Friday, June 6, 2008

And on the fourth day, there was light...

"I know you’re not a believer, but we’re going to see Jesus” is how I was awakened by Joey this morning. Physically, and spiritually. At the first glimpse of not pouring rain, we headed up to Christo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), a 38m tall mosaic-tiled, art deco-stylized Jesus with arms spread. Jesus is dramatically sited atop a cliff, looking out over all Rio, perhaps the most iconic landmark of this city, after the micro-bikini (known in portugese as ‘fio dental’, literally ‘dental floss’). After a bus, some drawn-out negotiations, a van ride, lookout points so profound that Burlando briefly took up poetry, and a long series of stone stairs, we had arrived. At the scene of a Brazilian soap opera filming (if there are any telenovela fans out there, look for us in the upcoming episode of Beleza Pura), as well as the giant Jesus monument. And there, somewhere between the fantastically mustached soap star, the panoramic view of Rio, and the gleaming white statue, I had an epiphany. This gleaming white Jesus spoke to me, of the errors of my cruel, criminal ways, and of bountiful forgiveness…yada yada yada, I ran down the precipitous 12km back to town, wolfed down a ham and cheese sanduiche, shaved my head and joined the brotherhood. I look forward to going from the trip’s lone Jew to one of five lapsed Catholics. Or rather, the skies actually did part, the sun shone thru for the first time since we got to Brasil, and we got in a brief stint at the Copacabana beach. And I saw my first micro-bikini. Unfortunately, it belonged to a large, peeing woman. Then matters personal, political, socio-economic, and architectural, yet decidedly not spiritual, were discussed, argued and left unresolved over beers in the hostel’s rooftop hot tub. Miraculously, today is even sunnier and more cloudless than yesterday, and we look forward to some good beach time this afternoon before heading north to ouro preto and belo horizonte. the only question is copacabana, ipanema or leblon. life is full of difficult decisions.


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