A Canadian in Rio
A couple weeks have passed since I arrived home jetlagged after a 17-hour trip, but still on a high from my experience in Rio. It has always been a place on my bucket list, as well as seeing a Summer Games, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go. That was until we were fed constant negative fear mongering stories from the media about safety and water contamination and zika. Images of surfers in sewage hit every social media platform… Anyone I told I was going to Rio looked at me like I was crazy! And yes, Rio may not be the safest city to explore, and if it wasn’t the Olympics we may have reconsidered. What I found there was completely the opposite. Volunteers, police and military where everywhere. Events ran smoothly. Food was delicious. And no mosquitoes (the media forgot to mention that it’s winter in Brazil).
Our 10 days was a whirlwind. We watched exciting events like the women’s and men’s 100m final (watched Bolt’s “three-peat”), women’s beach volleyball finals, and to top it all off the men’s gold medal soccer match. It is always amazing to see athletes at that kind of caliber. The stands were full of passionate, excited and loyal fans, and the party vibe was totally contagious. On our quieter days (‘quieter’ is a relative term in Rio) we biked along Copacabana, drank from fresh coconuts, and soaked up sun on the crowded but stunning Ipanema beach. Outside of the games you could feel the Carioca’s love for life. The people of Rio know they live somewhere special and unique, and with all the challenges and poverty many of them face, they are happy and beautiful people. I was reminded about the power of positivity, the way one’s attitude and passion can be infectious. Thank you Brazil for an experience of a lifetime.