So the rest of the first day in Rio consisted of getting our credentials and everything that comes with it, touring the Copacabana beach at night and having a nice dinner at an authentic Brazilian steakhouse.
And when I said “everything” that came with the credentials, I really meant everything.
Because we are technically volunteers with Rio2016.com, we have to wear uniforms like the other volunteers. So after securing our credentials, we went into another building to get sized up for a jacket, three polos, a couple of khaki pants, shoes, a hat, and socks among many other items. Looks like I’ll be needing another bag to get back to Arlington.
We then got to walk a little bit along the Copacabana beach at night. With the winds whipping all day, the surf was up and the air was a bit crisp, but it was actually quick peaceful given the hectic 24 hours we had just gone through.
Finally, we capped off the day with a great dinner at the Fogo de Chão Botafogo, a very nice Brazilian steakhouse on the bay. Great staff and great food made it a great way to end our first day in Rio. Many thanks to J-School director R.B. Brenner for treating us to such an amazing meal.
Now, yesterday I promised some of my initial thoughts on Rio and here they are.
- Rio de Janeiro is an interesting city. Yes, I realize that interesting has both and good and negative connotation and yes I did that on purpose. It’s very easy to see both sides of the Brazilian city. On the one hand, you see the gorgeous mountains, the beautiful beaches, the nice Olympic stadiums and the people out and about; however, when driving to said places, it’s easy to see the negative parts — the favela’s, the homeless, the pollution in some of the water around here (I’ve only see a couple of bays with that though. The ocean looks fine.).
- The police and military presence is noticeable and a bit startling. For all of the concerns about security, Rio and Brazil are doing their part to at least use show of force to calm those concerns. Truck-loads of military personnel are stationed every so often along the main thoroughfares in the city and the police have done roughly the same elsewhere in the popular areas in town. As someone who has never been to a place where this is common, it’s quite the wake up call to what is going on. It definitely reminds you that it is a dangerous place. but at least they’ve got people handling it.
- Rio is very far from a perfect city, but I’m getting the feeling that it won’t be quite the complete disaster some are predicting it will be. There will be problems — that’s always pretty much a guarantee — and some of those problems might be big ones. But I think with the resources committed to these Games, it won’t be a complete and utter disaster. The competitions will be good, the ceremonies will be extravagant and, for the most part, I think things will run as fine as you can for an event of this size.
Today will be a bit more relaxed. We’ll tour the media center, the Olympic Park and Village and dole out story assignments for our time at the Games.