From frigid Antarctica to sweltering Rio de Janeiro. I arrived at 2am and was immediately dragged to a favella party. Within an hour of arriving in Brazil I had a caipirinha in hand and was staring at an illuminated Cristo Redentor. Quite a beginning to the last leg of my journey.
I slept in a bit and, being the adrenaline junkie that I am, headed straight to go hang gliding over São Conrado (hang gliding Rio was a bucket list activity for me). Within minutes of getting to the top of the mountain we were to fly from, I was all geared-up. The instructor and I attached ourselves to the hang-glider and were ready to go. Without hesitation, I ran and jumped off the mountain, instantly feeling the wind catch our wings. We were flying, soaring high above the beaches, mountains, houses, and people. It was surreal and reminded me just how much I love being in the air – seeing the world from a different perspective. My instructor had been flying for over 30 years, so I felt safe and secure and, naturally, we chatted as we watched the coast of Rio de Janeiro unfold beneath us. The view was spectacular, as I saw Sugarloaf Mountain straight ahead and, in the distance, Christ the Redeemer! There was something so special about seeing such an iconic symbol while flying through the air. Before I knew it, 25 minutes had passed and it was time to land on the beach. After a smooth descent, my instructor bought me coconut water (out of a real coconut!) and I chatted with some new friends. Hang gliding Rio was definitely the perfect way to kick off my time in Brazil! We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach, trying not to melt since it was about 114 degrees and humid.