Diary of The Travelling Seanchai :-

Ok, I never like to gloss over my adventures but in light of what happened to me in the last few days, this entry is going to be just that.

Rio 2007-12-08 to 2007-12-15

I spent the last few days in Salvador checking out the sights and listening to live music. I took part in a massive religious procession on the 8th in 33 degree heat, the faithful throng were incredibly energetic despite the oppressive sun but I kept my hands in my pockets as there were lots of pickpockets about, every few minutes the cops had to march some of them off.

But I had to head back to Rio and catch up with a few old mates, John (whom I knew in Sydney) and Madison who I had met in Iguazu. It was great to see them, particularly John as it threw up those old memories of Sydney again (like when I met Steve last month in Buenos Aires) Needless to say there were a few big nights to be had. The weather had been ok but just when we wanted to go up and see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue (or ´JC´ to us) it was pouring down.

Still though, one of the new wonders of the world still had to be seen. John was eternally optimistic that the weather would clear but that was wishful thinking. As we stood at His feet, we couldn´t even see His head! It is truly impressive but I will have to take other people´s words for that.

That was one box ticked off however but I really wanted to play some football on Copacabana beach. I walked past a game very slowly and waited for an invitation which duly came. I was given the ball, I flicked it up to myself, volleyed it again, then turned and back heeled it over the keeper into the top corner! But then it was time to start the game! I was ready to walk away, happy with my work and ready to embellish that goal for the rest of my life, but teams were picked and it was time to get down to business.

I was wrecked! Ten minutes of running on the sand and I thought my chest was going to explode. I wheezed out words in Portuguese of ´tired´, ´old´ and ´white´ but they fell on deaf ears. But gradually I found my second wind (and subsequently my third and fourth) and continued on.

And then it happened… I stopped an attack and flicked the ball to one of my teammates, who controled it on his thigh and chipped it back to me again as I had advanced up the ´pitch.´ I took it on my chest and, with the keeper coming out, I volleyed it over his head and it flew in off the post! Both sides started clapping and my team came over to me (now lying prostate in the sand in exhaustion) and jumped on me shouting, ´Gringo, Gringo, Gringo!!´

Now I am not wishing my life away particularly when I have so much more to achieve but if I had died then, I would have died happy! And the big gash on my shin from a collision will always leave a reminder of that ´happiness!!´

That night, we went to a samba club in a bad area of town. It was insane, the place looked like a large shopping centre, very well lit up with tons of people dancing to songs that used to go on for about 20 minutes or more. I didn´t know where they got their energy. The older ladies in particular were grabbing the gringos and teaching them a few steps and unfortunately, my efforts were captured and posted on You Tube!

I´m signing off on this entry knowing that this will put a smile on your face!

Bribing officials and Gay, Corrupt Police Officers in Rio

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