Well, the day I had been dreading for so long had finally arrived: 23rd September, one year on. Now it was here, I felt strangely excited about the prospect of going home. It’s not that I’d missed England much, and there was more I wanted to see; I’d been gutted not to view Bolivian landscapes Garfield and Speckled Jim were currently witnessing. But I was pleased I’d done Peru some justice, though could have seen more. There’s always next time. I think I was just a little fatigued, and road-weary.
I bought myself a new pair of trainers in Rio; my old ones could have walked home all on their own, and I would have been embarrassed turning up in London wearing them. The new ones have split already, incidentally, so I may head back to Rio to exchange them: I still have the receipt, you bastards.
A girl from the hostel wanted to join me on the bus to the airport. I didn’t blame her, there were some shady characters hanging around the streets as darkness enveloped Ipanema’s back streets. She wouldn’t stop talking though, and as she arranged her bags on a seat I chose one a few rows back, preferring to be alone with my thoughts as the lights of Rio danced by my window; the pretty girls in dresses laughing in the street; smiling as we passed a 5-a-side pitch with locals still playing at 10 at night.