The first thing that hits you about Rio de Janeiro is the explosion of color, like Monet or Picasso painting the city onto the hills in their spare time. Nestled between mountains reaching for the sky, the ocean and never ending beach, Rio is home to some of the most vibrant and nicest people in the world.
After leaving the plane, I was greeted with a nice explosion of heat, the plane was freezing, and the heat was a beautiful welcome present. You would think the plane people could figure out a middle temperature so the transition would not be so shattering.
Customs and Immigration was easy, using the big red arrows on the floor I found hit all of the stops on the game board. I lugged my bag off the carousel, only looking a little silly and stumbling a few paces, before being met at the exit by Sylvia, the Student Affairs Coordinator at IES, and three other students whose planes had arrived.
We took a large cab together to our host houses about a 45 minute journey through industrial Zona Norto, Centro, some mountains and the port. I was dropped off first at my casa in Flamengo, situated between the Governor’s Place and the beach.
I live in a house, with a very cobblestone driveway, and on the second floor, with a spiral staircase to get up to my room. Getting my massive suitcase up the stairs was a small struggle, but I figured it out. After unpacking a little, aka throwing everything on my bed and on the desk, I had lunch with my host mom Margarita. Then we went on a small tour of the Flamengo. She pointed out all of the important places, the hundreds of bus stops, juice bars, the subway stop-Largo de Machdo, and the paria or beach of Flamengo. Although the water is too dirty to swim in the view is still enchanting, it’s a great place to run, play volleyball or soak up some sun.
After Skypeing my best friend, and catching up on gossip, I ate dinner with Margarita and went on a night tour of the basic layout of Rio. We drove around, checking out Flamengo, Copacabana, Ipanema, Logoa and Jardium de Botanico quickly. At night everything especially the streets looks very different then during the daytime, so it is easy to get lost. Like any new area it takes a while to adjust both to the daylight and to the nightlights. The city is a sea of cascading lights, with Corcovado looking down from his mountain bathed in purple light.
More Blogs From This Author
<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi, my name is Claire Anderson and I am a senior majoring in Journalism and International Relations at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. I spend most of my time writing for the school paper, pressuring my friends into adventures, laughing a little too loudly, spontaneous dance parties, making random conversation and playing soccer. I have been outside of the country several times, including to Manus, Brazil, but this will be the first time I will be away from the safety and insanity of my friends and comfort zone of NYC for an extended period of time, but I am so excited for the adventure and ready to jump in with both feet forward.</span></p>