Easter 2013 in Rio

The long Easter weekend in Rio is a special holiday. Known as “Semana Santa” is a time of long-held Easter traditions and religious celebration. Around this time you’ll also find many non-religious events being held. Good Friday, or “Sexta Paixao”, is a national holiday in Brazil, with most businesses and schools closing on Thursday, Friday, and Monday.

If you happen to be in Rio around this joyous time, you can find many events and celebrations to attend. Here are a few that might interest you for the 2013 celebration:

Gringo Cafe

The cafe will be hosting an Easter edition of their new “Gringo Lounge”. A DJ will be featured, as well as a host of new menu items like red velvet cake, chocolate peanut butter cups, a flourless chocolate cake, and special Easter eggs benedict.

Religious Services

Christ Church of Rio will be holding a Holy Communion and a shared meal on Thursday at 7:30 pm. They will also have a bilingual English and Portuguese service at 3pm on Friday. On Sunday, communion will begin at the Christ Church at 8am, and be followed by another one at 10:30am. The Union Church will also be hosting a pancake breakfast between 8:30 and 9:30 am and have a Celebration Service at 10am. An egg hunt will follow these events.

Favela em Danca Festival

A dance festival is being held at the NGO Solar Meninos de Luz in the hills above Ipaneme and Copacabana. Dance styles, work shops, exhibitions, and competitions will be held.

(Outside of Rio)

Holy Week in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

During this special week, every year this town transforms into a town full of colorful religious imagery. Beautiful carpets stretch between all the churches forming  a religious path of sorts. Actors also portray scenes from the bible on the streets.

Lollapalooza in Sao Paulo

This 3 day music festival will have some of the biggest names in music in attendance, including Pearl Jam, Deadmau5, the Killers, Criolo, and Graforreia Xilarmonica.

Rio Favelas Getting Eco-Friendly Homes

Green homes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

(courtesy of RioTimes.Com)

The city of Rio delivered sixteen eco-friendly apartments to the citizens of the local favelas, Babilônia and Chapéu Mangueira. The buildings used sustainable materials as well as complying with construction methods in order to build homes in environmentally protected areas. This is being done as part of the mayor’s Live Carioca Green project.

The apartments feature a variety of things, such as solar heating, windows that allow for better ventilation, rainwater collection, energy efficiency, longer lasting light bulbs, motion sensor lights, insulation to keep homes cooler in the summer, and more.

These sixteen apartments are the first delivery of a project that will be delivering 117 more eco-friendly units in similar communities by 2014. Architects from the company Arquitraco Projetos, based in Rio, are in charge of the project.

One citizen that was placed in one of the apartments, Priscila Cristina de Souza Chagas, lost her home on the hillside during a mudslide in 2008. She was transferred temporarily to subsidized housing. She is happy with the new apartment and says “I’m very happy because there is no comparison between my new house and my old one. My old house was made of stucco and wood, but this new house is built right.”

When the mayor, Eduardo Paes, visited the eco-homes when they were placed last week, he said “Rio has a vocation for sustainability and the preservation of nature. This is the first model. The work is more sophisticated and that is why [the development] takes longer to complete, but our objective is to bring the project to other communities.”

Past efforts to improve the favelas have in a sense caused the city to take steps backwards and reinvest in areas that had previously fallen apart. However, these apartments now demonstrate a new standard for public housing in Rio. This is also part of the city’s plan to gear up and prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Preparations Being Made in Rio for Dengue Fever Season

Data that has been recently released shows that dengue fever cases have tripled throughout Brazil, however in Rio a ten percent decrease has been shown between the time period of January 1st through February 16th. Dengue fever is a tropical disease spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that typically lasts about 5-6 days.

During the same time last year, Rio had 16,398 suspected cases and one death, however during this same time period in 2013 14,838 cases were reported and no deaths. Four strains of the virus currently exist – ENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4, with all strains producing the same symptoms of high fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and joint and muscle aches.

A Rio resident, Leonardo Lima, told the Rio Times recently “It’s awful. I felt kind of weird, dizzy. It was as if I was not in my body. I was having chills, my fever went up to 41. I had pain in the knees, ankles and kidney. […] That was a Friday night, the worst night. By Wednesday I was 95 percent cured.” Lima took a blood test and was confirmed to have dengue fever. His father is a doctor who practices at a private clinic and states that a “blood test should be taken exactly five days after the first symptoms” and that “people should look for a doctor as soon as they think that they might have dengue.” (Rio Times)

A training program to assist doctors and nurses in combating dengue fever was instituted in 2011. It helps them learn the proper protocols and diagnosing and treatment. The training began in January 2013 and had a goal of having more than 700 new health care professionals trained by March. Roughly 7,000 have participated so far. Unfortunately, health care professionals can only treat patients after it has been contracted as there is no current vaccine available to combat the virus. Therefore, taking preventative measures is the best way to combat its spread.

In order to assist with this prevention, the State Department of Health created a campaign called Dez Minutos Contra a Dengue, which translates to Ten Minutes Against Dengue. It offers a guideline for ten minute actions that can be taken each week to help prevent the spread of the disease. Such actions include: covering pools and water tanks, monitoring areas for standing water where the mosquitoes prefer to breed, and overturning buckets and containers that may have standing water outside. Insect repellent and staying indoors when possible is also recommended.




[Pictures] Carnival 2013

Another year of Carnival has wound down in Rio, just in time for the beginning of Lent. Many of us weren’t able to make it to the world famous event, so here’s some pictures taken during this years Carnival celebration.

More Tourists Being Drawn to Rio’s Favelas

Visitation interest in Rio’s famous favelas has peaked recently, with half the tourists that travel to Rio de Janeiro indicating that they plan to visit one of the city’s favelas, The study done by Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) institution also suggests that Brazilian tourists are more inclined to visit the favelas than foreign tourists are.

Favelas are makeshift housing communities located with the busy streets of Brazil’s most visited city, Rio. They traditionally have been known to have a very high crime rate, as well as a significant amount of its citizens involved with drugs of some sort. Tourists in the past have been instructed to avoid these areas as much as possible so as not to risk their own safety during travels.

Success in the film area, with films such as Cidade de Deus (City of God) and Tropa de Elite (Elite Squade) have helped increase attention to the favelas, and with the government’s pacification program, which has been working on removing drug addicts, thugs, and drug dealers from favela streets, the image of the favelas is a safer and more appealing one. Currently there are thirty Police Pacifying Units (UPPs) set up inside Rio favelas. All these efforts have made these parts of town almost a haven for tourists and Brazilian residents wishing to get away from the prominent beach areas.

The FGV study concluded that 58.2 percent of the Brazilian tourists, who were questioned in Rio’s Tom Jobim airport intended on visiting one of city’s many favelas. Zezinho Da Rocinha, a local tour guide, stated“I have a lot more foreigners, and really very few Brazilians.”

One issue that was revealed in the study, however, was that tourists were not spending a lot of money in the favelas. Thus, the favelas are supporting more tourism, which was wanted by Brazil, but are not bringing in any extra income with tourists mostly just purchasing a small snack here or there. It’s not the tourist’s fault, however, as many companies inside Rio’s favelas are not equipped to cater to tourists.


Tattoo Week Rio

Beginning Friday, January 4th Tattoo Week Rio will kick off, effectively bringing together some of the world’s best body artists to celebrate body art. The event will also host 5 music shows over 3 days and will take place at Pier Maua on Avenida Rodrigues Alves in Centro.

Tattoos hold a special place in Rio, with many locals and visitors boasting numerous colorful tattoos. Daniel Laruso, who owns the Arte Copa Tattoo studio says ““There used to be a prejudice against tattoos here in [in Brazil], but as time went on it faded. Now many more people are getting tattoos.It’s really recommended for anyone to go to these events. Tattoo artists and people in the industry go there for the techniques, but it’s a great event people outside the industry as they can see the art. They can see the more human side of things.”

Brazil has quite an expanding body art market, a market that will be flocking in the thousands to the week long festival. The festival will begin each day at 4pm and continue until 10pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets are only R$15 for the show, and R$50 for the music events.