Thursday, 5 May 2011

Review of Rio de Janeiro newspapers

I noticed some newspaper headlines and stories from local papers during our time in Rio, and I've reproduced some of these below.  The details are limited, possibly inaccurate, and my translation from Portuguese is poor but hopefully you will get some feel of what life in Rio is like.

Crack international climbing team hits town.
Today, Easter Sunday, a team of renowned crack international climbers honour Rio with a visit. Whilst some decide to stay out of the limelight on the edge of town, others less shy take up residence in the very heart of the beach district, in bustling downtown Copacabana.  The 14 distinguished visitors, including 2 Swiss, 2 Australians and  10 British, intend to scale the heights of some of the many morros {these are the steep rocky outcrops and peaks that Rio is famous for - Steve} that are dotted throughout our great city.  As we all know the most famous of these are Corcovado, crowned with the great statue of Christ the Redeemer, and the Pão do Açucar, and I am sure these will be among their targets. Indeed, when interviewed Rolf, one of the Swiss climbers and a man apparently renowned for his laconic delivery, simply replied 'Ja, ja, I will climb dese.  I can do it'. Story continued on page 6.

Rio City Council Trading Standards investigate local hostel for rules infringements
After receiving complaints by visiting travellers, Rio City Council Trading Standards division are to carry out
an investigation of the so-called 'Best Rio Hostal' on Avenida Ministro Alfredo Valadão in Copacabana.  Some of  the complaints made against this hostel include:

- housing guests in inhumane conditions (for example cramming 4 into a windowless room with no air conditioning and measuring just 2.5m by 3m);
- providing insanitary facilities (specifically, providing toilet facilites for which the doors fail to fully close, and showers that, although warm enough, are too small either to dress or undress in);
- causing stress through sleeplessness due to the need both to leave bedroom doors open due to the lack of windows or air-conditioning, and to have a portable fan blowing all night simply to make conditions in the cell-like rooms tolerable in the warmth of the tropical nights;
- breaching food hygiene regulations by failing to clean the guests' kitchen, itself a laughable description of the room provided for self-catering having as it did a total lack of useful utensils, crockery, space or furniture;
- failing to provide any public space for relaxation, beyond the 2m by 3m foyer area, thus contradicting the statement on the  hostel website saying that a guest sitting room was available;
- giving poor customer service, with staff being uninterested or unable to provide simple standard services such as recommendations for eating places or even a city map.

Don Alonso de Paiva, Head of Rio City Trading Standards, say he is very grateful for the complaints made as establishments of this kind give the city a bad name, and he is determined to stamp out such rogue practices.  More details on page 4

Naked man found dazed and confused on beach
Police this morning found Owen Phillips, 22, a visiting British tourist and and member of a visiting crack international climbing team, naked and confused on Copacabana beach, preserving his modesty with a small plastic shopping bag. When interviewed he claimed to have been 'skinny dipping' - an English term for swimming in the nude - after having, at seven in the morning, run back from Lapa where the previous evening he had been attending the weekly Friday night street party with his friends, and that somebody had stolen his clothes from the beach. The police were understandably sceptical of this blatant tissue of lies as when asked further why he had run back he claimed to have run out of money; what sort of friends, Sargeant Coelho, the investigating officer, argued, would leave a friend in such a situation, given the taxi fare back is a mere R$25 {about £10 - Steve}?  It is believed, but official sources have not yet confirmed, that these so-called friends could not raise the small sum of R$1,000 {about £400 - Steve} for police bail. Story continues on page 16.

Visiting crack international climbers scale the heights of Corcovado to Cristo Redentor and Pão de Açucar
Stealing a window in the current spell of unsettled weather here in Rio, a team of crack visiting climbers have
successfully conquered the dizzy heights of not only the Pão de Açucar but also Corcovado upon which, as the World knows, the famous Cristo Redentor statue stands gazing out over our great city.  Various routes have been successfully overcome, including K2 (a 150m climb that ends at the very feet of Christ), Dos italianos/Secundo (270 m long, that ends at the very top of the Pão de Açucar), and Coringa/Cartão, a classic combination leading also to the airy summit of that great Rio icon.  Visiting tourists at each of these world venues were taken aback as the intrepid climbers appeared as if by magic at the barriers erected to keep us more mortal beings safe. One, Rolf Arnold from Switzerland, a man renowned for his laconic style, said "Ja, ja, I knew I could do it" when asked in awestruck tones by our own reporter how it was.  Others among these brave men and women were heard to mutter darkly about 'slabby shit' but it isn't clear what was meant by this.  More details in the sports section on page 24.

The return of true style, by our fashion editor
This season sees a remarkable and long-awaited return to true style, with the re-appearance of that 1980's
iconic piece, the lycra tights. Many, including me, regretted their disappearance in the early 1990s, but I'm
delighted to say that they have been seen once again on the vertical catwalk of the city's morros, in
particular on a climb to the very top of the Pão de Açucar.  The models were two visting Britons Nathan and
Owen, members of a visiting crack international climbing team, who were sporting zebra stripe and electric
orange vein patterns respectively, and others styles available and in use are, notably, DPM (or camoflage) and floral pink.  These great statements of confidence and brashness will, I'm sure, be seen again in the coming months.  Story continues col 1, page 2 of the Fashion pull-out section.

Vice squad to raid Balcony Bar, by our religious correspondent
Imagine if you will - if you can - the tawdry scene: visiting middle-aged businessmen, corpulent to a man,
surrounded by, nay draped in, scantily-clad dusky-skinned young ladies of all shapes and sizes, voluptuous and provocative and shameless, all drinking strong liquor late into the night whilst decent, law-abiding folk like you and me try to block out the noise from this carousing assembly.  Such is the scene that would greet you - as it greeted a team of crack international climbers who innocently wandered into this pit of ordeal - were you unwise or unlucky enough to find yourself in that den of iniquity called the Balcony Bar on the Copacobana beach front, against which this paper has campaigned for so long on your behalf.  You can be sure that we will not rest until we have rooted out this evil from amongst us and so you, right-minded and God-fearing citizens that you are, will be able to rest more easily in your beds, to which you rightly retire both early and sober.  To that end we have urged the Vice Squad to raid the premises and we will keep you informed of the results.

Visiting Britons offend fellow travellers with offensive odours
Tourist chiefs are investigating claims that some guests at one of the city's many hostels so offended the
sensibilities of other travellers by their smell that the latter refused to move into their allocated hostel
room due to the overpowering stench.  It is reported that the offending guests were members of a ck
international crack climbing team visiting the city to scale the dizzy heights of Corcovado and the Pão do
Açucar, and the offensive odours were a combination of body odour, climbing shoes and long-un-washed towels. The hostel refused to comment on the reports beyond saying that all guests were welcome, even those who smelled as bad as these. More details in the Health pull out section on page 3.

Swiss visitor sets new record
Rio de Janeiro is rightly known as one of the great cities of the world, the scene of many triumphs and tragedies over the years.  This year the city of Christ the Redeemer has yet again been privileged to witness a supreme effort, an Austerlitz, an apoteosis of personal achievement.  One member of a crack international climnbing team, Rolf 'The Party Tiger' Arnold set, through a gigantic effort of will and perserverance, a new record in the consumption of the famously toxic caipirinha coktail.  The previous record, a paltry 10, was smashed by this Swiss hero, this latter day William Tell, who reached the unprecedent number of 15 of these potents brews.  When interviewed after the event he said "Ja, ja, I knew I could do it.  It was easy" before asking some local black citizens to "Turn the music up Brothers".  Reports that he suffered immediate liver failure have yet to be confirmed.

1 comment:

  1. You are a veritable Bryson of a travel writer. Glad to hear that the Crack International Climbing Team are making their mark in Rio. Also, pleased that your stickies are in Brazil, so that their unique odour (rotten cheese and burnt sick - Anita) is blowing away from the UK. Rolf says like a scream, we have already adopted the phrase Ja Ja it was easy, to be applied after particularly challenging tasks. Sounds like you are enjoying your 4 months in South America - have just had 4 days in Cornwall, not quite the same really!