Extracts from a Brazilian (not a Brazilian’s) diary: II

A long bumpy trip into the Cerrado charted ‘wilderness’ was had last Sunday, which played havoc with the suspension of my friends’ small car (if not its occupants’ vertebrae). We visited a remote place where a well-frequented couple of low waterfalls pour into small pools, in an ostensibly idyllic little oasis, wherein bravado-ing boys (err, us) climb up and jump off vertical rocks into the deep part, or slide down smoothened, algae-covered sloping steps, or sit wedged into naturally-formed jacuzzis – more fun than the storeroom one I ‘tested’ fully-clothed the previous day (for which my mate has yet to cough up the R$100 he offered me to do so). I came away with a broad red stripe across my back where my hands couldn’t reach with the Factor 60 that protected just fine the gnomon on my face, and an enormous appetite, and a cold beer-satiable thirst, and blissful fatigue.

But it could (selfishly) have been better. The place is a mecca for groups of the young who turn up with their cool-boxes of beer (etc). Which is fine. They seemed to know the place – a regular weekend party hangout – and what they were doing, and so did not alcohol-morph into cliff-jumpers with the recklessness of cocktail-overloaded young sailors with a propensity to dive head first into the wrong end of swimming pools (and come up dazed and bleeding). Unfortunately, although mostly friendly, there is (as there always seems to be) that component of environmentally-unconscious ignoramuses, which can’t register the clue that is the black gash bag handed to them at the entrance gate (enterprisingly set up on the only access track for extracting ‘entrance’ monies), as evidenced by the detritus of cans and bottles left over from previous expeditions.

Being not totally cut-off from back home, I learnt last weekend that that supremely talented young imp, Wayne Rooney, scored a great goal (“his best”/“the best”/“he shinned it” – whatever, the Premier League ‘owns’ it and, apparently, doesn’t want you to see it). Well, following his off-form mid-season nailing of an anti-social, society-reducing 200,000+ quid a week on the heels of a pants World Cup in a team that performed no better than a bunch of Sunday morning hangovers, I should bloody hope he did!

Which ‘type’ do I read most disrespectful of here? I’m an admirer of Rooney’s talent; however, although I’m more interested in flawed characters than the pseudo-perfect type, he has some way to go to win me back round (like that bothers him) – not for his drop in form, but on account of his banker-ish greed. Yet a return to form brings ready forgiveness, due to his enviable ability and adulation, and his potential to realise our dreams on our behalf. Or, am I more vexed by litter-strewing, stoned-in-the-sun, feckless young men (because it is usually men), such that you find… pretty well anywhere?

Big news here is that the great Brazilian striker, Ronaldo, has retired from the game. In case you’re of the impression that Brazil reveres its sporting heroes in a way England ought, then you’re somewhat mistaken. (Hey, I’ve even met a brasileiro who considers that Pelé was overrated?!?) As well as the praise due a free-scoring World Cup winner, ‘O Gordo’ (‘The Fat One’) has, it seems, been the brunt of his share of savage criticism. Don’t expect the stereotype: this is a huge (@ 200,000,000), complex, (soap-opera-enthralled) country (anti-social of me to cast aspersions on my hosts’ tele-visual preferences, isn’t it?).

Nothing’s perfect – not even ‘paradise’. Where ‘Siriri’, the Tropical Kingbird can be seen aplenty (and elsewhere). His colouring serves as a connective excuse to show here. That, and my being somewhat charmed by its taxonomic name: Tyrannus melancholicus.

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