(os bueiros vão nos engolir)
When we arrived in Rio almost a year ago, we were given a ton and a half of great advice. So much life saving bits and pieces, we, being only human, could only remember some of it.
Anyhow, this time last year parts of Rio state had been subject to flooding that devastated towns and cost many people their lives. When we arrived in Brazil, the race to provide relief to these communities was on, and collection points around our new home from home were filled with spare clothes and toiletries, as well as tinned food for the hundreds that had become charity cases overnight.
Back in the city, the flash floods, although not an issue threatening entire villages, were taking people by surprise. And in the worst cases, the floodwater would lift the manhole covers and leave hidden holes underneath the surface of the water.
These holes occasionally swallowed poor unfortunate individuals who were either trying out their Gene Kelly moves, or simply wading through the water to cross the road.
Wind forward a few months and the frightening number of dodgy manhole covers pushed the powers that be to inspect them all (approximately a gazillion of them) and give them a percentage rating as to how unsafe they were. In august, wooden boards started appearing around loads of former manhole covers, pending repairs leading to their being decreed a suitably small percentage unsafe.
And that was it. Until last week, when an underground gas explosion in Centro caused 3 manhole covers to blow off. One wrote off a parked car and another injured a woman. The ensuing investigation has once again resulted in wooden hoardings being erected around loads of manhole covers in Copacabana, Centro, Tijuca and Botafogo, I assume to assess their potential for withstanding underground gas explosions.
Watch this space, and in the meantime, I wouldn't worry too much about walking on the cracks in the pavement, but I would definitely stay well away from the bloody manholes.
Oh, here's a decidedly more accurate warning than my anecdotal rambling: Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro identifica mais um bueiro com alto risco de explosão.