Week 22 – There’s No “G”s in “Janeiro”

So basically, on the way back to Rio I ran out of money.  It just happened.  Not everything always goes exactly to plan.
As you may have noticed.
Arriving in a big city with no money, no accommodation and no plans probably isn’t advised by the Ministry of Tourism, but then neither is Bolivia.  Neither is my wholelife to be honest.  But I felt surprisingly calm about the whole situation.
I spent the first couple of nights sleeping in a random hammock in a hostel, before they clocked on, so for the rest of my stay I was rawly demoted to the beaches.
The food agenda proved to be not so troublesome.  It’sa simple matter – “I’m hungry, but I have no money…” and see where the wind takes you from there.  To be honest, I think I ended up eating more than usual, so when they start singing “Who ate all the pies?” maybe some fingers will be waving at me…
But hard times also bring people together, and it was onIpanema beach where I met Sidnei and Hobsom (talk about names not matching faces or personalities).  Without trying to sound big-headed, they were amazed by what I was doing, but by the second night they were championing my rights in the face of others…
In the words of Hobsom, “I drink beer, he drinks beer, we are the same!”
The fact that Sidnei opened up enough to tell me that his “life is hard” confirmed the fact.  We’re all brothers in the struggle.
Considering my new status of below the poverty line, I thought it would be wholly appropriate for me to visitCidade de Deus, or the City of God for all you wasteman foreigners.
You’ve seen the film, right?
I’d love to go on to detail my experience of a drug-fuelled machine gun shoot-out caught-in-the-middle of police-versus-gangs warfare, but it just didn’t happen.  Several times I thought to myself, this can’t be it?
I’ve seen worse in India, in Guatemala, and in Vietnam. Cidade de Deus was the most chilled out Sunday afternoon I’d had in a while.
And when I saw someone else in an electric wheelchair, I honestly thought I would pass out.  Of all the places I’ve been to around the world, all the “modern” and “civilised” societies, the one place I witness one is in a favela, a slum.
But that’s the point, the City of God just isn’t slums, it’s a shanty town.  Another case of misinformation leading to false preconceptions.
People often dream of the idea of saving the world, but it seems as if I may have truly discovered the solution to world poverty…
If you want to relieve tensions in an area stricken by appalling living conditions and constantly terrorised by the drug lords in control, just make a film and glorify the violence.

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