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Where the contrasts are extreme but where also these contrasts blend in with the dramatic natural beauty and the unique charm of its people to form this imperfectly perfect place called Rio de Janeiro.

There is this unexplainable magic about Rio de Janeiro which I can’t find appropriate words to describe, I just know how I feel when I am on it’s soil, I feel light, I feel at peace and fulfilled. It is as if I only need to exist to feel happy and to reach the plenitude of this sentiment I only need to interact with anyone crossing my path, exchanging small talks with someone I just met at the beach, on the bus, supermarket or anywhere, telling them a little bit about myself and listening about their life, only because we want to hear about each other and we care about what we are talking during that small interaction and we want to wish each other all the best in our affairs and for the rest of our lives exchanging positive advices.

I would like to specially mention the taxi drivers with who this interaction goes even further, depending on the length of the ride, most sufficiently long for me to find out all about them, their ambitions, how they made the decision to be a taxi driver, what are their aspirations.

They find out a little about me too, difficult to believe but they are better story-tellers than I am and I  listen and marvel myself with their tales, their political views which we discuss and their funniest anecdotes interacting with their passengers.

I live this long and unforgettable story with them in a very short period of time and at the end when we say goodbye we advice each other that happiness is found in small things, that money doesn’t matter and we truly wish each other all the best!

I have been trying to understand why these exchanges bring me so much satisfaction and make me feel so good and without going into too much depth my conclusion is that the good feeling lies in the nature of these brief encounters as they are not driven by any interest other than an exchange of positive words and energy which are genuine for the time and context applicable and but without ‘buts’, feels good!

Thus Rio de Janeiro represents to me the simplest and purest concept  of what I consider happiness, found in small and spontaneous gestures which fulfil the soul needs and keeps that ongoing smile on my face.

But … how do I fit the contrasts and the unbearable social inequality within such noble sentiment I have for Rio de Janeiro, particularly for me an advocate of a fairer world where equality and freedom of choice are present, how could I be happy in what is the Wonder City for some and a Painful Reality for others?

This an unanswered question to me, I can only assume this connection is a calling for me to contribute and influence somehow towards positive changes for a better Rio, better Brasil and better world!