These beaches of fine sand can be taken advantage of free of charge. On the coast where the indigenous people once erected their makeshift tents in the days before the Portuguese set foot on the new continent now rise luxury hotels and apartments. The city's modern buildings stand among the banana palm covered mountains. Some of the most characteristic features of the general appearance of the city are deep gorges, precipices, trees, plants and rivers.

COPOCABANA
One characteristic of Copocabana is its wavy, cold water which discourages beach visitors from doing more than sunbathing...

The famous beach of Copocabana is 4.5km long... This natural beach attracts hordes of visitors, especially during the weekends. Football and volleyball pitches cover the sand. Young football candidates dribble the ball from morn till night on this beach which has raised such famous players as Pele. People coming to the beach must be satisfied with sunbathing due to cold and wavy waters. Only surfers appreciate the waves. Each day, the ocean's merciless waves claim a few surfers as their victims.

SHANTIES PREDOMINATE
The shanty areas known as Favela are a familiar sight to Turks: unplastered, unpainted, roofless houses... 

The slopes of Rio are predominately covered with shanty districts known as Favela, a type of cactus, and are inhabited by migrants to the city. The tin covered houses of the past have been rebuilt in brick. This is a familiar sight to Turkish eyes: buildings left without roofs in hopes of adding another story, unplastered and unpainted, open sewage channels, neglected children kicking a football around in the streets. The crime rate in these low income areas is very high.

On the 710m peak of Mount Corcovado sits the 38m high statue of Jesus whose outstretched arms protect the city. The statue was erected here in 1931 by President Getulio Vargas and Cardinal Leme. The peak of Mount Corcovado, visible from all corners of the city, can be reached by means of a railway built in 1884. The space between the statues hands measures 28m and it weighs 1,145 tons.

As the sun sets the city lights illuminate. The beaches are deserted in favor of street cafés, bars, restaurants and discotheques. As in all coastal-world cities, the citizens of Rio enjoy themselves until the morning hours without the worry of rising early. They retire to their homes only when overcome by sleepiness.

The small snacks bars on the pavements provide a refuge for those who are dazed by the scorching sands. The favorite beverage of these establishments is fresh coconut milk.
In contrast to the life of the wealthy on the coastal strip, destitute Favelas prevail on the slopes. Rubbish tipped on the streets, cramped, jerry-built houses, dark corners-the domain of the unemployed. All these visions of the true face of Rio go unseen by visiting tourists.

 

As the giant KLM aircraft was landing Rio de Janeiro 11 hours after taking off from Amsterdam,  

Rio women choose to wander around in the tanga, especially on the shore (above).
 
I mulled over warnings of systematic theft on the streets of this Brazilian pearl. Apparently cameras were prime targets. My travel companion, Ibrahim Koyunoglu, and I decided to heed the warnings. He would follow a pace behind me throughout the trip with his eyes glued to my camera bag. At Rio airport, getting past the customs officials without being searched from head to foot is a matter of luck. After passport control, you press a button. If it lights up green you may pass. If it's red the contents of your bags are closely scrutinized. We received the green light.

At the exit, the suffocating heat and humidity left us bathing in sweat. Having left Istanbul in mid-winter, however, we did not complain. The ubiquitous writhing melodies of samba were playing on the taxi radio... The life-blood of Brazil.

Speeding along motorways and through numerous tunnels, we arrived at the Rio Palace hotel on Copacabana beach. The endless sands were buried in darkness. Only the sound of waves of the unbridled ocean pierced the black night.

Early next morning the 4,5km beach of Copacabana was already filling up. All the women were wearing miniscule Fio Dental, an even more minute version of the tanga which it has eclipsed as the height of beach fashion.  

No-one is in a hurry in Rio. No-one runs around or makes an effort to go anywhere. The most popular spots are under shady umbrellas. Typical behavior is gazing into the distance for hours, with feet propped up on the table (below).
The young ones run around on the scorching beach with the dream of becoming a famous footballer and escaping from their destitute lives. They have every right to do so. Didn't famous players such as Pele, Didi and Romario also start in this way?(above)
Dark skinned men were playing football among the sunbathing women without giving them so much as a furtive glance. Many famous footballers such as Pele have dribbled their way along this beach in the hope that their talent will be recognized and their poverty shrugged off.

Rio de Janeiro was discovered on January I 1502 by Andre Gonçalves of Portugal. Thinking it was a river mouth he named it "River of January." In 1565, a town named Sao Sebastiao de Rio de Janeiro was founded by general governor Memde Sa on Castello hill squeezed between mountains covered in banana palms and the sea. Luxury hotels and modern apartments line the extensive shoreline where the indigenous population once set their tents prior to the Portuguese occupation.

Snack bars with shady umbrellas provide a refuge from the scorching heat. Coconut milk is the drink of choice. At the table. the coconut is cleaved with a knife and a straw inserted. Pedlars sell exotic fruits such as guavas and mangoes, also offering giant prawns grilled on a spit.

The houses which extend towards the green waves are heavily protected  

Multi-story modern buildings trace the silhouette of the city in the plain between beach and mountains
with grills and high walls topped with broken glass. The 1981 economic depression lead to an explosion in the crime rate. The army of unemployed swelled daily with people forced to thieve to fill their bellies. Although robbery is still common, The situation appears no longer as critical.

The slopes around the city are covered in shanty towns known as Favela, named for a cactus indigenous to a region where a military encampment was founded in the 1897 war in Bahia between rebels and soldiers. The soldiers fled from the camp to swell the numbers of those migrating to the big cities. Since that time, Favela has come to symbolize the destitution of those settlements. One in four Favela dwellers are said to earn their living by theft or selling cocaine.

At Carnival, bright clothes, the profits of a year's thieving, music, dance and jubilation fill the streets for 4 days. Destitution, pain and suffering are forgotten, and for four days at least, life is beautiful. Abandoned by the wealthy, the streets of Rio become the domain of the destitute.

Two peaks are the symbol of the city: Corcovado and the Sugar Loaf mountain. A giant statue of Jesus on the peak of Corcovado extends his arms in forgiveness for the sins committed below. Sugar Loaf mountain gives a birds-eye view of the city and its indented coastline.

 

A shop in the Favela. People usually buy on credit. At sunset, heavy shutters are pulled down and padlocked. Crime fills the Favela streets under cover of night(left).
Shanty towns throughout the world share the same fate. They are completed brick by brick. First of all one main room, then other rooms and floors (right).

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