I never would have guessed the first Latin American country my Spanish major would lead me to visit was one of the few non-Hispanic countries in the region. However, I found myself boarding a plan to Brazil in August 2016 to experience the Summer Olympics at the end of a 14 month nanny job. Traveling with a 2 year old and 2 month old can be a bit chaotic, even with as experienced travelers as the Burroughs babies. Our connecting flight from Texas to Rio started the trip with some chaos, multiple passengers assigned to the same seat, bad weather, and sitting in the plane for 6 hours before taking off. There were athletes from multiple countries on the plane with us to get me in the mood for the next week. Arriving in Rio and making it to the Airbnb was such a relief. We stayed in a gated community in a large house, as at one point we had 13 adults and the 2 babies all staying in the house together. I loved seeing the bright buildings each painted a different color.
We spent our days experiencing certain activities specific to the Olympics (which will be shared in a different post) and seeing the beautiful scenery of Rio. I have always had a deep love for the ocean, and there is little that can make me happier than to be surrounded by sandy beaches, palm trees, and the sounds of the ocean. One day was spent touring some of the most popular sights. Visiting a city for the Olympics offers its own special experiences, but makes other things more difficult. The crowds are larger, prices will be higher, and it can be difficult to find places to eat. However this just means I need to return to Rio again for a more authentic experience.
We spent a day as tourist, ascending Sugarloaf Mountain and Mount Corcovado to see Christ the Redeemer by cable car, cog train, and escalator. While waiting at the base to catch the train car up to see Christ the Redeemer, I caught a photo of some toucans sitting in a tree. Another photographer had pointed them out to me. We didn’t speak the same language, and it was on of those really cool moments you get to experience while traveling on how people can bond through different mediums. We bonded over photography and our cameras’ ability or non-ability to catch a quality image of the toucans.