I wrote this post last night but was unable to get the hotel computers to work for me. At the airport now, on my way home. The last of the holiday snaps are on Flickr now … see you in Melbourne in a couple of days, or en route if inspiration and opportunity coincide.
I’m kind of too tired to write much right now but I feel obliged to post one last entry before I leave Rio, otherwise it’ll never happen.
Since I last posted I feel like my feet have barely touched the ground, buzzing from one spot to another. I’ve been to the summit of Corcovado (where the Christ statue is) twice, been through the Forest de Tijuca, Rio’s fabulous wild park, and tried without success to make a ageing queens’ pilgrimage to the Museu Carmem Miranda (it was closed). I’ve wandered through the cobbled streets of Rio’s artist quarter, Santa TÃ©resa, spent more time and more reais in the Le Boy dance club than was really necessary, and today (probably the highlight of the whole trip) been on a tour of Rio’s infamous sprawling favelas.
The favela tour was amazing, a stark contrast to the reputation of Rio’s slums as portrayed in movies and such. Oddly, in the favelas we visited I felt safer and less threatened than really at any other time during my visit. It’s not safe to go into the favelas unescorted, of course, but in the hands of our guide we were made to feel like welcome guests in a community which, despite the poverty and overcrowding, operate as caring, autonomous communities where the first rule seems to be â€œtake care of each otherâ€.
These are communities that operate essentially under the rule of the gun and are financed (in some of the favelas, not others) by drug running, but they are communities of caring people who are trying to raise families, make a living and generally get on with their lives the same as people everywhere. There’s incredible beauty there too, which my photos fail to do justice to, of course, but they’re out there anyway.
So tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn I set off back to Melbourne, via too many cities to list. I’m due to arrive home after 38 hours of travelling, by which time I expect to be royally rooted. I can’t wait to be home with my man, my puppy dogs, and my normal life again — I’ve only been away for ten days really, but even that’s too long.
I have completely enjoyed Rio: the conference was worthwhile, Rio’s physical beauty is utterly breathtaking and exceeded all my expectations, the weather has been lavishly warm and sunny (and it’s the middle of winter here) and I’ve enjoyed the various attractions I’ve seen, even the trashy ones. And of course I have been constantly, repeatedly, unremittingly blown away by the beautiful men (and women) in this town. It has been difficult not to turn into a slavering old perv, but I have succeeded (most of the time).
Yes, I got mugged, and while that was an experience I never want to repeat, it barely detracted from my enjoyment of my trip. If I got the chance I’d come back.
So now back to Melbourne, there is much work to do in putting together my report from the conference and much joy awaiting me when I get home and see my Brent’s smiling face again.