|flying into rio|
flying over rio, i thought i was going to love the city. the green mountains and valleys surrounding the city are magical.
i grabbed a taxi, too tired to try to figure out what bus i should take to get to my hostel. the driver was clearly a fan of ayrton senna and was practicing for the day when he would get to race formula one. when i wasn’t gripping the seat in panic, i was trying to take in the city. at one point i saw some large heads being created for carnival and i had a moment of love and enchantment, i was going to try to find these again and take photos (never happened and i am still sad).
i survived the trip to the hostel.
it was a dive.
i didn’t want to touch anything.
but i was relieved to find my friend v (who was going to travel with me for a couple of weeks) and we set about making a plan for my first day in rio.
we walked, a lot. i began to feel the first signs of disillusionment. the map was crap, a block on the map could represent one or twelve in the real world. lunch was expensive but mediocre. portugese completely eluded me and my attempts to speak it only baffled the locals. the city was dirty, compact and crowded. any time i took my camera out, well meaning folk would say sternly “cuidado” (careful). i became paranoid about being robbed in some violent manner, as my beloved camera is so securely strapped to my person when i am out and about they'd have to knock me out to get it, so the only way i wasn’t being careful with it was having it out at all. since i am all about my photos, this was really frustrating.
we tried to go to the cemetery, it was locked. who locks the cemetery during the day???
the only graffiti i managed to see was ugly tagging. the litter was extensive, but it was kind of amusing to watch v pick up bits here and there and walk them to trash cans close at hand, muttering about the idiots too lazy to hang on to their rubbish a few steps more.
on this first unhappy day, the one delight was the catedral de sao sebastiao
|ceiling of the catedral|
a peaceful space, with an interior similar to the lotus temple in delhi. a nice american fella from somewhere in the midwest started a conversation with us. he'd been away from home for a long time and missed the ease of a conversation where you didn't have to edit yourself or try to figure out a way to translate your meaning. i could understand, having been in that place many times myself.
we tried to find a place for dinner around 6pm, but nothing was open. i was hungry, tired and frustrated with this place i had been prepared to fall in love with.
by the end of the day i told v i didn’t like rio and i’d be ready to leave after we went to see Christo. i wanted out.
she had been there for several days before i arrived, so she was fine with moving on.