An Australian tourist has lived to tell the tale of how he drunkenly asked a taxi driver to take him to the most dangerous slum in Rio de Janeiro, before spending the next day hanging out with armed gangsters.
Druing a two-month stint travelling around Central and South America, Hugo Cary, 34, from Perth, headed for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
After spending some time sightseeing in the main tourist hubs, Mr Cary wanted to go off the beaten track and explore the underbelly of the Brazillian capital.
His adventure started at around 3.30 in the morning after downing ‘a few beers’.
Mr Cary hopped into an Uber and showed the driver a note he had a local woman write for him in Portugese – which simply read ‘the most dangerous favela in Rio’.
Druing a two-month stint travelling around Central and South America, Hugo Cary, 34, headed for the notoriously dangerous city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil
After having ‘a few beers’ at around 3.30am, Mr Cary hopped into an Uber and showed the driver a note written in Portugese, asking to go to ‘the most dangerous favela in Rio’
A favela is a crime-ridden slum, or ‘shanty town’, in Rio de Janeiro which is home to 1.5 million people from low income households.
Favelas lay on the outskirts of the city, and have long been dominated by gangs who traffic illegal drugs.
Tourists who have been brave enough to visit favelas have been known to have machine guns pulled on them, although some companies offer small tours.
Mr Cary admitted going to the favelas was ‘stupid,’ but said he wanted to experience a different side to the city.
A favela is a crime-ridden ‘shanty town’ or ‘slum’ in Rio de Janeiro which is home to 1.5 million people, from low income households
As well as a note in Portuguese telling the Uber driver where to go, Mr Cary also had a note saying he wasn’t visiting the favela to cause any harm, and would go if he wasn’t welcome.
Mr Cary’s driver refused to take him into the depths of the dangerous slum, but dropped him off half a kilometre away so he could walk the rest of the journey.
It was 5am by the time Mr Cary arrived, and a lot of the residents were starting their days and heading to work.
He said he begun to notice a few people giving him strange looks.
‘Then, after about five minutes, I got picked up by three scouts armed with machine guns. They were smart, and not trying to be aggressive towards me. They wanted to know what I was doing … they thought I was a cop,’ he said.
Mr Cary then realised he left the letter explaining his purpose in the Uber, but was able to use Google Translate to communicate with the armed criminals, who had surrounded him, thinking he was wearing a disguise.
Mr Cary used Google Translate to communicate with the armed criminals guarding the favela -who were suspicious of him at first
‘These scouts weren’t the leaders. As I was talking to them, their walkie talkies kept interrupting and I could hear gunshots going off [in the distance]. There were eyes everywhere … I think they were just confused why I was there.’
After convincing the guards he didn’t mean any trouble they understood he wasn’t a threat and let him in.
‘At 9am they said I could go, but I didn’t want to,’ he said. ‘They had a conversation in Portuguese, we walked a further 30 minutes into the depths of the hills and into a house. ‘That’s when I met their leader.’
After initially being surprised by Mr Cary’s visit, the leader then welcomed him in where he says the spent the day drinking and exploring further.
After initially being surprised by Mr Cary’s visit, the leader then welcomed him in where he says the spent the day drinking and exploring further