Day Two: Rio de Janeiro communities and transportation around the city

Posted at 8:44 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 23:59:29-04

Today I woke up to gunshots outside the hostel.

The hostel I'm in is right next to Rio's famous favelas and while I was brushing my teeth, I heard a lot of loud bangs back to to back. When I went down for breakfast, everyone was discussing whether the noise was fireworks or gunshots.

I haven't had the chance to enter the favelas yet, but they have been described to me as unplanned real estate. There has been a lot of concern over whether tourists should visit these areas, but there are guided walking tours that go through the area every day. The area is low-income housing, but so much emphasis has been placed on it being such a slum.

As I watched the favelas pass by while I rode in the newly commissioned rapid transit system, I could only think about how it was just a small community housed within the larger Rio. Before I leave, I hope to visit them to get first-hand experience on what it truly is like.

Vendors continue to swarm the streets, trains, subways, essentially anything that has a large group of people present. Men were selling water to those passing by for only two reais, which translates to about 62 cents.

As I mentioned before, the gap between the haves and have nots are pretty wide. Right across from the Olympic village are some of the unplanned real estate. There is also a rail just for those with Olympic credentials that opened the day I arrived in Rio, but locals are unable to use the rail unless they have the correct verification, and I can only imagine the frustration that must come from that.

The Opening Ceremony is on Friday, and the traffic is starting to pick up in Rio. The buses were packed door-to-door and the streets at night are beginning to fill. Tomorrow can only bring more hustle and bustle.