It hit me when I was about half way over the Atlantic, a swelling of joy passing though me. I had my cheek pressed to the plane window looking out at the clouds like flak all the way from sea level up to 10 kilometres and the freedom of being all the way up there, on my way to Rio, well it passed though me like a water cooled laser though fire smoke.
It’s not like I was escaping from anything. London in summer is wonderful being one of the best cities on the planet, but there’s a feeling when you step out that’s worth it every time. I used to get it when I walked out on a particularly awful job, a few choice words to a closed minded boss then the freedom of the pavement, of the miles of sky overhead, the lack of a ceiling, freedom.
I booked a room for a few nights in the Rio hostel in Lapa. Up some cobbled streets where the trams travel from eight in the morning to eight at night. Between those times there are places in Rio even a tram won’t risk going to.
The views from the hostel are great, the staff are friendly and the rooms clean enough, but best of all is stepping out onto the dancing Rio streets. A bus ride takes us to Ipanema, Copacabana, places heard of in songs become places we stop for a coffee, some lunch, we try to joke with people using bits of Spanish, a willingness to twist a mouth around worlds like people here do.
I love the sound of Brazilian Portuguese, people seem to enjoy every word, they curl around each syllable enjoying the taste. I’d love to be able to too, I hear familiar words from many different languages, not only French and Spanish but from the age old association England has with the Portuguese, our oldest ally and surely the source of many inflections. Obrigado! Obliged…
And the source of the title of this day’s post: