Sunday, 3 February 2008

Oh and it's raining again!

Having spent a week in Rio (a week in which we bore witness to several thunderstorms with all their attendant annoyances, being firstly, a large amount of rain and secondly, a fair number of mosquitos) we travelled south, back towards Argentina. I might add that the journey would have possibly been bearable, were it not for the fact that TC and I were squeezed into the back of a bus, sans air con for 18 hours and to add to the misery we had seats conveniently located next to the toilet, which had been used several times by each person during the journey.

For my part I was looking forward to landing in Patagonia, and leaving Rio. It isn't that I hate Rio, it is simply that I did not love it. Rio for me is the Christmas equivalent of a large and decorative gift under a monstrous tree in a shopping mall, outside a commuter town somewhere in Wisconsin or Detroit or somewhere else expansive and unimaginative. The shiny wrapper makes it look enticing, but don't get excited because you know dissapointment, like an invisible jack-in-the-box, lurks inside.

And so it it is with Rio, from the too-tight speedos and barely-there bikinis of the rich 'n beautifuls on Ipanema to the ridiculous notion of favela parties. Worse still, is that seems to take itself seriously.

Connolly once levelled criticism at his fellow Scots for being the only nation that thinks its tourist tat (furry haggis -on-pens and nessie plushies) is culture. He was just being funny, though there is undeniable truth at the core of that statement. I think it is absurd that travellers to Rio shell out cash to attend an organised favela party where the foreigners outnumber the favela dwellers by a ratio of 3 to 1. Surely, the cultural experience has to be spontaneous for it to have any meaning.

But perhaps I am being unfair. After all, someone has to be the dimwit at the dinner party with well put together aesthetic genetic material, and I suppose they, like Rio are entitled to exist. Just don't expect me to like it.

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