Friday, July 9, 2010

If all you have to do today is get peace of mind...here, you can have a piece of mine

Hemingway said that one goes broke slowly, then suddenly. If the truth be told, the same applies to the psyche.

I am not broken, just exhausted. Very, very exhausted. I should have seen it coming: nights merging into days merging into nights. Days off left untaken.

My birthday passes and I treat myself to a week away from the rescue house. Far away from the filth and confusion of Copacabana and Ipanema, I find myself on a stretch of beach frequented only by locals. It is reassuring to discover that here, even Brazilians observe the unwritten rule about personal space. There are just a few people where I am writing this, but there is an almost scientific precision in the way that we are evenly distributed on the sand.

The beaches in Rio remain unremittingly egalitarian spaces. Tourists shelling out R$3000 per night for a room at the Fasano will be sharing the same sand as the boy or girl from the favela on the hill.

Towering over the city to my right is Christ The Redeemer and to my left two huge rocks - known locally as dois irmaos (two brothers) - look as if they have been shaped by the very hands of God. An endless loop of lycra (and less) clad joggers underscore the cliché of a people entirely at ease with their appearance. An appearance universally lean and tanned.

Someone give that guy a cigarette.
Somebody feed that girl a burger.
Please
.

Paradise is abruptly broken by the clak-clack-clack of a low flying military helicopter swooping round the rocky crag at the edge of the beach, officers hanging out of the open sides carrying automatic weapons like something out of Rambo. They must be returning from surveillance at Rocinha, the notorious favela just over the hill. As regular readers (yes, both of them) of this blog will already know: where there is immense wealth, there is almost invariably immense poverty.

Today I realized that the sunscreen I have been using for the last 15 months is actually just moisturizer.

2 comments:

Andrina said...

Haha that's funny...at least you haven't discovered the toothpaste you have been using is athletes foot cream!! P.s you probably didn't notice because the suncream cream you usually use is spf 2! Miss you.

Luke said...

True. On my last day I customarily uncork the tan intensifier.

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