Today started with a morning run from the Pousada to the commercial center, about 15 minutes away through the beachy neighborhood. To my surprise -- and delight -- Francesco Siniscalchi and Mike Sprattt were waiting for me at 5:45 a.m. sharp for our little trek through the tiny fishing village.
Morning seminar convened promptly at 6:45 a.m. with a team presentation by Paul Harris, Chelsea Johnson, and Tyler Kasuba, who gave their report on the International Olympic Committee in the company of two interested Olympic volunteers from France (who I believe unwittingly sat at "our" table). But what better opportunity for international engagement in action!
As can be seen from the above photos, our morning seminar is alfresco and adjacent to the indoor dining room to the right and the swimming pool on the left.
Careful observers will note that our group has taken ownership of the common area during seminar hour (there's even a sign to prove it). More importantly, however, parents of delegation members will be impressed by the rapt attention paid by students at seminar, as exemplified here by Francesco Sinicalchi and Emily Painter.
Dr. Dan Covell keeps the students on their toes by his de rigueur questioning of the presenters.
After seminar, the group headed to central Rio to check out the beach scenes of LeBlon, Ipanema, and Copacabana, before arriving at the base station for the gondola rides -- two of them -- up to Sugarloaf Mountain.
While waiting for our gondola, the students played a game with a local vendor that involved passing a beanbag with a shuttlecock to others, with the object of keeping it aloft without catching or trapping the bag. Here, Paul St. Pierre demonstrates the proper form and technique of this game called peteca.
In his exuberance, Kevin McLaughlin overpassed his peteca, which landed on the roof of a tourist motor coach. He did manage, however, to communicate the situation to the bus driver, who popped the sunroof and retrieved the beanbag for him. This was no easy feat, considering the driver did not speak English and Kevin does not speak Portuguese (as far as I am aware, anyway).
While nary a mosquito has been spotted since our arrival, Erika has been leading the way in lathering up on repellent prior to setting out for the day (Exhibit 2).
Identity cards on lanyards are the coin of the realm at the Olympics and other big-time events, and not to be outdone, the WNE delegation has its own custom-made "accreditations."
Following are a few photos from atop Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Showing the flag at the first of two cable-car stops, with Sugar Loaf in the background.
Jeremy leaves his mark on the Signature/Message Board -- #TeamWNE2016 -- Go USA!
Kevin with Augusto Ferreira Ramos, architect of the cable-car system that was built in 1908 to ferry passengers to the 1,300-foot monolith in Guanabara Bay.
Kevin befriends a fellow Olympic tourist during the gondola ride down the mountain.
Dean Kleine with Christopher Leite de Castro, who was the chief engineer for the cable-transport system.
Students cramming into one of the first cars used in the cable system.
Who does selfies when you have a delegation photographer?
Trying to look cool even when packed liked sardines in the gondola!
Rodrigo sporting his favorite cap!
Ryan and Jeremy demonstrate the proper flag-folding protocol.
After our visit to Sugar Loaf Mountain, we learned that the authorities closed Corcovado Mountain, apparently because the torch relay was making its way up to the Christ-the-Redeemer Statue. So we went to Plan B, which consisted of a city tour and lunch of traditional Brazilian fare.
WNE delegation with Brazilian guide Rodrigo and his daughter, Micaela.
Checking out the Rio Opera House.
Escadaria Selaron is a famous section of the city that consists of 215 steps covered in colorful ceramic tiles, drawing tourists from all over the world. The project was the contribution of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selaron, as a tribute to the people of Brazil.
Several students checked out the local crafts for sale.
Jeremy tries out the pose that he would use if he won an Olympic gold medal.
Some of the crew with Golden Bear.
Kylie almost disappears amid the color splash of the Escadaria Selaron Steps.