Finding an apartment is hard

June 30, 2009

Today had good news and bad news.  I’m starting with the bad and putting the good in the next post.  Looking for an apartment in Rio is hard.  It’s not like at home where brokers clamor for you to come see their listings, where they get a sense of what you want and then show you everything that might be even sort of close.  In Rio, you see two apartments at a time.  Yesterday a wealthy woman’s driver came in her SUV to pick us up to drive us to a teeny tiny apartment that wasn’t going to work.  Today I met a German man from the Black Forest area who moved to Rio in January and swears he’s never going back.  He lives in the morro (really the favela, he says, but they don’t like to use that word anymore, so it’s just the hills) in a nice house with a backyard.

“Is it dangerous?” I ask him, as we drive from a tiny bright white studio in Leblon to a crappy disheveled apartment in an office tower in Ipanema.

“Eh, not really.  Sometimes I hear the machine guns, but they’re really only interested in the cops, they don’t care about people like me.”

“Really?” I say wide-eyed.

“Yeah.  You know, I felt more unsafe in Miami.  There, you had no idea who was carrying a gun, at least here it’s in your face.”

Hmmm.  That has not at all been my experience (parents: it feels totally safe!)

So the quest continues to find a place to live.

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