From The Associated Press:
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Right after getting off the plane, sweat beads will start to gather on your forehead. That’s just Rio de Janeiro’s ever-present humidity saying “hello.”
You will be enveloped by shades of green – lush tropical forests jammed between buildings of all sizes – and tones of blue along miles of inviting coastlines.
Towering over the 2016 Summer Olympics host city is the Christ the Redeemer statue. After a few days, you might chuckle when a hotel brochure or tour guide tries to sell you something by saying it “includes” a view of the statue.
Jesus is everywhere here, as is plenty of temptation and sin.
In Brazil, prostitution is legal, though that doesn’t mean that you will see women and men hawking their bodies all over the city. Walking around, you are more likely to come upon churches, especially of growing evangelical denominations like Pentecostals.
Up in the hills, you can see small dwellings that look like stone huts jammed one after the other, in red and green and pink and orange. The slums of Rio, known as favelas, are the most colorful places in the city, culturally vibrant and filled with interesting people. They are also the city’s poorest areas, often controlled by drug-traffickers and plagued by violence.
Across Rio, you might hear gunfire. It could be drug dealers battling it out for turf, or military police conducting an operation. Firefights mostly happen in favelas, but sometimes spill out into the “zona sul,” or southern part of the city, home to more well-heeled Brazilians and where tourists flock.
You will be tempted to capture all the vibrancy on your smartphone. But take a good look around before …