Let this journal be proof that I haven´t disappeared.

Rio de Janeiro is certainly the most environmentally blessed city I have ever seen. Lush green jungle covered hills falling dramatically into the bright blue sea, pausing briefly to make room for a perfect cookie dough sand beach. Unfortunately it´s strengths as a landscape create weaknesses as a city. It´s impossible to navigate on foot and nearly impossible otherwise as well. The mountains and inlets create such a high demand for space that almost every colonial era building was demolished at some point to make room for hideous highrises. There´s a feeling of craziness bubbling under the surface that is summed up perfectly in the T-Shirt of an old lady on the street: ¨God Save Rio.¨ And the famous Art Deco Christ the Redeemer is always up there on the mountain trying his best.

But don´t get the idea that I didn´t like it. Rio is everything it ought to be, beautiful and stifling. We swam in Ipanema and Copacabana. We took the death defying cable car up to the summit of Sugar Loaf. We stood under the Jesus statue and looked down on the intricate coastline. And of course, we survived Carnival.

The Samba Parade lit up the Sambodromo at around 9pm and was still kicking at 5am when we packed it in. According to our own professional dancer, Pan Dudek, no actual samba took place but the music was infectious, the costumes and floats were dramatic and the energy was amazing. I found the themes to be indecipherable (what exactly do a giant baby and ET have in common?) but maybe they made sense to the judges.

Rio, wow. I´m wiping a bead of sweat from my brow just thinking about it.

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