Today I thought I would check out the area of Rio called ‘Centro’, which is the main city centre where many of the historic monuments are found, as well as the financial centre. It was a very easy journey to get there, with the metro going direct from the station by the hostel to all of the main stops in Centro.
The stop I decided to get off at was called Cinelandia, and it was right next to the national library and department of justice. The buildings were as grand as expected, though unfortunately I didn’t take any photos because the whole area made me feel somewhat unsafe. I’d say overall it felt a bit like downtown Cape Town, where you don’t necessarily think you are going to get mugged, but you still know better than to walk around with an expensive camera hanging around your neck (especially if on your own). In fact, on observing the people walking around I noticed hardly anyone wears watches, sunglasses (despite it being sunny), and no one has a camera however small. The only things of any value people seem to carry out in the open are tightly-gripped mobile phones as they make calls. That said, it clearly wasn’t an area aimed at tourists, so perhaps people just genuinely cannot afford such items.
From Cinelandia I did a loop around the local area, passing the main art gallery and a number of markets. There are elections coming up soon (I’m not sure if local, regional or national) so there were a number of people balloting in the streets. It was quite an awkward situation when someone would approach me to discuss who to vote for, and I didn’t even know the Portugese word for no! Some hand-waving would get them to leave eventually, and I didn’t want to play the English card in case it made me an easy target. On the walk I passed a number of high-rise office blocks and bank headquarters, none of which exhibited outstanding architecture; in fact, overall I was quite disappointed with Centro, and think I will stick to the beach areas over the next few days.
Once I completed my loop back to Cinelandia I got the metro back to the hostel area. Since it was still light I decided to head back to Copacabana beach and see if I could get some photos. Due to the weather having turned overcast the beach was more or less empty, and I’m pleased to report my camera made an appearance. Afterwards, I returned back to the hostel for dinner and some drinks with the English guy and German girls I met last night.
Tomorrow Marc arrives back in Rio for his last full day in South America!
Photo of the day: an unusually deserted Copacabana Beach.