I'm back in Ann Arbor after a long if uneventful journey.
Its quite a contrast from Rio.
Rio de Janeiro was as I have always found it: beautiful, bustling and chaotic. For most of my time there it was raining and though the brooding skies were threatening at times, they turned out to be more bark than bite.
Rio is famous for its beaches, dramatic scenery and crime.
I've never felt threatened.
Its easy to be lulled into a sense of security.
You look at everything through 1st world eyes and for the most part the familiarity breeds a measure of complacency.
"All this talk of violent crime is overdone"
The last thought of someone about to be handed his head.
People who live in Rio live do so understanding that violent crime can happen anytime and pretty much anywhere.
Its arbitrary nature is the most frightening.
Cars are robbed at gunpoint on the highway to the airport in traffic jams.
The State Presidential Palace is attacked with AK47s.
Muggings occur in Leblon ( the city's richest residential area).
The intercontinental lobby is invaded by machine gun toting drug dealers.
I'm not saying its anything like Jo'berg where the sense of menace can be oppressive. Restaurants don't sit in compounds behind walls and electrified fences.
People live behind gates and security, but there isn't fear in walking the streets.
I'm not saying "be afraid".
I'm just saying be vigilant.
I confess I've been careless in Rio and NOTHING happened to me.
I should know better and listen to people who live there.
With that cheerful note, I bid you adieu.
I'm in Michigan until Sunday then its off to Dallas for 2 days.
Stay well everyone.
All the pictures on this post are courtesy of Lucia Falcao.