‘You have no authority. None. Mexico City. What were you doing there?‘ M – Spectre.
We are in an Uber, five cars back from a car fire that had bottle necked all three lanes into gridlock at the mouth of the Morro de Villa Rica tunnel, known as the ‘old tunnel’. The guy in the car next to me is stood on the roof of his car filming it all.
I turn to the girls in the back, ‘Should I get out? This will make a great picture?’
‘Why would this be a great picture, someone could be hurt.‘ Girl 1 answers brusquely. Of course she’s right. Ghastly business this journalism lark. I take a picture anyway because I’m a macabre fucker with a mania for obtaining that one shot that could propel me into the journalistic stratosphere. How could Esquire refuse my candidacy for features editor next time round with a picture of a charred corpse dangling from the back window of a burning Chevrolet on my CV?
It was planes, trains and automobiles all the way to Petropolis, City of Peter, an Imperial village 42 miles north of Rio De Janeiro. The city was the summer residence of the Brazilian Emperors and aristocrats in the 19th century. The last Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II is entombed there at the Cathedral of Saint Peter of Alcantara. In the summer house we were instructed to wear slippers and slide around like idiots. The study had a decadent leather studded desk befitting of M’s office. I imagined Ralph Fiennes stood behind it slamming a newspaper down with some incriminating headline strewn across, ‘What the bloody hell have you been up to in Rio Bond?‘
At the opposite end of the study, a telescope hung out the window, angled at the stars. I picture Dom Pedro II, a revered scholar in his own right, waltzing over to the telescope after a long day of being rich and bored, his hands parked neatly behind his back, he hunches down at the telescope and oogles his slaves washing in a nearby river under the Portuguese Cypress. ‘Look at the rack on that cunt’ he purrs to himself. His wife enters unannounced. Normally he would hear her coming up the stairs, her heavy steps pounding the jacaranda hardwood giving him plenty of time to make any necessary readjustments. However today she has slithered her way in an uncharacteristically stealth like manner. Thankfully, and unbeknownst to Dom Pedro at the time, his erection had ferreted it’s way into the hem of his corset, disguising it’s protrusion. Calmly he dips the lens to the floor, turns, for once recognising her presence, ‘The fields are teeming with Capybara this morning dear.‘
WHEN IN RIO
Ah yes, travel blog, tips and advice, I remember. Petropolis is certainly worth the visit. As well as the Imperial Museum and the Catherdral, you can have a tour of the Bohemia Brewery. Although parts of the tour were lost in translation, it was cool to get some beer and an idiots guide to fermentation and distillation. I had a burger from the cafe and it gave me the shits, but hey, it’s a brewery, not a Michelin star restaurant.