Thursday the 27th of February 2003. Day 9 to Friday the 28th of February 2003 . Day 10

Thursday the 27th of February 2003. Day 9

Took the 9.45pm overnight bus from the “Rio Novo” station in rio to Curitiba in Southern Brazil. The bus station was a nightmare (20 minutes out of Coba), with dozens of different bus companies coming and going. Each all the major states would have its own bus franchise. I took PENHNA to Curitiba. All bus departures were running an hour late and I took the conventional 12 hour bus journey for 66R (17 EURO). There were 3 crashes within the bus station over an hour. I could have taken a leito (reclining seats and pillows) for 166 R. The bus stopped twice at 1 am and 8.00am for snacks/toilets and arrived in Curitia at 11.00 am by passing San Paulo (no loss). The stop over areas were very professional. You get a electronic card coming in and you eat and drink, (all hot food 24/7) and pay going out.

Friday the 28th of February 2003 . Day 10

Got to Curtiba around 11.00am. Very nice bus and rail station. Tourist information point also available. Availed of free map and asked on how to get to centro. Advised to walk 2 minutes to bus stop (well a tube which you pay as you enter) and wait for the bus. 1.70R, asked a chap about my Hotel (Golden Hotel, but didn’t know. Knew it was in the centre. So jumped off at what I thought was the city centre. With map, only took five minutes to find hotel. Rooms 22R, and 33R with balcony and view of town centre (very traditional with cathedral). All included Buffet Breakfast (Which was excellent). Excellent clean and friendly city. Seems out of place, its so like German and Czech cities. 1.6 million people, the majority having polish, Ukrainian, Italian and German Ancestry. Very little mixed or African blood here. Very hi tech modern city with the best mass transportation system in Brazil and the 1st predestined streets in Brazil. Enjoyed my 3 days. Nice temperature, no litter, no hassles. As soon as I got off the bus, I jumped on the tourist bus which is a HOP on/off bus. For 10r, YOU CAN GET ON/OFF 4 TIMES. There were maybe 15 stops/attractions where you could get off. Nice opera house, Botanical gardens, parks. Nice pub Disco as well in the city centre (walk left of the caterdral). A bit like Copper Face Jacks (only older) Ha!











Botanical Gardens – Curitiba

Taken on the 28th of February 2003

It pissed rain before I got there and I hid in there for 20 minutes until the rain fell away. Maybe a nice place on a fine day but nothing of interest there to report. Nice flowers anyone?

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Tangua Park – Curitiba

Taken on the 28th of February 2003

The sun was going down but the weather cleared up. The Its a funny structure. It has no purpose. It has no interior. Just two turrets on wither side for views. The camera flash reflected off the bricks.

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Tangua Park – Curitiba

Taken on the 28th of February 2003

Another shot of the park. A clse up shot (in comparison to the one above) of the left hand turret. Nice as the sun shines through in the background.

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Wednesday, February 26th 2003 – Day 8

I am staying in the Copacabana Praia Hostal. It was a nice place, geat staff, and I would it it to any body staying in Rio. You can share a dorm or book a 3 bedroom dorn by yourself for 50R per night. Each room contains a kitchen, bathroom, double bed, TV, air conditionining and a a bunk bed.

The TV and papers have been concentrating on the shooting and bus burnings that have taken place over the past few days. Remember the FAVELA, I visited on Monday and I said all the shops and markets were shut because of its Drug Baron leader. Well, this leader told all shops to close on Monday and many did. Even so (even thought this guy is in jail), Drug gangs armed with machine guns and home-made bombs have brought chaos to Rio de Janeiro just days before the city’s famous carnival begins.

From the BBC website.

Gang members in the Brazilian coastal city attacked police posts, burned vehicles, forced shops to close and set off two small bombs on Monday. Police say the violence was ordered by the jailed leader of the country’s most notorious drugs gang in retaliation for a tough official crackdown against the criminal groups. Although no one has died, the turmoil comes at the worst possible time for the city, which is expecting almost 400,000 tourists for this year’s carnival, beginning on Friday.

The bombs were set off in the early hours of the morning in a wealthy beachfront area packed with tourists – although no-one was injured. Elsewhere in the city, a police post was sprayed with bullets from a machine gun while many shops stayed closed after receiving threats from the gangs. A number of buses were also torched by gang members, and at the scene of one bus burning, police and bandits took part in a shoot-out. Rio’s state security chief Josias Quintal said the order to shut down shops was aimed at creating “a wave of terror and climate of instability”, but dismissed it as a “desperate attempt” by drug traffickers to retaliate for tough police action against them. Police are blaming Rio’s largest drug gang, the Red Command, for the violence. The violence follows a police crackdown on gangs They say the order for the violence was given by the Red Command’s jailed leader, Luiz Fernando da Costa – better known as Fernandinho Beira-Mar, or “Seaside Freddy”. Such attacks have happened before and are usually designed as a show of force if police action threatens to undermine the balance of power in Rio, according to the BBC’s correspondent in Brazil, Tom Gibb. But the violence hit upscale areas of the city usually immune from gang-related incidents, and while tourists are still expected to flock in for the carnival, the traditional festival celebrated with fancy-dress parades, music and dancing it is a blow to Rio’s reputation. “It is lamentable that this happens when we have a record number of tourists,” said the city’s Mayor Cesar Maia.

In the last 14 years, for instance, almost 4,000 under-18-year-olds were killed by firearms in Rio alone. Anyway, did very little today. Relaxed, went to Centro to see the capitals Catherdral and went back to the Saint Theresa district on the tram.

Addition (from the BBC website from the 27th of Feb 2003

Massive security for Rio carnival

Carnival work goes on, despite violence fears

Police in Brazil police have launched a huge security operation to protect the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, which has been threatened by spiralling violence between drugs gangs.

The authorities in Rio have asked for the army to be deployed, and up to 28,000 police are to be put on the streets to protect the carnival, which begins on Friday.

The drugs gangs have burned and machine-gunned buses, attacked police posts and set off small bombs in a beachfront area where hotels are packed with tourists.

“They’ve chosen the worst moment,” said Jose Eduardo Guinle, head of the state tourism agency.

“Carnival has to be celebrated without a hitch. This is our big chance to recover the image of the city abroad.”

As an aside: Thursday the 27th of February

I saw an attempted bus jack a few hours ago on N.S de Copa as it intersects with rua Pablo Junior. At the traffic lights there, a banger of car pulled up beside a bus at the traffic lights ( the car was in its bus lane). A guy in the front passenger seat got out with a handgun and started banging at the front door of the bus to get in. Everyone in the bus was looking out, but the bus driver put the boot to the floor. The lad went back into the car. They stayed there for a few minutes and drove off.

Friday, 28 February, 2003, 11:42 GMT – Army on streets for Rio carnival

From the BBC

Operation Safe Rio is designed to protect revellers

Thousands of troops and armed police have been sent onto the streets to help guard Rio de Janeiro’s carnival following a wave of violence by drug gangs.

The Brazilian Government’s decision to use troops came after gangs burned and machine-gunned buses, set off small bombs and attacked police posts.

With the massive security operation under way, the police say they have killed seven gang members in the last two days.

The carnival celebrations starting Friday are going on as normal, with some streets packed with drunken revellers following samba bands.

Most of the violence happened on Monday when shopkeepers were forced to close their businesses after receiving threats.

There have been frequent shoot-outs between gang members and the police and almost 40 buses have been torched.

Bus victim

On Thursday seven more buses were burned out.

Justice Minister Marcio Thomaz Bastos said the extent of the violence led to the decision to use the army.

“The destruction of buses and the curfew imposed by organised crime in the state have made us attend the call from the governor,” he said.

“The federal government has decided to put the army in the streets.”

The latest victim of the violence was a 70-year-old woman who died in hospital after being badly burnt when the bus she was in was set on fire.

The authorities are blaming the violence on the city’s most powerful gang, the Red Command, which has thousands of heavily-armed followers and controls many of the shanty towns.

They say they intercepted the gang leader giving orders on a mobile phone from inside the maximum security jail where he is a prisoner.

Fernandinho Beira Mar, or Seaside Freddy, as the gang leader is known, has now been transferred to another high security jail in the neighbouring state of Sao Paulo.

Almost 40 buses have been destroyed

With 400,000 visitors expected for the celebrations over the coming days, the city authorities say they are worried the violence could affect Rio’s tourist industry.

The head of the state tourism board TurisRio Sergio Almeida told the Associated Press news agency that they had had few cancellations so far.

“But if the violence continues it will hurt carnival,” he said. Rio state governor Rosinha Matheus said some 36,000 police officers and 3,000 soldiers would keep the peace under an operation dubbed “Safe Rio”.

Violence mars Rio carnival dawn From BBC

Friday, 28 February, 2003, 22:46 GMT

Rio’s famous carnival celebrations have officially kicked off, after Friday morning was marred by more street violence between security forces and drug gangs.

One armed gang of about 30 men initiated a three-hour shoot-out with police on one of Rio’s biggest thoroughfares, Brazilian media reported.

A motorist died after being shot at point-blank range by one of the group when he refused to give up his car.

Tens of thousands of armed police – and, for the first time, troops – have been sent onto the streets to help guard Rio de Janeiro’s carnival following the wave of violence.

‘Inferno’

In another incident, 28 terrified passengers on a bus bound for Sao Paulo threw themselves to the floor when their bus was hit by a hail of bullets and a Molotov cocktail.

The Brazilian newspaper O Dia said the Avenida Brasil, a dual carriageway, was “transformed into an inferno: cars screaming off in the wrong direction, a bus on fire and many bullets”.

In addition to the man who died, other motorists were attacked and ordered to abandon their vehicles in the incident, which occurred during the early hours of Friday morning local time.

It was the latest in a string of attacks in which over 50 buses have been torched.

On Monday shopkeepers were forced to close their businesses after receiving threats.

More than 50 buses have been torched

The violence prompted the Brazilian Government – headed by Workers’ Party President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – to deploy military police.

He said the population was threatened by “insecurity, unrest and fear”.

Revellers vowed not to let the violence spoil the four days of carnival, a pre-Lent festival of drinking and dancing.

Alex de Oliveira, who – at 135 kilograms (300 pounds) – was elected carnival’s Rei Momo (Fat King), received the symbolic key to the city and festivities began.

No soldiers could reportedly be seen as evening approached.

Seaside Freddy

The authorities are blaming the violence on a drugs cartel, the Red Command, which has thousands of heavily armed followers and controls many of Rio’s shanty towns.

Notorious gang leader “Seaside Freddy” was moved away

They say they intercepted the gang’s leader giving orders on a mobile phone from inside the maximum-security jail where he is a prisoner.

Fernandinho Beira Mar, or Seaside Freddy, as the gang leader is known, has now been transferred to another prison in the neighbouring state of Sao Paulo.

With 400,000 visitors expected for the celebrations over the coming days, the city authorities say they are worried the violence could affect Rio’s tourist industry.

‘No worries’

Rio state governor Rosinha Matheus said 36,000 police officers and 3,000 soldiers would keep the peace under an operation dubbed “Safe Rio”.

But our correspondent in Rio, Tom Gibb, says most visitors seem to have taken little heed of the stories of violence.

Major Gilberto Tenreiro of Rio’s tourist police said he thought the worst was over.

“The violence was a phase that has already passed,” he told news agency Associated Press.

“We are doing everything to make sure tourists can enjoy carnival without any worries.”

23rd of February 2003 – Day 5 (contd)/ 24th of February 2003 – Day 6

23rd of February 2003 – Day 5 (contd) / Day 6

I went to the Maracana stadium – a local derby – two of Rios teams from the premier division – Botafog VS Fluminense. Fantastic statium with a capacity of 110,000, and location of the World Cup in 1950 and Pele´s 1,000 goal in 1969. Good game with the fameous Souza Farias Romario, scoring twice for FLU in their 5-0 win. All goals were scored in the second half. Tickets for the game were 10R, but I went with the hostel group which was 40R (all inclusive) plus 3 off-duty policement for protection as we were 10 rows under the hardcore FLU supporters. There were about 15 of us gringos, It was great, except there was crowd trouble behind us. Some guy threw a slap, and within seconds, about 40-50 gusy rushed throught us to get to the scene. Slaps were traded between these guys against 2/3 others for about a minute. Beacuse there was only 1 cop, the situtation could not be contained until reinforcements came about a minute later. All this was taking place about 10 rows behind us to the right. There were some pretty scared gringos, ready to depart, but things settled down again as FLU scored. Some pics below. Met a guy from Emily (Tipparary) at the match. He is a Irish Soldier staioned in the Sahara. His sunglaases were nicked from him the day before. He had great things to say about the Thatch disco in Emily. Alot of crowd trouble down at the San Paulo home game as well.. seems soccer violence is quite prevalnt.











Football in Rio de Janeiro

Taken on the 23rd of February 2003

What a day. Biggest Sadium in the World.. carries over 100,000. The sun shining. hard young guys with flags. great football.

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Football in Rio de Janeiro

Taken on the 23rd of February 2003

I would mess with Rio Football fans. I didnt see one female in the crowd and a couple of fist fights occured around us.

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Football in Rio de Janeiro

Taken on the 23rd of February 2003

Yep, thats me. I met an Irish lad at the game. As you can see its a big stadium.

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Went to a beach party after on the main Ipanema road. Cant get my head around it as a westener (or just ben Irish). One big artic truck with a massive sound system. Maybe 30 guys with drums walking ahead of the group. Then we have about 1m people on both sides in front and behind this truck, dancing, partying and singing. I ask myself WHY. Imagine 1m Irish people following the chieftans on a truck down O; Connell street , dancing. Hmm, it simply does not exist in our DNA.

24th of February 2003 – Day 6

Went on the favela tour. Website here. It was really interesting. Cost 55R. Hostel pick-up at 9.00am. Introduction comments about the context of favelas in Rio city and Brazilian society. Arriving in Rocinha, welcoming, explanation about the architecture, public services, carnival, etc. Guide explained that 2m out of the 10m in Rio live in the various 600 favelas in Rio.

Going to a local terrace, pause for pictures of a breathtaking view over Rio, talks about the security. Rocinha is the biggest favelas in Rio (pop 160,000). We drove down through the “Estrada da G?vea”, a former F1 race track.

Went to Vila Canoas, visiting the “Para Ti” community school. All together very good and safe. Guide explained that no cops come in to the favelas but the drug barons provide security, the infrastructure, the hospitals etc out of their pocket. There are very strict rules: no stealoing, rape, murder etc. If you commit a crime against your local community (including tourists) while int he favela you get shot dead. If you dicide to rob a tourist outside the favela, well thats no problem. Therefore the guide said tourists could visit alone, but if some kid got tempted, robbed you (assuming U didnt know the rule), you could go the drug and have him shot.











Rio de Janeiro favela tour

Taken on the 24th of February 2003

It eas explained to me while taking this picture that that 2m out of the 10m in Rio live in the various 600 favelas in Rio.

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Rio de Janeiro favela tour

Taken on the 24th of February 2003

Romario missed the 1998 World Cup because of a nagging calf muscle injury and was left out of the squad in 2002 by Luiz Felipe Scolari, even though many fans still considered him to be Brazil’s best striker at the time. It was beacuse he wanted his girlfriend to share his room., but the coach said no relations during the World Cup – and therefore the joke in the picture above.

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21st of February 2003 – Day 4 (contd)/ Day 5

21st of February 2003 – Day 4 (contd)/ Day 5

Was again deciding on an early night, but again better judgement failed me. There was a trip from the Hostel to a hall where a samba band were having a final rendition before Carnival. The bus was leaving at 11.15pm, and to tell you the truth, when I think of samba, nothing comes to mind except shuffling of feet. After having a few beers on the steps of the hostel, I was persuaded to go, as I may not be in town for Carnival, I decided to go. It was 40R return by mini bus (which including the 20R entrance fee to the hall ). Many informal groups or neineighborhoods get together every weekend to rap on their own samba rhythm. These groups gave rise to bigger bands called @blocos@ for Carnival, whose name points to what part of the city they are from. Their pre-Carnival rehersals are very popular. We went to a neighborhood, with a reputation as a great bloco.

There were hundreds of people outside the hall, drinking, eating and dancing. I was going to say the night was hot with anticipation – it was. We got in and there must a have been 5,000 people inside swaying. They had developed their own rhyth, or song (with lyrics) for the parade, and everone was singing and dancing to the same rhythm all night. They had 5/6 singers doing relays with the singing and opposite on a balcony were about 100 people with drums, chims (making hella lot of noise), and all the crowd were tuned into it, beacuse this was their bloco, there creation. It was like supporting your local team – everbody was really into it. About 15 people from the hostel with and everyone had a great time. Beers were 2.50 R each (Bramhna) and we got back to the hostel at 4.00ma. I was exhausted.











Rio de Janeiro Salsa

Taken on the 21st of February 2003

Salsa. What a night. This community/neightbourhoodis practucing for Carival. The whole community is involved. They have their own song. Young and old. Beer. sex. Rythm.

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Rio de Janeiro Salsa

Taken on the 21st of February 2003

It was a long niht and everyone had a great time. No luck with the ladie though!

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21st of February 2003 – Day 5

Got up at 11.00am. Met a guy that was was going to see a game at the famous Rio soccer stadium – the Maracana. We are going too a local derby – two of Rios teams from the premier division – Botafog VS Fluminense. They expect 60,000 people at the match.

Day 4

Day 4 – Saturday

The city is dead during weekends- Everybody heads to the beach and drinks at juice bars. No work is done in the city centre and shops close close early. They take their leisure time seriously. Everbody looking at everybody.

I had been told of a white knuckle ride with a difference – the Bondinho (the little tram). Catch it at the tram station on Rua Lelio Gama in the Centro district. The cost of this white knuckle ride is .60 (double return) real, Wooden seats, ropey suspension and open sides make for quite an exciting journey. Maybe because armed police ride them you as it travels close to a favela.Kids jump on the tramp as it going up a large hill. Watch your valubales but goes through an area that writers reside – St. threresa district. it has its own hospital, police staion , museum and beaquful ornate houses. If this was a favela, i have had the wrong impression. Take the metro (return ticket is 2.94R) – called a DUPLO. Went to Carioca station. Very clean and safe. Now 16.00 hours – going to grab a bite to eat.

Years ago, I could @Do@ 3 museums, a day. Now in this heat – 35 oC today – can really only do one serious tourist thing a day.











Rio de Janeiro City Centre

I went into town to see the business districts and yes, there is commerce in Rio. Lots of suits sweating in the miday sun. Not much to report from here.

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Rio de Janeiro

Kudos to those who recognised what this was. A cop car outside the hostel. They must ahve much deal with the owners as there were always cop cars coming and going for cofee etc. On any tours, an off duty cop usually came along i.e to football matches etc. Maybe in case of a bus jacking. It happens here. A bus full of cops (yes, its true) was jacked in September 2004. All their valuables were taken.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Day 1/2 in Rio, Brazil

Day 1 – the 19th of february 2003

Nice flight with BA from London – San Paulo (stopover) – Rio. They have those built in TV screens so U can pick between 5/6 films at any one time. (5666 miles from London – San Paulo). Took the 5.40pm flight from Dublin to London Heathrow. Arrived 7.00pm to T1. This airport is far too big, but got from T1 to T4 (international departures) in 20 minutes. My flight did not go until 20.50.

Arrived in Rio about 3 hours – ago – arrived local time 8.00am after 1 hr stopover in San Paulo and hostel/hotel at 9.00am. Avoided the touts and grabbed a passing yellow taxi. (26 R from Airport – to Cobba). Walked down to the beach area around 10.00am as I never sleep after early arrivals cos of potential jet lag. Adapt to the country time ASAP.. I am still hearing all the warnings about petty theft in my mind along this area, so I was over careful on Day 1, which is a pity. Everyone was a potential thief.

In the afternoon, I calmed down and walked around to get my bearings. I started to enjoy the city/people without holding onto my wallet and bag with purpose. Still, beacuse I am not a beach person, I don´t think I shall be setting foot – not too clean for swimming in case. Very unusual to see evrone from 8 to 80 walking around in Speddos and bikinis. Very surreal. Still, cobba is only a small part of Rio – Went into cento in the afternoon for something to eat. A business area.

Day 2 – the 20th of February

Got up at 8.30. Felt a bit more confident and took the bus (518) to the Cog Train in order to get to the Christ the Redemmer Statue.











Rio de Janeiro

Taken on the 20th of February 2003

The Beach not thailand but rio. To tell you the truth, I am not a beach person and to my shame didnt set up on sand while in Rio. Not a body fanatic nor a beach bum.

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Rio de Janeiro

Taken on the 20th of February 2003

Christ the Redeemer – Cristo Redentor. Fantastic, Christ arms outstretched overlokking the city. Some views from up here.

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Rio de Janeiro

Taken on the 20th of February 2003

Christ the Redeemer – Cristo Redentor. Fantastic, I met some Irish lads here as I am my Cork GAA Jersey on. I am still getting used to the heat.

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Just thought I should have taken a stitch panoramic shot of the statue. Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer and Cog train). Cog trains run daily from 8.30 – 6pm, every 30 minutes Station: Rua Cosme Velho, 513, Cosme Velho, Tel: (21) 2558 1329, Website:

Ticket price: 24 reals each (return). Met a Tom Ryan and his friend from Ireland who are also taking a year out in S. America. I was wearing a Cork GAA jersey, so I was easy to pick out. Good luck with your travel lads. We might cross paths again.

Going Away Party – 14th of February 2003

14th of February 2003
My going away party from the company was on last friday the 14th of February. It was great to have the company of 18 people from the company, the building and the trade.Went to the local golf club, which overlooks the Irish Sea- it looked great- why do i want to travel overseas??? It was a great meal, good Guinness (and thanks to the Chairman for the champers). The dinner started around 1.30pm. I wanted to go back and change at 5.00pm but when an Irish session gets going, it does not stop for breaks. We tore ahead until 2.00am. A long day, and it took it out of me. Thanks to pat for the speeches. I felt fairly raw the next morning, but had to drive to Dublin for a few things, before driving 200 miles to home when my reamining stuff. I then went out to the local with the family – at as everybody knows – the Harp bar has the best Guinness in ireland. Nice to home for 3 nights before I head off.

Thanks to the company for a great going present – a Cannon A40 – I havn’t put it down since. I took photos of the party, butthe res was too bight (average 400kb), so after I downloaded them, I had to resave them to lower quality for the web (40kb).





Going Away Party at work

Taken on the 14th of February 2003

The typical Irish Going Away party Piss Up .. you gotta love it.

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Going Away Party at work

Taken on the 14th of February 2003

The typical Irish Going Away party Piss Up .. you gotta love it.

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Going Away Party at work

Taken on the 14th of February 2003

The typical Irish Going Away party Piss Up .. you gotta love it. Myself and Mary Flynn

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Going Away Party at work

Taken on the 14th of February 2003

The typical Irish Going Away party Piss Up .. you gotta love it. Myself Brendan, Allison & Pat

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Great win againt Scotland in Murrayfield today – although as a game, it was poor. Ireland have not won at rugby in Murrayfield since 1985. I was a young chap then. Great turnout at the ant-war march in Dublin yesterday – 1000,00, which is the biggest in 20 years. Drove to Fermoy this evening with the Father.