Letter to the Editor, by Bill Albert

We came back to Canada last week from a terrific vacation that ended up in Rio from a cruise that took us to four of your beautiful cities. From childhood we had heard of the many cities and towns of Brasil, of the sun, of the blue Atlantic waters, of Carnival, of the Statue of Christ the Redeemer.

It was a once in a lifetime trip and we enjoyed it thoroughly with a few eye opening exceptions:

1) As the cruise ship was arriving in Rio the view was inspiring as we saw the statue from so far away but as we got closer, the garbage started to appear around the ship and it got worse as we neared. When we entered the Bay to reach our berth near the bridge, the water was actually brown, not the aqua blue we were anticipating. It was not the first impression we anticipated.

2) We walked the two main beaches of Cococabana and Ipanema and unfortunately could not bring ourselves to jump into the Atlantic because of the pollution there, even though it was 36 degrees. the local population didn’t seem to mind it though but then again they are used to this.

3) We took several cabs from streets near the ship (not at the gate) the yellow cabs were clean and the drivers very clean and friendly and super helpful but not one spoke a word of English or French… we did eventually communicate with our limited mix of Spanish, French and English but for a city that will host two world major sports events in the next four years… this needs to be examined.

4) The airport was a head scratcher for sure..When us North Americans are used to mega centers like Montreal, Toronto, Atlanta, etc., we expect the airport to be able to handle basic services. Wow, this airport is not ready for the world… the departure level has two small kiosks for food and beverage. Anyone who is waiting for a flight for more than a couple of hours would be willing to spend money on many things. This is an opportunity lost.

for a city of many many millions of people, this is the smallest airport I have ever seen. Montreal’s Trudeau Airport serves a population of less than three million and is at least four times the size and has countless  numbers of coffee shops, restaurants and magazines stores.

But all is not bad, the people are so genuine and friendly and we felt very safe walking the streets of Rio and all the other cities we visited. Now we never roamed at night time which could have been different, but that is the same in Toronto, Atlanta, and any other major city..

We have many great memories to take away from our trip and will spread the good (and bad) words about our experience to our friends and family but will always be happy to have experienced the once in a lifetime thrill of visiting Brazil.


  1. Bill Albert, You are Lucky !, but I guess you never saw the dangers around you. The taxi drivers in Rio, São Paulo and other cities do not and will not learn english. How would they learn? who would pay for their classes? No one.!!!

    I have been in and out of Rio and Brazil for 15 years and it only gets worse with the crime. Do you know how many homicides there in Brazil every year? 50,000, yes, fifty Thousand.

    Enjoy your cottage life and good health to you.

    Ambassador at Large


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