Day of Reckoning

March 14, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Posted in School, Travel | Leave a comment
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Market Madness

We approached the Brazilian market, having fairly recently visited the Chinesedsc04524 equivalent, and steeled ourselves for the inevitable onrush of local merchants and cheap plastic baubles. We were greeted instead with what I would classify at best as mildly interested apathy.

Perhaps it’s the heat. The constant, oppressive heat making it too difficult for them to even turn their necks. Lord knows that it wasn’t for lack of trying (see exhibit 1: giant white man in crowded Brazilian market with t-shirt around his head like a turban).

dsc04521

A fine dinner, a fancy coffee, and a rather forward offer from an aggressive  Brazilian bartender closed out the evening, a fine evening indeed.

Jungle Book

The next morning – a “Jungle Jeep Tour” through the forests of Rio in the back of a Toyota truck; pleasant for us but surely horrific for some poor group of Chrysler marketers cowering in Detroit. Bad enough they’ve stolen your customers, gentlemen, they’ve now stolen your very name.

Our guide was enthused to have the opportunity to expand his English vocabulary; in turn he offered me the friendly advice that I should stop accidentally making the hand gesture on the street that signaled that I was looking for man-on-man action. Hmmm. Indeed. Message received.dsc04585

Waterfalls, giant insects, little plants that explode upon the touching – the trend of life continued. Most places you visit in this world, the destinations, the tourist traps, they’re some form of look at what we’ve built. More and more here we’re brought instead to look at what they’ve found.

Stone Cold

He hung over us at every moment, ever present, always watching. While marching through the jungles, one looked up and he was there. Laying on the beach, there.  At the Brazilian steakhouse (again) – still. And now here it was.

The moment, the happening. The visit with the big man.dsc04630

Not being a religious person in general (or, you know, at all), the prospect of standing beneath a giant stone statue of Christ tends to lead to conflicting emotions. Yet here we were, in His shadow, His image, His gaze.

First: that is a big statue of Jesus (or Cristos, as he is referred to by the locals). Built in the early 1900’s with donations from the citizens of Rio, it is an impressive likeness indeed.

Second: the city laid bare before you, three-hundred and sixty degrees of beaches, favelas (slums – and also my new favorite word), and forest, is overpowering. Nine million people toil away below you while you stand atop a giant rock in the shadow of a god.

Ok, Cristos, you win.

 

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