24 hours, four countries and two continents later, and I have finally arrived in Brazil!
As one of the most recognizable images of Brazil, Christ the Redeemer was the first place to visit, and the view was even more breathtaking than imaginable.
While everyone stated that it was going to be dangerous, many of the locals were friendly and welcoming. There are street vendors everywhere, walking up and down the street offering up water and other goods to deal with the heat and humidity. On the journey up to the top of the mountain, there were men peddling water on the side of the trains for riders to indulge in.
Once at the top of the mountain, I was able to look down on Rio de Janeiro and see the entire city. It was extremely windy, but the clouds just highlighted Brazil's beauty.
However, the gap between the haves and have nots is vast. Seeing people laying on the street while tourists are consuming innumerous numbers of the delicious caipirinhas, which are delicious by the way, is disheartening. There is the splendor of Rio but the outer limits show the Olympic grandeur doesn't reach everywhere.
Sugarloaf Mountain was an experience in the fog. Urca mountain is the stepping stone to Sugarloaf and creates a beautiful backdrop for the city.
Once atop Sugarloaf Mountain, which overlooks all of Rio, the fog overtook the city and made it look a bit like a horror movie. Watching the cable cars travel up and down the mountain was mesmerizing because they would appear from nowhere and also disappear into nothing. It was as if Rio was underneath a cloak of invisibility.
After the fog cleared, there was suddenly a surge that cut all the power off in the city. Stuck on top of the mountain, it was nice to reflect and take a minute to take in all the ships in the (bacteria-infected) bay.
The tourist spots were all filled with friendly people from all over the world, but it will be interesting to see what the environment is like once the Summer Games begin and everyone is competing against one another.