March, 2011 – Rio de Janiero, Brazil

“RIO” Premiere

Christ the Redeemer is one the new Seven Wonders of the World so it was a must stop for me once I landed in Rio de Janeiro.  It was a foggy, rainy day but I still made the trek to the top with a few fellow junketeers.

Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city but what surprised me the most was just how difficult it was to communicate with people. Portuguese is the main language spoken and it’s hard to find someone that speaks English. And the ones that do just want to please you and will say “yes” to whatever you ask for. So not only in the language barrier insane, but culturally it’s so different than Europe, or anywhere else abroad I’ve spent time.

World Premiere & Beach Interviews for RIO

The 3D animated film stars Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. Supporting voices were Jamie Foxx,, & Carlos Saldana with music by Taio and all the music supervised by the illustrious Sergio Mendes.

It was a Blu Carpet for the title character and to add to the already colorful backdrop of Rio de Janeiro.  After party was a lot of fun with a private concert, food and Brazilian drinks.

The next day we did stand-ups at two locations…the helio pad that provided the most amazing scenic views.  It overlooked the entire city and you could see the Christ the Redeemer statue in the air too.

We then went to Forte de Copacabana which is the fort that over looks Copacabana beach.  More stand-ups, intros and just enough time to take in the view with waffles covered in chocolate!

In the afternoon all the celebrity interviews were set up on Copacabana Beach. The weather was perfect…warm and tropical, slightly overcast with just a hint of humidity.  All the talent seemed to be in good spirits.

And I couldn’t be on my first trip south of the Equator and put my toes in the ocean! So a few of us took to the beach for an impromptu photo shoot and silly time splashing around in the Atlantic.


We cleaned up and hit the town for the night…20th Century FOX set up a fantastic dinner at Rio Scenarium. It’s a multiple story night club, that is also a restaurant and bar and apparently at city favorite.  It was eccentric with old buggys, mannequins, umbrellas, chandeliers, you name there were multiple on the walls and ceilings.  We had traditional Brazilian drummers and dancers that seemed straight out of Carnavale! Everyone got in the action…some a little more than others!

Hang Gliding in Rio

Rio de Janeiro is known for Copacabana Beach, Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf and of course Hang gliding!  I visited all those locations but then I was willing to take a leap of faith…literally and soar over this beautiful Brazilian city. Placing my trust, and life, in the hands of my guide Marcello…

1500 ft in the air off the mountains that overlook Impenada Beach. I get my guide and he assures me the scariest part of the whole experience will be the drive to the takeoff point.  No joke…I get in this beat up old VW bug with our glider strapped to the top. It’s a stick shift, and then he races up a windy road that could rival Lombard Street in San Francisco and a wicked speed.

I survive. Then we unload and walk up several flight of wooded stairs until we reach the takeoff platform.  The view with amazing…but then it does cross my mind that this is really happening!  After I get suited up, we do a few practice runs as Marcello briefly describes to me what’s expected.

I did my due diligence with Marcello – I’m if I was going to trust the man with my life, I needed to know who I was working with! He has been gliding for more than a decade, he’s done it in 10 different countries and spent time in California for college at UCLA.  I felt much better.

One thing that took the edge off was remembering that I was actually working…called over the camera crew and did my stand-up intros for FOX’s new animated movie RIO. In the film the characters actually hand glide the same route that I was going to do and the animated guide in the movie was actually modeled after the man that runs company we went with.

Nothing left to do but begin the adventure!  Ran off the platform and a couple seconds later was lifted in the air and it was simply incredible.  Spectacular view, indescribable feeling and hands down one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had.

We didn’t really discuss the landing too much…but still went off without a hitch. Landed on our feet in the sand – pure success!  Even earned myself a card in the Clube Sao Conrado de Voo Livre…just in case I want to make this my new Brazilian hobby.

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