Welcome to Rio!


Flight was fine, didn’t sleep but can’t really complain. I was quite looking forward to walking through the arrivals area of the airport trying to find the person holding a piece of paper with my name on it, I imagined pretending to be someone of importance being collected by a suited gentleman driving a limousine. In reality, I was met by a man who I could only possibly begin to describe by comparing his appearance to the somewhat bulbous manager character out of Borat. Nevertheless, the man and his daughter were to provide me with my first Brazilian experiences. Though driving through the city in the dark, I learnt a few things very quickly, The people of Rio don’t wear seat belts, drive very quickly and prefer the sound of their car horn to their car stereo.
After arriving at what would be my home for the next month or so, I was quickly given a guided tour whilst meeting the other volunteers.
‘Orientation’ was booked in for the following morning, and the program organisers met us after breakfast and took us through the rules, regulations, dos and don’ts, tips and tricks, and shared their experiences living in Rio.
The stuff like the near inevitability of being pick pocketed or mugged, the language difficulties I’d encounter and the attitude of the local police were all things I had a good idea about before I came, but there were a few things which I found quite amusing. The street kids are deceptively cute, operate in packs and take advantage of tourists’ vulnerability in all the main areas like Copacabana. The plentiful and popular existence of ‘Love Houses’ made me laugh, for those who meet that special someone on a night out.
We were then taken on a bit of a tour around Central Rio, my identity as a Gringo (foreigner) was firmly cemented by his point, I felt like a circus animal but wearing houses and a hat.
Me and a few others left for Brazilian Portuguese lessons at our coordinator Vivian’s place. The two hours was the hardest i’d concentrated in a long time, but I enjoyed it a lot and despite being the beginner of the class it’ll definitely help improve my experience here. However, there were times where I revisited those horrible feelings of embarrassment, panic, fear and stupidity that we all experienced in school when the teacher picked on you for something you just didn’t have the answer to. Things can only get better!
Loving my time here so far, and today is my first shift on the project, so excited!


2 thoughts on “Welcome to Rio!

  1. Anwar-Matthew Sutherland says:

    Loving the blog already mate The “getting mugged by cute kids in a pack” cracked me up ha ha!!! Hope your travels go smooth and you enjoy and appreciate the experience of being in a totally new environment, oh and do make sure you let us all know if you do visit the “love shacks” ha ha – Matt (From uni, on my own as everyone has left…)

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