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Worldwide Chaos’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 18 Feb 2006

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

MapLoud, sexy, pushy -- no, I'm not talking about myself, I'm talking about Rio de Janeiro.

Or, as the locals call it, Hee-Ooh de Shaney-Ooh.

I'm not a fan of the Portuguese "language," but I love the beach and I love the sun and I love happy people. Therefore, yes, I love Rio. If only because I went.

After spending a week in Buenos Aires, where everything seems so civilized, landing in Rio on 3 hours of sleep is like getting slapped in the face during mass. Nothing prepares you for it.

The scorching sun, the slums (favellas) littering the mountains and the blue sea make an amazing first impression. And still I wanted to stay.

Rio could use some Swiffer action. Driving through the city is like wandering through the reminants of what must have been an amazingly fabulous party, but now all that's left are tatters and garbage.

For those who are adventurous and love a party, this is the place to go. I have never seen any place in the world like Rio, a city that's stubbornly proud in the middle of so much that just seems so wrong. We have a saying in Spanish "No hay fea sin su gracia ni bonita sin su pero.." which means "every great beauty has its flaw, and every ugly chic has her own charm."

Such is Rio. Perhaps its allure is lost on me because I'm a prissy queen from Chelsea who would sooner see a Starbuck's on every corner instead of a 12 year old prostitute, but I never felt like I could relax in this town. The beach is nice, but I'm not sure it's worth a 15 hour trip from home. The people are very friendly, but being a New Yorker, friendliness is as important to me as is knowing who my neighbors are. Besides, frequenting the gay beach as we did everyday in Rio was like going to the Pines -- I'm surprised I didnt develop an eating disorder. To our left were the most perfect toned American gay bodies that the Northeast had vomitted on South America. With a few pasty Brits for spite.

Sigh.

For all the noise and congestion and grime, Rio is, at its core, a beautiful city. I saw this while hangliding off Sao Conorado -- soaring above the luxury villas that dot the mountains beside the beach, I was amazed that not only was I so far from home and literally flying.

And then I got to see Christ Redeemer...postcards don't do it justice. I really did think back to my fifth grade geograhy class where we spent a day talking about Brazil.

I love Rio because it's a long way from Brooklyn...