While I was in Río de Janeiro, and when I thought there was nothing left for me to know, lomography was my best ally for documenting the places and corners of the city, accompanied by the great nerdy_pirate!
I was in Rio de Janeiro for about three weeks, finishing a clinical specialization. I almost didn’t have free time, but I had many projects in mind too, especially about meeting with Brazilian lomographers. I really wanted to make a film swap with someone with a roll of film taken in Chile. As it was relatively close to my apartment, I thought that the best place to strike a lomo-friendship with someone was in the Lomography Gallery Store of Rio de Janeiro. After talking a while with the seller of the store, and spending nearly an hour (without anyone coming in), I was about to leave when Thiago, a very friendly local lomographer came in. Better known as nerdy_pirate nerdy_pirate on lomography, he mainly shares his work on Flickr. I told him my idea to do a film a swap and to give him a roll and everything else, in my newly learned Portuguese language, when suddenly he said, “Have you visited the favelas? Would you like to go walking around Rio tomorrow with me?” I said okay, and thus, began our adventure.
My new friend planned this analogue day, which began precisely at 7 AM on my day off from the hospital, in a park called Jardím of Allah, where we began to walk.
As I told nerdy_pirate, I felt I already knew all “cidade maravilhosa” except the favelas (shanty town), so the tour would begin at the foot of the two brothers, then move on to Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro, which has not been seized by the police. We would have lunch in a local bowling alley (salgadinhos) and end up walking along São Conrado and Gávea Pedra Bonita. The idea was to return to Ipanema before sunset.
The favelas — wow! I imagined a disaster! Danger, drugs, and violence — especially when I already heard everything said about favelas in this beautiful city.
Nerdy_pirate totally helped me demystify the favelas. You can go, but be careful. But, I saw no more violence one usually sees in all major Latin American cities. There were many children, much disorder, and many tourists too!
Rocinha is a lovely place. I liked everything we did that day, including so much talking about film swaps, beer, beach, hiking uphill, and Lomography!
In addition to our perfect understanding, I must say that this has been one of my most memorable experiences in the community. Imagine: a city tour + film swap? It’s excellent! We promised that the next time I visit Rio, we’ll go to the stadium to watch football because Thiago made me a fan of his club, the famous Flamengo, and I love this sport, too. He also promised to come and see the snow and the Chilean Patagonia. So, soon you’ll learn about this pair of LomoAmigos again!
By the way, the film swap that we did turned out really awesome!