As 29 centimetres of rain (11 inches) pounded the city of Rio de Janeiro in under 24 hours, killing almost a hundred people my hearts went out to the people of this beautiful city.
I thought back to my first (and last) visit there, bringing forth exceptional and not so beautiful memories.
Rio de Janeiro is a fascinating city. Its Mardi Gras celebrations beat them all, arguably including New Orleans.
Its massive beach in the heart of the city is something to behold as the ultimate bikini paradise where some of the best shaped women in the world position themselves to display their best points and assets.
Seemingly accepting this flagrant display of flesh the statue of ‘Christ the Redeemer’ standing on a mountain side perch at 140 feet spreads his arms in acceptance, forgiveness, or anticipation of some future cry for redemption.
The restaurants and bars are exceptional and draw tourists from every nation trying to excape the cold, or who are simply looking for wild excitment, because Rio can be a real party town for those who seek low key or far out indulgences.
This was the place I encountered, and then, with a group of travel agents at a time when I was somewhat younger, and shall we say more durable, we partied away several days with very little sleep.
Rio is a city of ultimate contrasts and wealth.
There was and still is a city with vast tracts of severly impoverished people. the trickle down theory seems not to have reach that part of the Brazilian nation yet.
It was a time of crime and theft all over the place, including around the famous tourist sights, including the beach.
One of our group had her camera taken as she tanned on the beach. I had a bag stolen at the airport as people were supposedly watching it. And newspaper reports then often spoke of more serious crimes.
While poverty still exists, tourist crime has been controlled to a significant extent, at least in line with other major tourist areas around the world which will always be magnets for professional pickpockets and the like.
Nature makes no distinction between wealth and poverty when it takes vengence. We need to mourn what the city is going through during its recovery period.
Rio de Janeiro will rebound. And people like me will go back and join the droves looking for the beach, the vistas, the cliff divers, or to attend the 2016 Olympics or the 2014 World Cup, which thankfully, neither are held during their annual rainy season