Beautiful (I just want you to know…)
So here’s something you may not know. I’ve wanted to travel to Brazil ever since 2003, when I first saw Snoop Dogg and Pharrell party it up in their music video for “Beautiful.” So it was pretty cool that 10 years later, I finally made it! If you’re familiar with the video, you wouldn’t be surprised that one of the sights on my must-see Rio de Janeiro list was the famous Lapa steps, otherwise known as the Escadaria Selaron. (And if you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here: Snoop Dogg Featuring Pharrell – Beautiful.)
It was the last day of my trip (sad face) and I still hadn’t seen these steps! So I just hopped on the subway and headed to Lapa. I always enjoy a little “alone time” on trips, so it was actually nice to have the opportunity to wander around at my leisure.
Another meltingly hot day, but I wanted to make the most of it. The steps were easy enough to find; basically a few blocks from the cobblestone street to Santa Teresa we had taken the night before. It’s funny how things can look completely different in the light of day!
And here they are; check out these beauts! The story of how the steps came to be is equally as incredible. In 1990, a Chilean immigrant, Jorge Selaron, set out to repair the run-down steps outside of his home. Being an artist, he decided to use scavenged tile, in the colors of the Brazilian flag, to cover the steps. At first, the neighbors thought this was pretty weird (I mean, imagine if one day, out of the blue, your neighbors decided to decorate their sidewalks with tile!). But soon, his art gathered public interest. Selaron began selling his paintings in order to pay for more tiles, though later, he received tile donations from all over the world. All in all, there are said to be over 2000 tiles covering the 125 steps. Of these, 300 or so feature his hand-paintings of a pregnant woman, a consistent theme of Selaron’s work. Mysteriously, he never explained the meaning behind it, saying only that it was a “personal problem from my past.” Sadly, the artist was found dead last January, on the very steps that he created, adding another layer of intrigue to his life story. But his world-famous steps live on, and remain a popular attraction.
Of course I couldn’t leave without getting a shot with my BFFs Pharrell and Snoop. Just like the old days, holla!
After walking around Lapa for a bit, I headed back to Copcacabana. We packed up all of our things, and Ryan, Gemma, our friend Kyle, and I enjoyed a few cervejas at an outdoor cafe before heading our separate ways. It was a truly amazing trip!