No, I haven't suspended my campaign (bit of political humour there for you..GEDDIT??!!!) to bore you all useless with my burblings. This entry is probably a bit baguer than usual, though...I'm at the point now where I can't believe I was ever actually in South America, so quickly does a new environment feel like forever to me. I'm easy like Sunday morning when it comes to new locales.
Since my last post, I've spent several days in Rio de Janiero and Buenos Aires. On Monday, I flew into London, then caught the coach straight down to Oxford, where I've been staying with my friend Shelley, who is genius enough to be completing her PHD here.
Things I've Loved
The Terrible Weather in Rio - I ended up having about two and a half days in Rio, which is notorious for its beauty and hot climate. I waxed things in anticipation of beachy days, people. WAXED.
Of course, the weather was absolute crap. Rainy, foggy, cloudy and even a little bit stormy. The beach was deserted. No renting beach chairs, no fresh fruit or cocktail vendors wandering between sunbathers, just a charlatan offering crappy umbrellas to the drenched tourists for $US30 a pop.
What this meant, however, is that I was forced to look at the rest of Rio. And I've some to the highly sophisticated decision that if Rio was a celebrity couple, it'd be Posh & Becks...everything looks perfect and a bit bland, almost, until it opens its mouth and you hear just how rough it really is.
Rio contains REALLY POSH beach towns like Copacabana and Impanema (my hostel in Impanema charges about $US500 a week for a dorm bed during Carnivale... and its nice, but its still a hostel. I mean, you wouldn't risk showering without your thongs on), the notorious favela slum areas and a massive, interesting and important City Centre. And you couldn't even say its divided into these different areas...they all mix into each other and its confusing but fascinating. Its the only place where people recognized that my handbag was Dior (yes, I am cheerfully stupid enough to take Dior backpacking), and also the only place I really felt intimidated by thieves and muggers and stuff.
Also (and I'm a native Sydneysider, so I like to think I know about cities built in spunky locations...) Rio was quite easily the most naturally beautiful place I visited in South America (and yep, I'm including Iguazu in that calculation). It all culminates in the Sugarloaf (and yes, I rode the cable car, and its was just like a James Bond movie!), from where I stared across at Christ the Redeemer, and saw Him (should I use a capital when referring to a statue of Jesus? Can someone more up on theologic grammar help a lapsed Anglican out?) emerging from the fog. It was pretty amazing, all told.
Buenos Aires - Yeah, everyone raves about BA (sorry, it'll be Jo'burg next, I know ), but, bloody hell, it is fabulous. Like Europe, only fun.
If Rio is where Nature made things beautiful, then BA is where Humanity has done some of its best work. I gave up on taking photos of the beautiful buildings because I don't have enough space on my memory card to do the architecture justice. There's grand palace-like structures, but also gorgeous, small-scale neighbourhoods with tree-lined avenues and a bar on every corner.
I kind of feel like a fraud writing about BA. I didn't even start to get a handle on the place. It's too complex and too closed off (only place in South America where no one approaches you to get in their cab... if you want to get into their cab, then you will ask politely and maybe, just maybe, they'll take you where you want to go...all terribly Parisian). I do know that I want to try and get a handle on it though, and am determined to go back with better (OK, some) Spanish in the next 12 months.
Being Employed - I start work in the British office of my old Sydney work on Monday. Feels very good to be contributing to the global economy again... just when it all slides into the toilet. I swear it wasn't my fault.
Things I Haven't Loved
Foreign Queens - I had the chance to see drag shows (you can take the hag out of Sydney...) in Rio and Buenos Aires on consecutive nights, and they just don't live up to Sydney standards. I had high hopes for Rio, too, with the whole Carnivale influence, but, nope. Just some dude dressed in a white cap and midriff top miming along to what I suspect was a Whitney Houston album track. Very Pre-Priscilla
Leaving a Club at 3.30am, Arriving Back at the Hostel At 4am, Catching a Taxi to the Airport for an International Flight at 4.30am, and Getting on the Place at 7am, all Whilst Drunk - Yeah, won't be doing that again. Arrived in BA and was, um, not in the right mood for appreciating its beauty, I think we can safely say.
And I'm going to leave this entry here, because I don't have it in me to sum up South America right now, but don't dare leave the blog un-updated another day. I'm in a position now where I can start uploading photos and stuff, so I'll do a summing up entry in the next few days.
Although trying to a summing up entry on South America is a bit like going to an RSL Smorgasboard and putting roast beef, spring rolls, coleslaw and eggplant parmigiana on the same plate, and thinking you have international cuisine covered.
Now I holler back
20 hours ago