Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Holidays in hell

I've gone to some pretty crappy places on vacation in the past. I think we all have. What I don't get is why someone would intentionally visit a place like this:
A Rio de Janeiro tour company could be in trouble for giving tourists too intimate a view of life in the city's notorious slums, including photo opportunities with drug gang leaders.

The Brazilian city's tourism chief said on Monday that the company, Private Tours, could be stripped of its license after a report in Sunday's Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper that it had set up meetings between traffickers and tourists.

The paper sent a reporter disguised as a foreign tourist on the 4-hour, $55 tour of Rocinha, the city's largest slum, that included visits to the "bocas de fumo" where traffickers sell drugs to Rio residents.

It said the traffickers told the tourists stories about their time in prison, described the life of a Rio drug dealer, and would then pose for pictures with their guns -- as long as their faces were not photographed.

Rio tourism chief Rubem Medina said the firm could lose its license if the story was accurate.

"It's not necessary to do this kind of tour in Rio; there are a lot of wonderful attractions," he told Reuters.
Well, while I don't really get the appeal of a tour like that, there's obviously a demand for it, and if they're safe, I don't see why the tour companies shouldn't be allowed to continue offering them.

As for me, if I wanted to take a tour like that, parts of Los Angeles are right there! Actually, back in high school, Andy had a couple of exchange students from Japan, and the first place they said they wanted to visit was...Compton. We took them to an amusement park, instead.

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