Arrival

“You walk off the plane in Rio, and your blood temperature goes up. The feel of the wind on your face, the water on your skin, the taste of the food, the music, the sexuality; Brazilians are very comfortable in their sexuality.” -Amy Irving

Amy Irving and I it seems had distinctly different experiences upon arrival. The things she said (all of which we’ll explore a little later) I have in fact found to be true about Rio but I didn’t find them at the airport or on the way home. Maybe it’s because we arrived at different times. I touched down in Rio in August, which is winter in the southern hemisphere. It was to be honest, a little chilly. Where GIG is located is not really in one of the more scenic, postcard familiar parts of Rio and because it is winter it was all a little grayish. To get to where we were going we had to cross the President Costa e Silva Bridge, better known as the Rio-Niteroi Bridge. If you’ve seen the 2011 movie, Fast Five, the big chase scene towards the end goes across and ends on the bridge.

This is a picture I took later when we rode the barca from centro to Niteroi at sunset.-

Here’s what it looked like from the bridge-

One thing I noticed other than all the water was the numerous cranes. Cranes, cranes everywhere and shipping containers. There were boats of all sizes on the Guanabara Bay moving their various freights, ferrying people and fishing. But the thing I was really stroke by that day, was not being stroke. Riding in the taxi was until that day like no other experience I had had in my life. Since then though, I have taken on a sort of “it’s like an amusement ride” mentality about the transportation in and around Rio. Yes, it’s a very very dangerous amusement ride at times, sometimes on bumpy, holey not up to par roads where you could die and many do but the fearless maybe better described as recklessness and shockingly different societal view of the value of human life is a little catchy. It seems to me like Cariocas have a certain sixth sense about when to go and when to stop and how close they can get before stopping. Let me to you though as an American, to me that’s really really really close. Pedestrians (and there are many many pedestrians) seem to walk by their own rules as well. Crosswalks are optional it seems and running is often a most because red lights for cars also seem to be at best optional in most places. Often the cars and buses don’t stop. The motorcycles almost never seem to stop. In some places in Rio road signs advise you that crossing will most likely result in death. If weaving through the other cars, buses, bikes (both motor and pedal) and people on sometimes poor roads with huge lombadas (speed bumps), odd turn around spots, multiple lanes with various speeds and ins and outs, monster traffic jams and delays because of storms or accidents… there are also stray animals everywhere crossing at will as well. Oba! See what I mean about a dangerous amusement park ride. It’s really fascinating though.
Before you get the wrong idea or start to think Amy Irving and might have arrived in different places, I should say I do love it here. It is like this to me so far in ways-

I’ll explain more about that soon…

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