A short blog about Rio...
I don't have a lot of time this morning, as I'm going to go meet up with a new friend (Shari Breen, for those in the astro circle) and take in some of the sights. Or maybe just walk the beach, we haven't decided and neither have any portuguese.
The first thing you notice about Brazil is the smell. A lot of the cars don't seem to have any muffler, or maybe there's something about the fuel they use, but the road is full of smoke and even in the rain (for I've not seen the sun since circling over the airport) does not do much to help. It's not so bad here in Copacabana, I suspect the sea breezes do much to help with that.
The second thing you notice are the Favelas, which I'd heard about but not quite understood until that moment when I saw just how poor those people really are. I'm told that as part of the Olympic bid the authorities are going to try and fix things up, but I'm not sure I trust them not to bulldoze the homes of millions of people in terrible poverty. A number of youth hostels are having a combined party tonight to raise money to redevelop one of the favelas, I might go (if not I'll send a donation with one of the girls who works here). It seems a small drop in a bucket of "this can never be fixed", but who knows, maybe it can. We have to hope.
The third thing I noticed was that Brazilian drivers are even more scary than Sydney Taxis, and that they do the same thing with regards to ignoring lanes. I'm reasonably certain that this craziness is the reason why most of the streets are one way. In an hour of exploring on foot, however, I nearly died only once, so I'm counting that as a good thing.
Anyway, that'll do for now. I'm here, I'm having an okay time, and once I adapt to the climate and the timezone I'm sure it will be even better. I do miss you all.