Eight quick impressions after a couple of days in Brazil:
1. The stop signs here are very helpful, as they give you advice on how to best peel an apple, “PARE.” However, they are often ignored.
2. As in so many foreign countries, it seems like nearly everyone speaks or at least dabbles in 2-3 languages. I have learned “Obrigado” (Thank you) and “Bom Dia” (good morning) so far, and after that my Portuguese is exhausted.
3. We have been repeatedly advised not to drink the water because of the likelihood of sickness. However, the likelihood of me going without coffee for three weeks is zero. So I’m taking my chances.
4. You couldn’t ask for better weather – it feels like the North Carolina mountains in summertime. It is actually wintertime in Rio, which means that the lows are in the 60s and the highs in the 80s. I have been wearing a jacket about half the time.
5. The downside of it being wintertime in Brazil? The sun sets incredibly early. Sunset in Rio was 5:33 p.m. Friday.
6. I managed to knock all the power out in my hotel room the first time I plugged my supposedly “safe” current adaptor into the wall. Fortunately I didn’t blow up my computer while doing so.
7. I have yet to see a single mosquito.
8. On Thursday night, I walked with three other Olympic journalists to a nearby Brazilian mall in search of something to eat.
We had one person with us who spoke fluent Portugese, and we twice asked him to go up to Brazilians and ask them where we should go to find some authentic Rio food in a mall that had at least a dozen places to eat.
Both Brazilians gave my friend the same reply: “Outback Steakhouse!”
And no, we didn’t go there – yet.