I am back to Brazil, but as I am not living in my hometown of Sao Paulo, it feels like a new beginning. I went to Rio de Janeiro with my suitcase of belongings and dreams to be met with miserable weather. During the first few days, I saw nothing more than a rainy beach and had to wait to see what the Wonderful City had to offer me.
No traffic jam – It takes twelve minutes to get to work. First there’s the five minute walk to Botafogo tube station. I leave my house, turn left and see Christ the Redeemer up in the hill, looking after the city. After that, I spend another five minutes on the air-conditioned tube which, thankfully, is usually empty during rush hour. A staple feature of my commute are well dressed men complete with panama hat perusing the morning newspaper. I can’t say exactly why, but they remind me Tom Jobim, a Brazilian songwriter, a primary force behind the creation of the bossanova style, singing ‘She is carioca’. I jump off the tube and walk the final two minutes to my office at Largo do Machado.
Non stop activities – A sedentary lifestyle does not exist in Rio. In the main square in front of my office old people work out in the public gym while some others play cards. The pavement is populated with dog walkers, rollerbladers and cyclists. On the beach there are surfers and swimmers. In the air, paragliding and hang gliding.
Green city – The streets are lined with imperial palms, orchids growing on trees, mango trees and bonsais are sold in all the flower stalls, everywhere in the city.
Urban legend – Despite the celebrity websites being full of pictures of famous people, I’ve yet to see anyone noteworthy walk the streets. I haven’t heard any stories about people being robbed or killed by a stray shot. However, I did see many homeless people sleeping in the streets.
What about myself? – People have told me I will lose my identity because I have lived abroad, but I am not living in Sao Paulo, so everything in Rio is new to me. I get lost in the neighbourhoods, I get confused in the streets, I caught the bus to the wrong direction.
Rio lifestyle – The cariocas are kind with me and they smile much more than the English. At the weekend, I go to the beach and walk around the city. I always drink coconut water and eat sushi. What I like the most about Rio is wherever I look, the city is postcard.
I haven’t lost my paulista accent and here they said that I speak with a British accent, but to be honest with you, for so many times I feel that I am carioca.
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