As James Taylor sings it:
More than a distant land
Over a shining sea
More than the steaming green
More than the shining eyes
Back from a week in Rio de Janeiro, which I thought before going would be too long and when the time came to leave was too short. Rio is a magical city.
I have a European soul, and have little interest in most other places, whether in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa. Before ever traveling south of Texas in the Americas, I knew there were only two cities on the whole continent that could compel me to endure the long ride inside an airplane, the debilitating and brutal travail through airports: Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. I have spent three years in Buenos Aires, and now have seen Rio. I am finished with South America.
There is only one aspect of life that prevents Rio from being one of the finest, most compelling places, on earth: crime. If not for that, Rio would easily rival, maybe surpass, other of the world’s classiest European places — Madrid, Paris, Rome, Berlin … . But there is crime, it is a dangerous place, beyond the usual petty thieving and disturbing muggings. Crime turns quickly brutal, murder for a few coins, a wristwatch, shoes.
So we were told. Our week in Rio was crime-free and lovely.
Maybe because we live in a city with some of the blandest, most unimaginative cuisine on earth, we spent most of our time in Rio eating. We did not have a bad meal, in fact, even the occasional mediocre would best the finest meal we have had in three years in Buenos Aires. We each gained two pounds and feel fortunate it was pounds and not kilos, because we feared the latter.
As you can see above, even Jesus (not on my friends list) loves me in Rio, notice the glint of his smile.
Here are a few more photos. Eventually I’ll get many more up on Flickr and will post a note here when that happens. These photos will become larger by clicking on them.
Here is an observational aside of the sexist variety. I have noticed a difference in what young women emphasize in the attraction business between Buenos Aires and Rio. In the former, breasts and hair are the focal points. In Rio, it is butts and legs. I find myself to be more universal in this regard.
There are, to my thinking, a dozen cities in the world a person ought to spend time in before returning to whatever that pre-conception place is. It is a personal list and appeals to my personal proclivities: London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Honolulu, Saigon, Athens, San Francisco, New York, Rio de Janeiro, St. Petersburg, and Buenos Aires. I am missing only one (St. Petersburg) from this list.
Categories: Places and Travel