Ryan Lochte twitter hashtag is going insane. It’s hard not to see why. The Olympic gold medalist has been indicted for lying to the police. Things like this don’t happen every day. Even at these Olympics.
And then Lochte memes were born. Washington Post has some nice samples.
Rio is not an awfully safe city. Not by any stretch of imagination. And Rio Police are known for corruption. We know that. Everybody knows that, and Cariocas, Rio dwellers, know that better than anyone.
This is why the actions of this stupid attention-seeking manchild are so infuriating to them and all of us who love Brazil. You don’t have to make this shit up, it’s already there! Brazilians know that, and when they are working as hard as they have been lately to make a bad situation better and safer for everyone, getting kicked in the face with this pile of garbage must’ve been upsetting.
What’s even more upsetting is that Ryan Lochte didn’t have to do that. He wasn’t facing any charges, he wasn’t fighting for his life. He wasn’t going to jail for breaking (allegedly) a bathroom door at a gas station and peeing (allegedly) all over the place. He didn’t have to spew this stupid, insulting, badly cooked lie about how he stood up to a corrupt or fake Rio cops with a gun pressed to his forehead, while his pussy friends were lying down on their stomachs.
Which turned out to be a lie from the first word to the last.
I’ll bet it was at that very moment when Rio cops looked at each other and started getting curious. Who is this gringo superhero, they thought, who didn’t even flinch at the sight of a gun? And the moment they began pressing for details, that moment his whole bullshit story started falling apart.
Is Rio Really THAT dangerous?
Hell, no! Give me a f^&%ing break!
I’ve been to Rio and Brazil over a dozen times. I have walked in side streets of Copacabana at night on many occasions, but let me tell you right away, this was stupid and something you shouldn’t do. Seriously, there are cabs, there is Uber, and the rides cost peanuts, so at night just use them even for short distances.
Yet, I have never been mugged or attacked in Rio or elsewhere in Brazil. If it was really as bad as some people perceive it is, it would’ve happened already. The worst thing that’s ever happened to me was bird-shit mafia. This is when a little kid sprays a gooey substance on your shoes, and an older “gentleman” suddenly appears out of nowhere with a kind offer to clean it up. This has happened to me twice, and ironically on the same day. No I will never pay these scumbags on principle, and yes, it’s annoying getting that shit off your shoes, but you’ll live.
And you can’t help but admire the skills. You will never see these kids coming or going. They are that good!
Back to Ryan Lochte Rio Olympic Shenanigans
In the meantime, our tough guy was clever enough to flee the country before all hell broke loose. Unlucky for him and everyone else involved, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut, so he went to NBC and repeated the same bullshit story, but … You know how it is — not being the sharpest tool in the shed, he couldn’t keep it straight and mixed up quite a few details fueling outrage even further. Understandable, a night of binge drinking and debauchery can do that to a person. Especially a person who doesn’t think ahead.
Unfortunately, his buddies who weren’t as quick as our action hero, are still in Brazil, including James Feigen, who is not a happy camper, and Washington Post tells us why.
Brazilian police have indicted two U.S. Olympic swimmers on charges of falsely reporting a crime, specifically the “armed robbery” at a gas station that has blown up into an international incident.
Police had said earlier in the day that they thought Ryan Lochte and James Feigen made up the account of being robbed rather than admit they had vandalized a gas-station bathroom and been made to pay for the damage.
Two other swimmers, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were pulled out of the U.S. flight and also briefly detained or arrested depending on whose reporting you read, before being released. They will remain in Brazil during the investigation.
Back to Rio Safety
Many Rio “experts” will tell you to blend in while in Rio. Well, it’s a good tip when it has a chance of working, but my skin knows only two colors, white and red (red as in ouch!). It’s like I’m a walking epitome of tourist. Nevertheless, I too have a “system” in Rio: don’t dress down, dress cheap. Cheap wrinkled shorts, a cheap t-shirt, no obvious expensive cameras, embargo on any kind of jewelry (not that I wear any in real life). In the evening, carry a cheap spare cellphone and as little cash as possible, but at least keep 100 reais in your pocket. If you do get mugged, simply give them this equivalent of $30 and walk away to live another day. Give him something and don’t be
a hero stupid! He’s just risked his life to mug you — you don’t want to make him mad.
Back to Ryan Lochte Rio Olympic Shenanigans
Just kidding! Enough of him, already.
Should You Go to Rio
Look, political and economic turmoils don’t improve crime statistics. Bad times create more desperados. Have things gotten worse than they used to be? It’s possible that I just don’t know. My last stay in Rio was in April, and I didn’t feel it being any more dangerous than before. Avenida Atlantica and side-street cafes were full of people as always until late.
Having said that, just a single bad episode can ruin your vacation. Be aware of your surrounding, don’t get drunk, don’t carry a lot of money, don’t make yourself into a target by wearing jewelry, take cabs or Uber everywhere, and you will most likely be fine. Come to Rio and see if you fall in love. You will or you won’t, and either way is fine. No pressure!
You can counter that there are plenty of places in the world where you don’t have to be that careful, and it’s true. There are, however, not too many places that have views like these, and only seeing these sights up close and personal does them real justice.
I loved your post and your travel attitude and tips.
One question i have is why so many visits there? Do you have friends or family there? If so, that helps a lot when travelling in a risky place…
No, no friends or family. I must say that all these visits have been over a long period of time, 17 years, if I’m not mistaken. And it’s not like I’ve always stayed in Rio, just used it as a base to explore other parts of Brazil. But I do try to stay in Rio every time, at least for 3-4 days. It’s hard to explain why I love it so much to keep coming back. Just feels like my kind of place.
Awesome. I have a desire to go but, like you, would really stand out. Also, I hate travelling to places where I need to be on guard all the time. I think this would rule out Brazil, unless I am on a tour. 🙁
I love your ideas of dressing poor and carrying some not-so-minor amount of cash on you (for the potential muggers). I tend to do this anyways, and always. 😉
I would strongly encourage you to reconsider! Ruling out such an amazing country as Brazil due to some perceived dangers is a hell of sacrifice for a traveler. And I’m not on guard all the time in Rio, just late at night. Daytime strong arm robberies are quite rare in Zona Sul from what I know.
If you’re still concerned, just skip Rio, SP and perhaps a couple of other large cities. It’s not like everywhere in Brazil is dangerous.
I felt very uncomfortable in Rio, to the point I will never go there again. Everybody was watching me. All the time. And to be honest, it’s a dump. During my stay there were a couple of murders which were mentioned in the news. Apparently only because the victims were related to some big fish officials. I think Rio is over-rated and yes, very dangerous. Corruption everywhere. They supposed to build 10 water-cleaning stations before the olympics, they built ONE. So the water sports participant are risking their health. The green pool was of course “safe” until some guys got… Read more »