Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Today I was the galloping photographer in Rio. The only way I could get to the sites I needed to video was to take a car, so I hired one. The driver was Local and charged me R$200 which works out to about $100. I also tipped him R$20, which was another 10, and I bought lunch.
But this driver, a Copacabana native named Andre Gadelha, knew how to get everywhere. He knew what roads to take, how to navigate Rio’s unbelievable traffic, and he also schlepped my gear, which was an added plus because that stuff is heavy. We first went to Sugarloaf Mountain, a huge granite cone in the middle of the harbor.
The price as $R35, about $18, and that pays for the trip up and back. It was mostly clear this morning, though there was a little smoke hanging over the city. The wind was picking up and I noticed some clouds forming over the mountains. I would become more intimately acquainted with those clouds later one. The cable car ride was smooth and easy, but the wind did make it swing a little.
There was a delay – with one group hanging in midair – I am assuming it was because of the weather. In the winter in Rio, the winds can howl and the rains come from the center of South America. It’s not cold – I’d guess it was in the 70s – but it sure does knock you around on top of a mountain.
From Sugar Loaf we went to Maracana Stadium, which we couldn’t get into because it is the site of the opening ceremonies. I could have gotten in with my credential, but I could not have taken the camera in because my agency did not buy the rights. But I did get some useful video there.
From Maracana we went to the site of Carnaval, which is basically a huge party with lots of nearly naked people. It’s Rio’s version of Mardi Gras, and they have some of the costumes at the Museum of Carnaval.
From the Museum we went to lunch at another Churrascaria called the Palace and they kept brining the food. After lunch we went to the Christo Redemptor statue in Corcovado. We drove up the cobble stone streets then had to take a van to the top. When we got there, the clouds literally shrouded the statue. That’s a risk in winter in Rio – it gets cloudy and it rains.
But I was there to video that statue, so we stood there in the clouds waiting for a break. Thank God it came. The clouds parted a couple of times just long enough for me to get some video and photos. Then the statue was Christo Obscura.
There was this one guy praying at the base of the statue. He looked like what we in the States would call a homeless person, and he was kneeling at the base of the statue the whole time we were there.
He made me think of the Gadarene demoniac in Mark – my guide Andre even looked at him and then whispered “crazy, huh?” But this guy was on his knees in the clouds, in the cold, praying. I felt like walking up to him and saying “He has heard your cry, be at peace.” I didn’t, because I wasn’t sure of the impression and because I do not speak Portuguese.
I wonder about impulses like that sometimes. Is that God prompting me to act? It certainly is in keeping with God’s character to deliver someone, to restore their minds, to answer their prayers. But I didn’t do it. I kept on video taping and then Andre took me back to my hotel.