It was quite a trip, at least for me, a trip full of polarity. On the one hand, a mess I’ve never seen in my entire life at international competitions, on the other – lots of great people and breathtaking views near Iguazú Falls. And Rio from Sugarloaf Mountain – a masterpiece…

My thanks goes to Sandy Blanco from New York – thanks to him, the tournament functioned SOMEHOW. I will not describe the competition itself in details here, since this section is called WORLD CULTURES WITH TAEKWON-DO – with emphasis on WORLD CULTURES.

It’s hard to tell whether the Brazilian or Argentinean side is more impressive – there’s a waterfall, basically waterfalls, on each of the sides, and they’re all different. But on both sides, there are such places that you stop and are simply SPEECHLESS. And you stand there, stand, and wonder if this is Tolkien already, or is this still „normal life on a normal planet”… This is INSANE and you’re totally PUMPED UP, 100%. However, if I had to choose, I choose the Brazilian part, where the footbridges are below the main surface – the waterfalls encircle, squeeze, hallucinate, soak and whip you on the face… They take you into another DIMENSION. Most members of our crew have a different opinion – they prefer Argentina. On this side, by a footbridge near the abyss of the waterfall, a „swarm” of butterflies in colors which you won’t see in Poland, freely sits on us… Beautiful!

Next to the waterfalls, there is an animal called Guati which lives here, and coach Mariusz calls it a „catdog”, there are dozens of them, they get in the way, they can even attack, scratch, bite and are constantly looking for some grub. As a matter of fact, they just help themselves by getting inside our bags and backpacks. Simply domesticated – and they do have some nerve

The motorboat which swims under the water streams and a helicopter flight are… hmmm, I can’t describe it yet. Maybe I’ll come up with the right words later, or maybe we’ll create new WORDS for the occasion… Or maybe we won’t write anything?

On this occasion, it is worth to mention that Olivier (Aveni de Oliveira), our guide, deserves the highest praise – he is a man who is exceptionally professional, patient and very cordial. I don’t know why, but being with him was a great spiritual experience for me. He reminded me of somebody, someone important, but it’s hard to define now. Anyway – the entire service related to our transport in Iguasu and the personnel of the Golden Park International Iguasu hotel is a super positive topic – dear all of you, if you’re reading this, please let me thank you all very, very much once again! You’ve done more for us than was required by the standards! Taekwon!

Speaking about hotels, two words about a hotel in Rio – at, a four-star hotel and with fantastic photos. Atlantico Copacabana Rio – …… off ! Old, dirty and with bugs. The personnel same as the hotel itself. Unbelievably nasty. Avoid this place.

We entrusted the airport transfers and sightseeing in Rio to the Pallotti Tour company, which is owned by a Pole – and therefore the guide was also Polish-speaking. The office was „discovered” by my wife Nina – and that’s good as Rio is so huge and crowded that it would be difficult to do this on our own, which was my initial plan.

The Jesus Christ monument welcomed us with rain and a lot of clouds – unfortunately. One thing came out great in this scope – Rafał Wilk proposed to Kasia Łukaszyńska and this proposal will surely go down in the history of the Polish Taekwon-do Federation. I’ve taken part in this plot – the surprise remained a surprise right until the end. I’ve smuggled the ring in my luggage, which was also an additional small amount of stress – well, saying no would be inappropriate… Rafał, well done with the idea and implementation!

The weather improved and we saw an exceptionally peculiar cathedral, the Maracanã stadium – the biggest one in South America with an amazing sports history, a sambadrome and the Escadaria Selarón steps – unique since built entirely from tiles from all over the world.

The second day is the Copacabana – reportedly the most famous beach in the World and the entrance to the Sugarloaf Mountain, from which you can see Rio de Janeiro in all its grace when it comes to landform. Rio „from above” fascinates. Experts say that it is the most beautifully located city in the world. So far – I agree, although I haven’t seen everything I want to see yet. The beach – beautiful indeed, although it probably doesn’t show its best form until their summer.

The Atlantic Ocean is very harsh – the waves are furiously strong and beautiful. They overturn, turn and pull. It’s not the Baltic – it’s dangerous. Ms Dagmara talked about it on the way from the airport, but … you had to find out for yourself. The colors – mega.

It seems that it had already been „good” in Brazil before. Anyway, our guide, who lives in this country permanently, confirmed this. You can see poverty everywhere, not many new things, strongly decadent when it comes to urban views. Kind of like Poland in the year 1985. Sad. But they have the sun, beautiful flora and cheerfulness all year round! Probably a compensation from a Force Majeure…

Ms Dagmara! Thank you for 3 great days in Rio!

And finally, the boys got a chance for a photo with the famous footballer, Ronaldinho, who was playing with his daughter at Copacabana just when we were having our big and small Taekwondo sessions. What more could you wish for??? The icing on the cake!!!

This was the largest one-off financial and organizational undertaking in the history of my trips. 32 people and dozens of things that had to be coordinated smoothly without a team of people to work on it. A great experience, unimaginable responsibility during a few moments, a great crew, the atmosphere often familial. The blood boiled again – same as many years ago in Florida…

KLM? I strongly recommend. The grub – good (we even got ice cream!). It’s obvious that the staff wants to work. It’s no big deal. The commitment is authentic.

See you at the next PTF TOUR!

Piotr Gąsior