Carioca of life

What a rollercoaster of feelings these past few days has been! Sun and beaches are a tremendously beautiful view, but there is always another side of the life as well. Today we went to the Olympic Stadium, our working place for the next fortnight. The bus ride went through another kind of city area, something that gave me personally a great deal to think about. Sometimes it is scary how easily you get used to things and how they appear. The other day on our ride to the Opening Ceremony the roads and bridges were literally filled with army equipment and soldiers guarding the road. It seemed a little bit exaggerated but then Latin America has never been a very stable part of the world, has it? What frightens me more is how used to the guns you get. Even if it doesn’t belong at all in my life, now it seems like natural here.

We had a wonderful day off – the only day off actually. Rio de Janeiro was shown to us from a very touristic view, with all the obligatory tourist traps you can imagine. But they were really tremendously beautiful and worth seeing. Our tour guide Marcos made my day by singing the Ipanema song, which made me giggle like a 4-year old. Well, I’ve always loved musical men 🙂. We went of course to the enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer just to find it there, surrounded by what seemed millions of other tourists. There it is, huge and massive. Surely a miracle. It took us four minutes with a train to reach the top. I was quite amazed to find and lift and an escalator there as well. But then technique is always a surprise.  

Until we come to the next attraction. I have never liked gondolas. No exception now. I can’t imagine what went to my mind, when I agreed to visit the Pao de Acucar, sugar hill that has nothing but sugar in it. Two gondolas, yes, to my greatest fear those glassy, swinging chrysalises that are hanging on a string. What unbelievable means of transport isn’t that! While the small bitch in me had already risen during the bus ride, I had no choice, but bite the bullet and just close my eyes for the worst part of it. Boy, am I proud of my ride! And I did it FOUR times! – simply because I had to. Once you are up there, there is only one way down. Or two. But I didn’t want to jump.


Later on we had a gorgeous meal at Carretao Churrascaria.

Just the place to eat, meat, till you drop - and just fall asleep. We didn’t however fall asleep right away. What kept us awake was the beautiful beach of Ipanema, the great foggy sunset with velvety warmth – the kiss of Rio de Janeiro. I just had to dip my feet into the sand and water. There it was, the great shades of a city full of life.

That’s what I kept on thinking on my way to the Olympic Stadium this morning. The graffiti on every wall within your sight, with one exception. The cemetery wall was clean, perhaps somebody had just painted it, or then the Redeemer could have some effect on these gangs and people. Even in the favelas.

A couple of our team members got lost one night to a favela. They actually told it was the most unpleasant happening they had so far here in Rio. The scenery today, the backyards and junk, and still signs of life and living, makes you wonder how lucky you are. The favelas have a very sad history. According to Wikipedia Favela is a slum in Brazil within urban areas. The first favelas appeared in the late 19th century and were built by soldiers who had nowhere to live. The name favela originates from a skin-irritating tree in the spurge family, which was growing on the hills. What a nomen ist omen! Just imagine to live in an area where there no police dare to enter and the disciplinary tasks are taken care by the local “forces”.

Every city and town has its backyard. It doesn’t mean that the people there are unhappy. Ipanema and Copacabana is there and yet so different for someone else. I really do want to keep in mind the lucky me. Because I have seen things I don’t want to see. I have seen kids doing things I don’t want to see. I have heard about things I wouldn’t want to hear. I need to remember that I have a safe and secure surrounding back home, with values and respect of what’s right and what’s wrong. My next Challenge # five is just to stay happy. Lucky me.