My time here in Brazil is quickly wrapping up, so I figured that I needed to squeeze in one last adventure.
As I had no responsibilities scheduled for the afternoon, I decided today would be the day I would go to Corcovado and see for myself the statue that represents Brazil to the rest of the world, Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), along with what is considered on of the most glorious views of Rio.
There was, however, one complication…
Yeah… It was foggy. And raining. And really windy…
At the ticket office, the teller told me that the view was going to be very poor and that I should consider coming back later. “The weather is supposed to be bad all weekend, but Monday will be beautiful!” Whelp…
I figured since I had already made the trek from Rio by bus and taxi to get there that I would at least see what I could. I took the adorable red train up the side of the morro, through the forest of Tijuca, and was able to get a quick view of the city from above. There were a couple of Egyptians who were sitting behind me on the way up who were lamenting the fact that the weather was so poor but they had no other day to reschedule since, like me, they would soon be leaving the country.
It became colder at the higher altitude and just as we got off the train the wind decided to pick up, blasting cold rain in every which direction. Determined to at least get some semblance of a picture, I bravely hiked the steps to the Cristo with my poor, little umbrella that only managed to keep me less wet than if I had not had it. The one perk about the weather though was that there was barely anyone around.
The view that was supposed to be so glorious was engulfed in white; it was like being in a cloud.
It was quite a feat trying to get a picture of Cristo without getting myself and my camera soaked, even harder to get one with me in it. I ended up settling with this as an acceptable portrait, fitting for the weather:
During my rather pathetic attempts of taking a selfie, I encountered a fellow American named Josh who volunteered to assist me in my efforts. We ended up chatting in the rain for a bit, talking about California (he’s from LA), and about Brazil’s lack of individuals with English skills (if you’d like to read more about my opinion on that subject, please read the other blog I write for: http://insoucianceabroad.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/lost-in-lack-of-communication/).
A few men walked past by us and Josh ran after them when he recognized one as being a sports newscaster on ESPN. He asked the gentleman, who had an Australian sounding accent, if he minded saying a little blurb for a friend as encouragement for her country in the next World Cup. The guy happily obliged and later was walking around the statue filming himself and his buddies, who were all part of the ESPN crew.
Soon after, Josh and I decided that we had enough of being soaked by the wind and rain and walked back down to the vans, where he met his friends, and I went on to the train station. While waiting for the train down, I met two other Americans – Brian from Texas and Brandon from Arkansas – who also had come to see the statue. Surprisingly, they were not here for the Cup, but just decided to have an impromptu vacation. We chatted on the train heading back about things to do in Rio and Niteroi as they had only been here a week and were leaving in a few days, but wanted to find something cool to do. Hopefully the weather of the weekend won’t dampen all their plans.
So, my first encounter with the Cristo statue was not perfect but I have to admit that even in just being able to see the shadow of the statue, I felt an awe for what it represented. The statue was placed overlooking Rio de Janeiro in 1931 as a representation of Brazilian Christianity and has since become an icon for the city and Brazil ever since. I also love the symbolism of Christ watching over the people, reinforced by the fact that the statue can be seen from most any part of the city, and with the weather I encountered I was reminded of the verse that says, “He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45b, NLT). Definitely a powerful object lesson.
My adventure, although soggy, proved not to have been in vain. I met some cool people, got to ride the cute red train, and catch of glimpse of the statue. I even managed to get an obligatory open-armed photo, thanks to Josh.
All this means is that I’ll have to come back some day to catch a day with better weather, a day when I can see his face. But you know what’s really cool? Regardless of whether or not I could see the face of the statue, I knew it was there. Just like the real Christ – in times of sunshine and times of the storm, He’s there with His arms open wide, watching over me. Praise God, what a glorious lesson to experience.