Postcard from Rio: Nose knows, and doesn’t like smell

John Niyo
The Detroit News
A worker brushes of excess water near the Tennis Center court at the Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro after a constant rain delayed all the tennis matches Wednesday at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The rains came again Friday morning, and that typically means trouble in Rio.

Pollution washes down from the city to the beaches and the bays. (An estimated one-third of homes in this city of 6 milllion-plus aren’t connected to sewer pipes.)

And the truth is, when it rains, it doesn’t really pour. It just smells.

That’s true of a lot of big cities, of course. But this is worse than that, and hardly a new problem for the Cariocas. They’ve lived with it for years.

But it’s becoming an issue for visitors during the Olympics.

As if things weren’t bad enough at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center, where the still-green diving pool was closed to practice Friday, German diver Stephan Feck in a Facebook post said, “The whole venue smells like somebody has fart.”

Even the press tribune at the gymnastics final Thursday faintly reeked.

And as a bunch of us waited for a bus Friday morning outside Lagoa Stadium, a beautiful setting not far from Ipanema Beach, there were plenty of covered noses. The odor was coming from the sewers, and one Brazilian volunteer explained it was “cheiro do ralo,” or smelly drain.

Fortunately, the forecast calls for dry, sunny weekend.