Impressions of Rio: a city of mountains rising from the sea so that the population appears to be both spilling out into the water and pushing slowly up the sides of cliffs...tropical heat (it was warm for autumn) and feeling the rain of air conditioner condensation walking through city
streets...Brazilian Portuguese, which to my untrained ear sounded like a Russian speaking Spanish with occasional bursts of Swedish or Quebecois French...circuitous streets and numerous mountain tunnels making for unpredictable, lane-changing drivers that were, on further reflection, no crazier than Boston's Best...people selling everything along the roads, from soccer T-shirts to tomatoes to bicycle tires...a family of four living under a tree in a park near the old imperial aqueduct...my introduction and rapid
addiction to Guarana
...speechless at Corcovado
, quietly thanking a Certain Someone despite the surrounding tourist clamor...
But all these moments left me cold, because I was alone. Being alone at home is comforting and oddly satisfying, but being alone in a city of almost
unreal beauty and absurd contrasts is almost unendurable. It's all very well to look out your hotel window and see the most beautiful sunrise over the most beautiful beaches in the world, but when one is alone, what does one do with that experience? Nothing. There's something disheartening in going into a nice restaurant, saying "Table for one, please" and watching the look of surprise followed by the look of pity on the host's face. And drinking to excess doesn't help. So in that sense, Rio was a disappointment. Why is being alone in paradise so awkward and embarrassing? Why?
(Of course, hanging out with the wrong person in paradise is no less annoying and embarrassing, but that's another diary entry.)