Destination Rio de Janeiro, the second travel to the former capital of Brazil.
From Estação Hidroviára, ferry boats depart to the city of Niterói and a number of islands in Guanabara Bay.
Day 2, 10.45
Before I entered the alley of Arco de Teles, I first made a walk along the quay that flanks Praça XV. Estação Hidroviária is located there: the ferry boat station, with ferries that connect the city of Rio with neighboring Niterói and a number of small islands in Guanabara Bay. Rio and Niterói are connected with each other through a very long bridge, but the shortest and least time-consuming route is by ferry. The ferry station appears to be built in an historic architectural style, as an example of the eclectic style. If I may believe the data on the plaque, the building was constructed in 1907, a little more than a century ago. The facade was painted in pale yellow and pale pink. The obvious mixture of architectural styles caught my attention. The roof is decorated with a cupola. At one side, the facade is decorated with a richly ornamented sculpture. There was a large clock in the middle. At all sides, the building shows a variety of architectural styles, styles that were not too familiar to me.
For a moment, I stood there at the quay, and peered to the other side of the Guanabara Bay. The water appeared very calm; only tiny waves rolled to the shoreline. You do not need to be afraid be become seasick with these waves, and the distance between Rio and Niterói is only a few kilometers. At the other side of the Bay, I observed a naval vessel, with three large cylinders. A modern radar was installed on each of these cylinders. The vessel was anchored at another quay. There was a large building painted in pale green and pale yellow, and a small church next to it. Flanking palm trees provided me the idea that we are in the tropics. At the first sight, Niterói is far from flat, I observed some large hills over there.
I quickly took some pictures of the hazy hills of Niterói, at the other size of Guanabara Bay. I then returned to Praça XV de Novembro. I entered Arco do Teles, and entered the colonial past of Rio. Rio de Janeiro in the 17th and 18th century, how should have it looked like? My imagination started with a handful European – mainly Portuguese – colonists, with or without their families, who had endured a sea voyage for weeks, in order to restart their lives, but in fact had a hard life in Brazil. They were fortunate enough not to do the dirty and heavy works; slaves were forced to do that inhumane work. And, in the early years of colonization, indians were captured for slavery. In that time, there was the generalized vision that heathens were not different from beasts, and that you may treat them as beasts, use them as slaves.
I continue with my imagination. About the colonists with their European or black slave wives, and their children whore were born from mixed-race relations: mulattoes. The start of the Brazilian melting pot. Since there was not an active racial segregation – in contrast to the USA and South Africa, for instance – , the races are able to live peacefully next to each other and consider each other – more or less – as equals. Former FIFA president once stated: ” I am proud that there is no racism in my country”. A statement that is not entirely true.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (29). Estação Hidroviária (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- A Foreigner in Brazil (35): DEC 2006, part one. Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (30). Arco do Teles (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (37). Imaging The Panels in Caixa Cultural (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (39). Sunset At Ipanema Beach (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)