I finally found a room in Botafogo, a mostly middle-class neighborhood adjacent to Copacabana. The only problem is that I’m incredibly close to the Dona Marta favela, roughly two or three minutes away on foot. I look outside my window and feel like I can reach out and touch it. They say in Rio that if you find yourself walking uphill you should turn back, and my building is definitely on an uphill slope.
I’m here because finding a reasonable monthly rental in Rio during December, January, or February is close to impossible. I was facing New York City prices, and even my current spot is more expensive than the nice room I rented in the best part of Medellin. After Carnival (Februrary 16) I will look for something better, as prices should drop by about 50%.
I live in a six-apartment building close to where the tree line begins in the bottom left of the photo. The Christ Redeemer statue is nearby on the right.
The street in front of my building is used by the favela dwellers to access their shacks and sometimes I watch them from my window. They appear to be a clean and simple people, more lively and expressive than their one-hundred times richer counterparts in Ipanema. I’m tempted to go into the favela during the day and grab lunch to see how it compares to all those Brazilian movies I’ve watched. Since everyone thinks I’m Brazilian I have a good feeling I can visit in flip flops and plain clothing and make it out without any problems, but of course I won’t do it.
My upper-class Brazilian friend asked for my address yesterday and after I gave it to her she replied with this:
It’s basically inside the favela, hahahaha. i would NEVER live there.
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