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Mission Accomplished

Posted from: Cardiff
I was sitting in the office in Cardiff on a rainy day, trying to make sense of some expenses when Sam asked me: "Can you go to Brazil tonight?" English is not my first language and sometimes I don't understand people. As always when I don't understand I nodded and said: "Yes, yes," and before I could amend my mistake a flight had been booked by the super efficient Jo and I received a paper with instructions: a man was going to meet me in Heathrow at 4 am and give me an envelope, then I had to flight to Brazilia to deliver the envelope to another contact in a place that he would confirm at the last minute. The envelope contained a key piece for a shooting device. I mean, how cool is that? I had just turned into a Bond woman!!

After standing for one hour in the check-in queue in Heathrow at 5am I felt extremely unglamorous. This doesn't happen to Bond women, I thought. I was relieved I hadn’t opted for the stilettos.

I flew for 10 hours in the unglamorous economy class and then arrived in Brazilia to meet my contact. He had a smiley friendly face, very unlike a spy, and was with his lovely wife to prevent him from being seduced and revealing all the top secrets.

I had to fly back to England the next day so at about midnight I decided to get a cab and drive around Brazilia. What I saw made it worth the trip. The science fiction architecture was built in mad massive shapes and lit in fantastic colours. Often it was all reflected in water features, or vast marble surfaces. The city was empty at that time of night. It was like a nuclear war had wiped out humankind and Carlos, the taxi driver, and myself were the only survivors and hope for the future of human kind. I couldn't believe this city is in the same country as the Amazon! I was saying "wow" all the time, and sometimes my "wow" would end in a yawn because I had been on the go for 48 hours.

Buildings in Brazilia
Science fiction architecture - the National Congress building

Carlos told me that the city is organised in sectors: the ministries sector, the banks sectors... I was wondering where the food sector was because I was getting really hungry. There were no cafes, nothing in the whole desolate city but we managed to find a McDonald's, the only place that had survived the nuclear war. As we drove across the empty wide avenues with five lanes I tried to explain to Carlos how you have to manoeuvre a car along the narrow streets of Bristol when another car comes towards you. He was trying hard to imagine what it was like and finally asked me if I had a postcard of a street in Bristol as he couldn't picture it. The concept of narrow doesn't exist in Brazilia.

Finally we stopped to eat our burger in front of two massive towers with an inverted plate by the side of them, lit in spacecraft white colours and reflected in a pond that looked as deep as the towers. The places you find yourself, I thought: first I was in the Andes, then in the Amazon jungle, then in Cardiff and now in a massive and empty science fiction set, eating a burger with Carlos.


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