A mugging, a football match, and a gang of transsexual prostitutes.

20131028-205755.jpg

I’ve now completed my third week in Rio, three weeks that I have absolutely loved, enjoyed and will cherish for the foreseeable future. I have decided to extend my time here by an additional two weeks, and am keen to remain at my current project where I feel I am progressing in building a relationship with the children and staff there. Though I will be spending a greater amount of time away from my family, friends and the comforts of living in England, I greatly look forward to spending more time here and celebrating my 22nd birthday with the new friends that I have made here, in the city that I have come to love. Who knows what could happen?
This week has been definitive in my appreciation of Brazilian lifestyle and culture, deep recognition of the problems that exist here, and the impact that all this has had on my outlook on everything. I’m sure I’ll go into depth with this a bit later on. But first, I’ll give a brief update on how what I’ve been getting on this week.
I experienced my first, if a little pathetic, mugging on Monday afternoon as a fellow volunteer and I were waiting for our bus to Take us home from the project. Though quite terrifying at the time, my stubborn personality clearly proved a success after I bravely, or more likely stupidly, continuously refused to hand over more that the bus hey that I was holding in my hand. Still, the petty criminal was clearly satisfied with his single figure earnings, politely thanking us with a smile and a thumbs up before moving off on his getaway bicycle. I will never forget the image of Jesse, my fellow muggee, returning the thumbs up and smiling at the man as if he had done us a favour, I will also never know why he did this. Immediately breaking into into a nervous laughter, I think we were satisfied with how well the situation was endured, though it is something I would most definitely not like to experience again any time soon. I’m quite certain that others would not give in so easily, or indeed be quit as polite as this gentleman thief.
On Wednesday evening I was fortunate enough to have attended one of the quarter finals of the Copa do Brasil between Flamengo and Botafogo, a true Rio derby. I realise that in attempting to accurately illustrate my experiences in Brazil I have consistently referred to atmospherical features and differences, and I’m sure that it’s repetition in my writing has irritated some readers. Those readers may just have to bare a little more, as my initial thoughts upon entering the MaracanΓ£ stadium greeted by the sight and sounds of 60,000 fans, revolved entirely around the astonishing atmosphere of an almost full stadium. Surely I can be forgiven? We had bought tickets for the Botafogo section and opted for standing in the midst of the loudest and most lively supporters. Even an hour before kick off there was more enthusiasm from the fans than I have ever witnessed at any English football game, and these were enhanced by the accompaniment of drums, horns and flags. Though the Botafogo fans were easily outnumbered by their Flamengo counterparts four to one, songs and chants were constant and deafening. The sight of the packed stadium was impressive alone, and I was impressed by such a large proportion of female supporters around the stadium. I was equally as surprised to witness the gladiatorial Seedorf and his Botafogan squad thrashed 4-0, with a significant chunk of the Botafogo crowd disappearing as the third Flamengo goal hit the back of the net. However, it is impossible to discredit the fans any further – such was there excitement and hooliganism infectious, I may or may not have been jumping up and down on my seat, swinging my t-shirt above my head whilst singing words I did not understand at the top of my lungs. A truly enjoyable and unforgettable experience.
Completing plans that had been repeatedly postponed, on Wednesday evening myself and two others began our journey to the peak of Corcovado, forming the platform for the statue of Cristo Redentor. I for one was eagerly anticipating the iconic views across the city and Ocean, my anticipation only enhanced by our plan to reach the statue in time to watch the sunset. I was not disappointed, the panoramic views and Cristo himself greatly exceeded my expectations. It goes without saying that we ticked the bucket list boxes in pulling the most touristically possible poses with the statue behind us and had fantastic fun doing so, why be embarrassed? We definitely chose the best time to go, managing to catch Cristo in daylight, sunset and illuminated by spotlights in the dark. My only regret is that I think I would have enjoyed the views a little more had I made the hike through the national park to the top of Corcovado instead of getting a minibus. There’s always next time.
I think I will publish a separate entry regarding my thoughts and realisations that were mentioned at the beginning of this brief update, as I believe it may become a lengthened post. I shall leave you with the delightful news that on Thursday night I was approached and caressed by not one, but two transsexual prostitutes. Clustered like packs of gender confused wolves on almost every corner of Lapa, a nightlife hotspot, a degree of skill is required in avoiding the attention of the wo(men), a skill I am learning and developing the hard way. Still, all in good fun.

20131028-205433.jpg

Standard