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Friday, May 04, 2012

Getting around in Rio

metro-map-rio I have been sitting here for an hour; the house is quiet; Camillo still in bed and the workers who are giving the outside of the house a facelift have not yet arrived.  I have known what I wanted to write about for at least 3 weeks.  I even was out over the weekend, snapping photos just in case I needed just one more to tell the story.  And still I sit and stare at the screen.  The problem is this; do I want to tell the complete story which could take 3 or four posts or do I want to slap some photos up on the blog and be done with it. 

Not that I write this blog to win popularity contests but when I have what I feel is an interesting story and I write it in some detail, showing a small fraction of the photos that I have to illustrate; I get very little feedback.  And that is discouraging.  The ‘what is the point’ question comes up regularly lately.  So I will slap myself upside the head a couple of times and march forward, remembering that I write and take photos for my own enjoyment, and, of course, as an adult, a rather mature adult for that matter, I do not need the approval of my piers to be motivated.

Transportation in Rio / Nova Friburgo is a multifaceted issue.  We have the Brazilian's love of their cars.  We have what I think of as their competitive spirit.  We have what I feel is their feeling of success being based on having and driving their cars.  We have two cities that are at the base of a mountain range and one of them is locked in by the sea creating, in both cities, a narrow strip of land in which to live and to drive.  We have Rio metropolitan area boasting a population of (approximately) 13 million.  That means that (for the sake of argument) if one half of that population is on the move daily – needing to get to work, to school, to doctors, shopping and whatever,  approximately 6.5 people have to get someplace TODAY, they need to do it fast (faster than you if you remember number 2 above)  and they can only go through the narrow corridor between the Rocks and the Sea creating bottlenecks of mass proportions.

The old Rio Transit
This is only one of the facets by the way; we are not talking here about  air and noise pollution, or planet warming, or economics which includes the cost of parking once your at your destination: we are only talking about getting lots and lots of people from point A to point B - Z and, of course, back again.

On December 30 2009 I wrote about the opening of a metro station in Ipanema.  I used a similar map as the one above to illustrate the scan0001Rio Metro system.  If you glance at that map and then look at the one above, you can already see the great strides being made to enlarge the system.    Last month there was news of funding for many of the necessary projects had been approved and only last week information was given about the expansion of the Metro into Ipanema and Leblon.  (see map to the left)   There has been a lot of arguments against putting the metro through our area.  I find it …. astounding… frustrating… mind boggling that anyone living in this area would feel that we shouldn’t have Metro stops. 

From early Monday morning until late on Friday evening there is grinding noise and confusion from all the cars and busses that must drive down our streets to get to the next barrio.  They are saying that the new Metro line to Gavea and on to the Barra will carry 300,000 people PER DAY.  How can we not build this next leg of the subway.  

I know that the primary objection is not the environmental impact of the system underground – 30 meters underground – but the subway stations themselves creating the objections. The stations in older parts of town, in Flamengo and Centro, for example, are dirty, have beggars and illegal kiosks that sell all sorts of junk (some not junk but mostly just junk), there is dirt and garbage on the streets and odors that we won't talk about and I understand no one in our area wants this mess. The stations underground are spotless, the bathrooms I don’t know cause I’ve not used them, they are well guarded and at least the General Osorio station is quite modern – so I say let's not let the blight above ground to take over our stations.

Last weekend Camillo and I used the Metro system to get down to (one of) the historic area in Centro (central or downtown). The trains ran every 5 minutes even though it was a Saturday. The trip down took about 15 minutes once we had gotten to the station. (add 15 minutes for the 8 blocks from our apartment to General Osorio station)  Camillo rides for free as do all seniors and students with the proper ID card.  My ticket one way was R$3.20 – coming back it was the same price but I also rode the ‘Surperfice’ metro bus the goes by our apartment.  A taxi would be over R$30.00 each direction and even if there were no closed streets or traffic jambs the trip would be close to 45 minutes each way.  So for us the metro is great and the expanded one will increase our ability to get were we want to go with the littlest cost and time.

a few shots to show you underground.

DSC09086   SAM_0911    SAM_0914   SAM_0921         SAM_0064  SAM_1088      SAM_0922  

See the Pink sign – this car is exclusively for Woman – Monday through Friday – 6 am – 9 am and again in the evening.  Not sure I see the reason but then I don’t ride the subway to work everyday dressed in my finery.

And the last 3 photos the Carioca Station in Centro

SAM_0926   SAM_0927    SAM_0928


  1. Ah GingerV so sorry you feel the frustration of all that work and no visitors and I understand your explanation. I too sometimes feel that. I look at my blog as my journal and as I said before I have it printed out every 6 months in book form for my kids and grands to have down the road. This was a wonderful post, the kinds I like, as I am an eternal student. Always looking to learn. I love where you live and love hearing about it. Blessings to you and Mr. C.

  2. Hey GingerV!! I think this is a great post! I am an urban planner and one of the things I do is studies to determine where new rail lines should go. :)

    Your photos are really good! Your explanation is really professionally written. Thanks!

    1. Me again. Lol! I just read your post on my blog. I think there are two different kinds of memes. There are ones that are pretty easy to participate in, and they get a lot of people. Like feature and follow Friday. There are others that are more work and they get fewer participants. Like this meme, Weekend Cooking, Trifectawritingchallenge. And Wondrous Words Wednesday. I personally like the harder ones better. I meet cooler people and get fewer, but better comments. :)

  3. I am glad to hear your write primarily for yourself even if you do slap yourself upside the head -- not too hard, I hope. For me, I love your posts no matter how long (and this one wasn't that long!) -- and the photos underground -- what color, what a maze! Of course, Bagman loves the stairs with the advertising models painted on them!

  4. Ginger, I know what you mean about the frustration of writing and not getting feedback. When I first started my blog, I did a lot of writing and then I read a book called, Blogging with Bliss and that's when I started putting pictures in. Basically, most people have the attention span as a gnat, so aren't interested in reading what others have to say if it looks like too much writing. It's their loss and unfortunately, I have gotten lazy when it comes to writing, and yet, writing is something I have always loved.
    I personally love reading your posts because I always learn something about you and about the country you live in. I don't think it's boring at all. Keep writing for yourself and eventually, you will get good quality readers who appreciate your blog for what it is. I should take my own advice. LOL

  5. I'm glad you didn't give up on writing this blog, It's well written with great photos and very informative. If anyone wants just photos they can go to Flickr, blogs like yours are that a blog, with your thoughts and knowledge coming out in them.
    I know that this site is like a village and although not being here very long feel as if I'm getting to know the neighbours. As well as learning about places I will never be able to visit but having a private tour guide.
    Keep going please, it all matters to us.

  6. Carioca Station has few people. Let me go and remove the shootout link, I just told Mark, I had no idea how it got there.

  7. Sorry, I can't do it. I am no good in technical things. I posted a comment on Shootout, asking if anyone could help.

    Yesterday, I was showing to my own special ESOL students to use the Google Search Machine, instead, in school, it had gone to BING, and I had no idea how to go from Bing to the normal google. So I had to eat humble pie, and ask the main stream students. The two boy went, click, click click, and they did it for me.

    My book is about my personal journey. I mention it in my book blog.

  8. One of the things you have to remember is that some people visit but, for whatever reason, don't comment. Do please don't despiar and, at the end of thre day, keeping a blog to satisfy your own desore to write / keep a record is as good a reason as any.

  9. I suspect most of us recognize that frustration from time to time. I know some of my best posts weren't inspired by or linked to any weekly meme and thereby also not read by a lot of people. But as Scriptor says, comments don't give the whole picture of how many read the post - or will happen to land on it in the future, one way or another.

    Big cities make me tired... I haven't even been to our capital Stockholm in nearly 20 years - which is the only city in Sweden which has a subway. (Our second largest city Gothenburg has trams.) I really prefer the size of town where it's possible to walk through the city centre! ;)

  10. The underground photos are amazing! Everything looks so modern and well kept. You did a great job of taking shots from different angles. Thanks for sharing :)

  11. I found this very interesting, Ginger, and remember my son's terror of the roads when he first arrived in your country. It was year before he got the nerve to drive a car around. It's hard to imagine there is resistance to the metro expansion when the roads are such chaos. Great shots.
    As for the lack of comments, etc I tell myself no-one else can hear the beat of my drum and my blog is for me and mine, if others don't get the beat, that's fine.

  12. Our underground train stations glass wall to prevent passengers from falling in the tracks. The elevated train station used to have the open concept, until a few fatal accidents which caused train stoppage for a few hours, the authorities then decided to put up a glass barrier between passenger and the tracks.