Rio has a rough reputation, but I found it to be far more comfortable, modern, and clean than either Salvador or Recife. It feels more European, which is nice, but I'm also glad to have spent so much time in the more "Brazilian" north. And, not to sound naive, but I haven't felt in danger once here. Rio is stunning and the people are attractive, and bars and street parties have a great vibe. Cariocas are very active. There are many more people juggling soccer balls (often competitvely) and running and swimming at the beach here than there were in Salvador or Recife. One complaint: it's nearly impossible to find a good beer in this country. Anything imported tends to be quadruple the price of the domestic garbage.
When I arrived I met up with Nicola again, making Rio the 3rd Brazilian city we've seen together. We were a bit lazy with our schedule - Its always hard to turn down Caipirinhas on the beach. The last two days were a little busier, and after 4 days I've seen most of what Id want to in Rio. I could spend much more time here though.
I spent Thursday night with a group of coaches, "sports engineers" and athletes (including this guy, and a couple of the strongest looking men and women I've ever met) from the British Olympic canoeing team. Apparently all that muscle can hold a lot of beer. They could DRINK. I couldn't keep up.