Four days until the Opening Ceremony of the 31st Summer Olympic Games.
Big news! I went for a walk today, all by myself!
Seems strange to even write that sentence, I am a grown woman and I learnt to walk a long time ago, I also claimed my independence many, many years ago.
The build up by the media to the Olympics in Rio - the first time in South America, has ensured that I arrived a few days ago scared out of my wits.
To be honest I am still in a heightened state of fear, but I am at the Olympics, it's three and a half weeks of flat out work and I can't always guarantee I can find a male co worker willing to escort me to get my lunch at the local store five minutes walk away to ensure my safety. Plus my shoulders are bigger than most of the male commentators anyway and I am not sure they would be of much use if push came to shove.
I made it to the shop, had a great chicken salad and walked back to continue working. At no time during this adventure did I feel unsafe, but we are in what seems to be a fairly safe neck of the woods. Don't worry I won't be galavanting too often by myself or at night (already got that lecture from my lovely husband back home).
I also had the pleasure of looking at the Triathlon course today in preparation to commentate the men's and women's Olympic races after the swimming competition concludes. The course is situated around Copacabana Beach. There was a wave on, that caught my attention more than the stories of the water pollution. Whilst I didn't stick my head in or take a mouthful, it looked pretty clear to me and to the locals who were taking advantage of the 29 degree day.
During my swimming career I competed in quite a few open water swims - I raced twice in fact in a 3.2km race in Melbourne's Yarra River - both times after storms. For those of you that don't know my home town's main river, they say, flows upside down because of it's dirty colour.
It tasted horrible. There was rubbish in the water, along with debris.
My dad made me drink castor oil before I raced both times to line my stomach (don't ask why!). My face was black with dirt when I finished, but I came out the other end just fine, apart from the runs from the castor oil!
I moved along to the Copa Lagoon, where the rowing will take place. Marker buoys lined the course in exact positioning, different race courses all marked out. The sun shone and the water glistened. It looked incredible. I have never seen an Olympic Rowing course with my own eyes, only on the telly, as the courses have always so far away from the main arena, that the Rowers were housed in a satellite village. Rio sees Rowing smack bang in the middle of the action with the giant "Christ the Redeemer" statute overlooking the proceedings along with the spectators that will line the banks of the Lagoon. No obvious signs of anything broken or garbage laying about in the water.
Brazilian people are proud and friendly. They are also hospitable.
Yes, the buses are late and sometimes they get a little lost and might not turn up at all!. The queues are long and it takes an age to get in to anywhere due to security and forever to get fed in the media dinning hall between 12 - 2pm.
But folks, its the Olympics! Get over it!
Every Olympics I have been to since 1988 has had some sort of controversy. Venues not ready, local political unrest, logistical issues. The media coverage of this is always before the start, and the Games go on, the athletes cope and the amazing moments of Olympic history take place.
Rio is going to be great once the competition starts. it's all here and ready to go. But until then, take it with a grain of salt - the world's sporting media are assembled in Rio and while the athletes are putting the finishing touches on their once in a lifetime moments, the media is out looking for stories, as there is not a lot happening.
So let's take the next few days to report on positive stories like that of Yusra Mardini, an 18 year old Syrian refugee that is part of the IOC's team.
In August 2015 she fled Syria under dire circumstances. She was a National Team swimmer for Syria before her life, as she knew it, fell apart. Her swimming background came in handy when the shoddy dinghy she and 17 others were on started to take on water somewhere between Greece and Turkey.
Yusra and her sister Sarah hopped in the water and swam the boat to shore over 3 1/2 hours, and after some time, made it to Germany. Eventually also a return to her beloved swimming happened, where she was spotted by an eagle eye coach from the local team in Berlin.
Next week, she will race in the 200m Freestyle in Rio and I can't wait to commentate on her race!
Yusra won't be a refugee forever - she will however, be an Olympian for ever.