Avenida Passas, Centro, Rio de Janeiro
It’s time for the Carioca shake. Or rather mix. This story is purely my experience of Rio, solely and with nothing to hide. When reading it you realize that I have seen very selected areas of this city – alas, this country. But then I’ve
had no other choice, while working. There has been very little time to walk around anywhere else but the every-tourist-must-places. And as always you might have a completely other experience and point of view. But then – I did warn you!
know what Carioca means. Previously I thought it was a dance. Little do I know! A Carioca is a person who is born and living in Rio. Interesting that certain areas have their own adjective according to the place the people live ine. Rio is definitely different
from finnish cities. It's like fire and water. Finland is the still water or sometimes the violent storm, but Rio is just fire! In color, sound and character. Great!
For instance last night, or morning, at two o’clock someone was playing a trumpet
on the street. In Finland that person would have been taken to asylum sooner or later. Here it is regarded as pretty normal. The colors are everywhere, on the streets and in the people. Hopefully in homes too, although definitely not in our hotel room. The
shops are full of colors even to the point of a migraine attack. Green and yellow is everywhere. Regarding colors, did you know that Brazilian flag has different meanings in the Wikipedia, depending on the language you read. The finnish version says the green
color is a symbol of Amazonian forest and the yellow part the richness of the nature. The English version is more royal, referring that the green color was the color of the first Emperor of Brazil while the gold was his wife's family color, the Habsburgian
gold. This example convinces me more and more that English is a royal language. I think the finnish version is more acceptable for me. By the way the blue globe shows the stars, whose position in the flag reflect the sky over Rio de Janeiro on November 15, 1889, when Brazil was declared as a republic. So now you know this. Great!
The nature here is obviously quite different from my country, you can bet that.
If the winter temperature can be as high as +38°C that is already a huge difference for me. What really beats me are the plants here that seem to blossom and thrive whereas in my home I would pretty soon have to replace the same ones with plastic ones.
That’s not just fair.
I’m gonna continue with this comparing. It’s what I know best. The noises - they are just phenomenal. I do understand this is a huge city and there is nothing you can relate to Helsinki with half a million inhabitants
in sound vise. But I do actually think that not even London can ever have a sound like this city. There are great trumpeters all over the world, but here they can blow their horn anywhere at anytime. Half of the population is surely deaf, as the sound in the
stadium when Bolt entered it last night was colossal. We could hear the massive sound in to the truck just as if there would have been a hailstorm on a tin roof. My respect rises for the tv-crew in the stadium. They get twelve points from me! Great crew!
As I haven’t seen, only heard, about the cockroaches probably appearing in our hotel, the wildlife I’ve seen is very limited. There was a cat at the Maracana compound and a few in the city. I’ve seen no wild dogs and very few dogs in the
leash. What I have seen are rats – or I call them mice, because that sounds neat. I am referring to a certain ever-running mouse in the traffic in the evenings by the Candelaria Church. It could be the same mouse, but I’m afraid though that he
uses a lookalike sometimes. Still, I give him ten points for the performance. Very impressive!
There were a few monkeys at the Pao de Acucar hiding in the trees, the Marmosets running on the electric cables and looking at us. I do wonder how clever
they think we are because they tend to ‘drop’ something on us staring tourists every now and then. I know – a staring tourist can be a pain in the ass. Good to get rid of it.
Our compound has some special birds entertaining us too.
They have a very sharp voice but I can’t get annoyed because they sound so vibrant. We need those coloratura sounds to brighten our day. And as long as they are not pigeons or seagulls, anything goes. Last night the birds must have had a feast, since
a swarm of flying ants decided to find all our lampposts and lights on the compound. The ants looked for nice and cozy places to land on in hoping to continue life after, but believe me, the best place is not the blouse or bras. No ten points to that!
I got some extra points ‘make-yourself-memorable-in-one-way-or-another-competition* a few nights ago. We’ve had a few issues with people landing to the compound, more or less deliberately. The security is supposed to be on high alert,
especially when Bolt is in the stadium. But let’s face it; it is not what it looks. So the other night when I saw someone standing in the truck behind me and shooting pictures with his mobile phone, I addressed him firmly and asked for his credentials.
He had none. He did mention he was from the technical provider company and his accent quite clearly revealed his origin, but then there is no excuse for anyone coming into the truck in the middle of a session, unless he or she is authorized to do it. Especially
not when Bolt is running, as it happened. The person had no accreditation, no day pass or anything else but his mobile phone. My inner police just appeared and I told him it was forbidden what he was doing. He stayed a short whilre and went out quietly quite
after. My ten points are well earned, as I later heard from our Venue Manager that this guy was the owner of most of the trucks we have on the compound. Actually I would earn twenty points – rules are rules. Right?
At this point I think it’s
best to talk about food. My favorite subject. The catering is great, right from the first day. There has been beef, beef and beef. Sometimes prawns, chicken and pork. I need to particulary mention a delicious melon soup. You can find the recipe on this site.
Yet, four weeks of catering food is a challenge to anyone, let alone to people from all over the world. I am not complaining. Not at all. I just say that sometimes comes the moment when you would do anything for a pea soup. Or black sausage. Or haggish.
I haven't eaten much in the restaurants, but they say the food is good. For me the biggest challenge has been to order the food. A cheeseplate is simply a plate with diced cheese. A meal of french fries, is simply chips with ketchup on demand. Our breakfast
in the hotel is though admirable. The fruits and the compound cheesecakes are surely something I will miss back home. Imagine the pineapple being so ripe that you can actually eat all of it, apart from the skin! It is sweet and juicy. Our hotel breakfast is
right with fresh fruits – still no vegetables – that really tastes like fruit. That is so great!
It has been interesting to taste the Kuat – a drink made of Guarana. The name of this fruit has its origin from a Guarani-tribe
and if you are bold enough you can read about the myth, how it was originated (see link down below). For us the use is obvious as a dietary supplement. Guarana is an effective stimulant: its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found
in coffee seeds.
What comes next? I just have to tell you about the toilet paper. And why the rainforest is diminishing. I do believe it’s partly because of the toilet paper here. You can try to blame us workers for taking too many photocopies,
but I bet the Brazilian toilet paper has a part in the disaster too. Or let’s say what’s considered as a local toilet paper. It is so thin that even if you grab it a few miles every time you need it, you have to wash your hands very, very thoroughly.
You also have to be a basket player and a spy to find where to dispose the bunch. The bins are always in a different place and shape. Luckily the hotel bathroom is, as we say, normal.
I would like to tell you morea about the people and their
habits, but there’s no space and time for that now. Let’s leave something to the next time. We are transmitting our last Athletes session tonight in the evening. Tomorrow most of the crew will fly back home, except for us - the bunch of twenty
heroes who will stay for the Closing Ceremony. Our flight back home will start on Monday morning at 4 o’clock, quite after the ceremony has ended at Maracana. I bet the journey back home will surely be another story. Let’s say, someone has done
his best to make it memorable. Schedule wise. So my next Challenge #ten will definitely be patience and optimism. We will need it.