South America Blog -- Brittany Lee

June 13, 2013

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Brittany Lee pens the penultimate blog in a series that outlined U-M's 13-day tour of Brazil and Argentina, which included 10 matches across the two South American countries.

When I woke up this morning, I knew that I wanted to go for one last run on the beach in Saquarema. The waves are huge and it is so peaceful to run listening to the sounds of the ocean ... but please understand that when I run, I look nothing like Pam Anderson or Carmen Electra from their Baywatch days. Anywho, after my last run on the beach, the team loaded up and headed out of Saquarema and the Brazilian National Training Center, heading to a mall in Rio to spend a few final hours before our flight.

However, when I got up from my nap on the bus, we were not at the mall but rather Sugar Loaf Mountain. The coaches surprised the group with a trip to see Sugar Loaf as our last excursion in Brazil. Our entire group packed into the small yet stable cable car and slowly glided up to the first part of the sugar mountain tours. But let me warn future female tourists that plan on taking the tour of Sugar Loaf ... do not, I repeat, do not use the women's bathrooms on the first mountain of the tour. There are giant spiders from the forest on the mountain that have meandered their way into a corner of a certain bathroom stall.

Even though I was somewhat traumatized from the encounter, our group continued the tour and traveled up to the tallest mountain on the tour. From the view atop Sugar Loaf Mountain, you can see the entire city of Rio de Janeiro. In fact, we were so high that I was able to take a picture of a plane that was flying by the mountain en route for the airport. Being on top of Sugar Loaf was a great way to end our trip because we were able to see some of the highlights of our trip in one place: Copacabana Beach, Club Flamengo and the Christ the Redeemer statue. Seeing all these places at once really put the trip into perspective because it is amazing how much we have done in Brazil in the past week.

After descending Sugar Loaf Mountain, our group headed to a local mall in Rio to spend our final afternoon before our flight to Houston. This mall in Rio honestly felt like some sort of intricate labyrinth. I went on a wild goose chase with Kelly and Ally Davis looking for Starbucks. Arriving at the fourth floor, we finally discovered the Starbucks even though we felt like we had discovered the Holy Grail. After devouring our caramel macchiatos, we proceeded to meet up with the rest of the group and departed for the airport. However, I have another word of caution to females that may go to this mall. Do not, I repeat, do not use the handicapped women's stalls. Half of the toilet seat is missing in the front and there is a reason the floor is all wet.

Anyways, I sit here at the airport writing this blog looking back at how amazing this trip has been and what a blessing it has been for our team to travel to Argentina and Brazil. I will never forget this adventure and the wonderful people that have been my travel companions. And finally ladies, make sure there are no tropical spiders in your bathroom stall and that your toilet seat is a full oval.

For more on U-M's tour of Brazil and Argentina, including game results, blogs, photos and video, visit our Michigan Volleyball in South America page.

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