Remember when I posted a video clip thinking that my Rio favela was under attack? Like I mentioned, they were actually filming the movie Tropa de Elite 2 (from my shack’s window I couldn’t see the cameras or support staff). I recently stumbled on a behind-the-scenes clip of that day’s filming:
My front gate shows up at 0:40. The green-tarped kiosk at 0:56 is like a mini 7-11, where I bought staples such as milk, Guarana soda, and snappers. Only once did I go around the corner deeper into the favela (I was curious), and while it wasn’t dangerous, I didn’t exactly blend in. I knew a gay Algerian guy who lived in the deepness and he didn’t have any issues taking back his “crazy” B boys for nights of fun.
Here’s a video of a couple gringos riding their mountain bikes down the same favela. They end in the place where the BOPE troops from the previous clip walk up to.
You can hear the encouraging crowd in the background. I find that even the thuggish favela dwellers are rather friendly and deferent, while in America a group of approaching urban youth can be intimidating, not yielding the path and maybe even making derogatory comments (especially towards women). In Brazil this never happened to me—they’d get out of the way before I even thought about it.
Here’s a news clip talking about how the favela is the first to be hooked up with free internetche. It has some nice panoramic views of poverty:
While I don’t miss living in a favela, I do miss bragging about it, and most of all I miss the location. Right in the middle of Botafogo, it was close to everything and within 10 minutes walking distance to my favorite club to pull one-night stands (Casa do Matriz). I hated the actual apartment (it was old, there were five other roommates sharing 1.5 baths, and the kitchen had thousands of cockroaches of at least three different breeds I’d never encountered before), but it suited my leisure needs more than any Washington D.C. suburb I’ve lived in. Toss in the danger factor that got many a panties wet, and I’d definitely live in a favela again.*
*As long as it had a 24-hour police protection and I was living on the edge of the favela, not inside it. It also must have high-speed internet, hot water, and reliable electricity, with nary a hint of raw sewage odor.
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