Subject: Safety in Rio
Hello Ziners:

I saw a few postings last week about the safety in Rio Di Janeiro and worry that the fears of travel there can keep one from really enjoying the city. We have made two trips there in the last 3 years and I can't wait to return.

When we first traveled to Rio, we too had read all the warnings about the crime and violence there. As a result, we paid a little extra for our accommodations and stayed at the Sheraton which had a private beach and was completely encircled by fences. Our friend who was traveling with us stayed in Ipanema at a very nice, cheap hotel right in the middle of all the activity. By the second day, she had us out walking the streets and mixing with the people of Rio. Soon we were part of the street culture having the traditional evening beer with all the regulars.

We spent New Year's Eve in a restaurant that opened out onto the beach and wandered in and out to the beach all night enjoying the crowds and participating in the midnight rituals. After all, isn't that the reason one goes to Rio?

On our second trip, an American on our flight who lives in Rio commented that the Americans on the streets looked poorer than the locals. And this is true for we left all our best jewelry and watches and clothes back home. We never went out with what we couldn't spare to give up. It was a great feeling of freedom.

Peter in San Francisco