Vacationing in Rio? Read Before You Plan It Out

This spring, while planning my trip to Rio as another one of my globe-hopping adventures, something very strange happened. I had to stop telling people I was headed to Rio. Because this time, the reactions they solicited were way too different. I was questioned, advised and even warned by friends, family and acquaintances alike. Even those people who have always supported my hop-on-the-plane, go-wherever-you-like-nature, told me to be very careful and play it safe in Brazil. Some of the responses I got from people were like:

  • Don’t even think about taking jewelry, leave every valuable at home.
  • You certainly aren’t going alone, are you?
  • Have you arranged for a driver?
  • Azumi has the best sushi in Rio, but don’t even think about going there without a male!
  • Change money at the airport only, nowhere else!

And so many other similar responses! Of course, I read the headlines and I do know about dangers of vacationing in Brazil given that the public is quite agitated regarding the “cleanup” the Brazilian government has done for the World Cup and the Olympics as well.

So what did I do before heading out to Rio?

The responses didn’t really put me off, but I was forced to play it safe, taking advice from a few contacts based in Rio before the trip, one of which included an established journalist there. Well, she also agreed to what I was being told back home so I thought it was okay to be careful just this once.

So I did leave my jewelry at home. Although I saw boutiques dripping with diamonds and precious jewels in Rio, I did notice nobody wore them on the streets. I, also, kept my clothing very Carioca (locals in Rio) type too.

When I met a friend there, I asked her about her perspective on being in Brazil. She did say that they all played it safe and were careful at all time. “Why take chances?” was all she had to add.

I carried only one credit card during my time out and only as much cash as I needed for that entire day. No ATM. I took the subways, walked mostly, though after dark what I did was an aggressive jog rather than walk. Azumi was a must try but I had to stay vigilant walking to the dicey Centro district, but luckily no one hassled me.

I didn’t do only one thing and that was checking out a gallery. Why? Because two local girls told me I could not walk there absolutely. Even if it was only a five minutes walk too.

Well, all in all, I spend some great time in Rio, but the danger was definitely there so I had to play it quite safe. I did miss out on a few things and lonely excursions I take while I am on a trip, but playing safer than usual was something I did on purpose in Rio. The crime or any other such fear didn’t really prevent me from enjoying that stupendous positive energy that Brazil is so famous for.

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