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Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 | 2 comments

Brazil’s Dusty Azure: Day 3 (Scene 2)

In my last post about Brazil, I promised I was not going to continue boring you to death with old buildings and historic areas.

This post is about interesting pieces of information I learned or noticed while walking around Rio de Janeiro’s Centro (downtown).

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Centro is often overlooked by other more popular attractions in the city.  I don’t blame people for skipping it.  With the overflow of activities tempting a visitor, well, one needs to choose wisely how to spend time.

My walk around the Centro was on a cloudy and sometimes rainy day. Here are some of the interesting things I noticed (and photographed, does that qualify me as a psycho?).


I noticed a lot of people protesting in the downtown area.

For example, I saw this guy chained to the front of one government building.  There was quite a lot of commotion and the press was even covering the event.

Protest in Downtown Rio de Janeiro


Then, there was a bigger protest in front of the Tiradentes Palace. This time people were complaining about the poor benefits of the city’s fire fighters.

To me, it is interesting to observe these facets of daily life.  Travel let us discover the needs of people in different countries.

Protest in front of Itamary Palace


Let me tell you that the Centro is very modern and bustling.  I know I showed you a lot of old buildings in the area.  If you take a close look at the pictures, you are going to notice how the colonial and modern are intertwined. It is like two different souls sharing the same body.  Well, in this case they are sharing the same space in a city.

I was also stunned by the number of people walking around during business operating hours.  I mean, the place was packed.  It was even hard to walk without stumbling with others. When you go to Rio you expect to see the overcrowded beaches but an overcrowded business and financial center? I guess this is the big Brazilian economy in all of its glory.  I don’t want to imagine how Sao Paulo looks during the week.

The big number of people working around gives birth to other businesses devised to sustain them. There are multiple restaurants, cafes, bookshops, magazine stands, coconut vendors and everything in between (like pirate DVD sellers).  All I have to say is: very interesting place.

Modern buildings in Downtown Rio


But not everything was peaches and cream.  Some areas are extremely decayed.  The port area looked horrible (it is getting a complete facelift).  The traffic and noise drives crazy the most patient person.  After seeing all these, I began to think how they are going to pull out the World Cup in 2014.  Maybe the city needs an event like that to get some deserved attention.

Streets under construction


A funny thing is that I don’t quite understand their taste for statues.

Monument or structure


Plus, I saw a public telephone booth.  I don’t even remember when was the last time I saw one in the United States.

Public phones


Here is another thing I don’t understand.  If you take a look at the next photo, you are going to notice a long line of people waiting to buy at Burger King. Now, why was this happening? Maybe it is one of the cheapest places around (I have written about how expensive is the food there).  Or, do they like the taste of the food there (It can be possible, I had a “burger” in a local establishment and the patty needed to be seen with a microscope)?  Kentucky Fried Chicken was full too.

Long lines to eat at Burger King


There is graffiti everywhere.  This is like a paradise for graffiti wanna-bes.



Then, even though I was walking in the middle of an urban area, I was able to observe exotic flora.  At least, I saw some plants I have never seen before.

Exotic Vegetation


Of course, there were some animals around as well.  No, I am not referring to the ever present pigeons.

Big bird


Small, cute bird


The most surprising thing was to see agoutis in one of the Centro’s park.  These animals are known as cotuzas in some Central American countries. In a normal case, I would have said: “Wow, a cotuza in Rio de Janeiro.  That is nice”.  The problem is that there were like a hundred in a small piece of terrain.  It looked more like a scene from a terror story.  My husband wanted to go inside the park but we couldn’t find the entrance (it was surrounded by a gate). Anyway, I don’t think I would have entered.  This is one of the random weird things you can find around the city. Only in Brazil, my friends.

Cotuza or Agouti


Wow, I wrote a lot today. I thought this was going to be short but I guess Rio is so interesting that I can’t stop writing about it.

What unusual, weird or different things have you noticed in Rio de Janeiro? Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. We have not yet been to Brazil but its great to see how you are so in tune with the surroundings and have noticed so many things! You’ve definitely inspired us to notice our surroundings more than just the usual tourist attraction highlights!
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