South America | Brazil | Rio de Janeiro – neighborhood watch

South America | Brazil | Rio de Janeiro – neighborhood watch




I am calmly exuberant, excitedly chill, spinning in circles in slo-mo, underwater butoh meditating in a sped-up chaplin movie.

hey… what is a spaghetti western, anyway?



The nighborhood up the hill from us is called Prazeres. I had never been before, but a bunch of Iko Poran fools work there. ­čÖé Our friend Calvin still volunteers with Iko Poran, but doesn┬┤t live in the casa grande anymore. He lives in Prazeres in a beautiful house. I went there with him on Friday, just to check it out.

Prazeres is a very clean favela. It┬┤s totally impossible to explain in words.


A favela is a group of buildings, usually on a hillside, not built to any standards. The land is free, the people tap into electricity and water. Police don┬┤t go into the favela unless they (the police) have not been paid off by the favela┬┤s drug lord. Then they just go in to beat the shit out of people.

Favela literally means ┬┤slum┬┤ and some people take offense to that name. So be it. Here at IP most people try to say ‘neighborhood’ which does seem nicer. Also it helps to remind the speaker and the listener that there are people -many people- living in the favela, as opposed to concentrating on the total shanty-town aspect of it.


So. I had never been into a favela. Calvin gave me a tour of sorts. First we went up the winding road (natch) that leads into Prazeres. The walls are high on either side, the road is clean, there is wall art around. It┬┤s visually quite spectacular. On the left, huge in block graffiti letters, ‘PRAZERES’.

(KANYE WEST – Through the Wire)

We continued walking, with me trying to play it cool but really drinking in every little sight, head swivelling on my neck like a… like a… I don┬┤t know, man. Like a robot on parole.

(must give computer to Jos├ęe. More soon!)

to be continued:
more neighborhood adventures
our night in Lapa
more classes taught and learned
Calvin┬┤s goodbye party at Prazeres
Pao de A├žucar
Arantxa┬┤s goodbye feast
the gay parade in Copacabana
one week left in Rio (very sad)
new adventures in the South (very glad)


Category : South America | Brazil | Rio de Janeiro , Uncategorized