Finally! Rio de Janiero!!! Samba, Girls from Ipanema, Copacabana Beach, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer and the Maracana Stadium…wow amazing! Adding to this we arrived a couple of days before the Olympics began, so a festival atmosphere as well and it was not even carnival time!
Samba, Girls from Ipanema, Copacabana Beach, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer and the Maracana Stadium…wow amazing! Adding to this, we arrived a couple of days before the Olympics began, so a festival atmosphere as well and it was not even carnival time!
We had scored on a cheap flight from down south and arrived at Santos Dumont Aiport and decided to use the public transport system to get to our hostel downtown in Copacabana Beach area. The VLT tram system, specifically designed for the Olympics connects the airport with the metro system, easily located across the road from the airport, where, we were somewhat surprised to discover that this new VLT tram system has no English menu on the auto machines. Now that is one minor challenge which is easy for us to figure out with our basic Portuguese lingo, but the staff located there, and there were plenty of them, could not speak English. Now, this all with about 500,000 American’s descending on Rio in a matter of days. Maybe the six years of Olympics planning skipped the opportunity for locals to learn English that they can use on Americans.
Getting to the nitty gritty of the story, Sharki3 left her iPhone in the hostel toilets for a matter of minutes while we were checking in and returning moments later to the toilet, with only cleaning ladies around and a CCTV camera operating, we were shocked to find that no one had seen the phone and it had vanished, it was actually stolen. Our pals Ben and Krysta from USA turned up so we could spend the day together only for us to have to focus on reporting this crime. Getting the police out for such a trivial crime is a mission and the first guy was not interested, but there is a tourist police office that we contacted and we were given a backseat ride in a local police car to the tourist police office.
Off we set, red lights flashing and sirens sounding as the police drove at breakneck speed across Rio with us getting a free ride and sightsee of Rio, not exactly how we had imagined it would be, nevertheless, it was exciting darting through the traffic and seeing the lagoon and sights sat in the back of a police car.
Police report lodged some one hour later, it was really sad to see the amount of tourists entering the station in obvious distress and trauma from robberies they had experienced on the beach, in broad daylight. A beautiful city with many challenges and a den of attractions for the bad people.
Definitely a beautiful city with many challenges and attractions for the bad people as well as good people.
Just to test our levels of patience and resilience a little further, we were out walking with friends along the sea front later that day, when a cyclist came up behind me and, at speed grabbed hold of my valuables purse. I managed to react quickly enough, knocking his arm while he sped away like Usain Bolt. You could say that I was naive for taking my cards and passport out with me, but our experience at the hostel earlier in the day had influenced me enough just for the one night in Rio. Hoping that someone like this gets chased down by an Olympic athlete!
When in Rio during the Olympics, be on your guard, sleep with one eye open, leave your valuables in a vault or a security deposit box in the national bank and don’t answer your phone if it rings in public.