Life is only interesting on the edges – Francis Bacon

Ever met a rent boy? Well I have now. Struggling into my cabin on the train to Krakow, I was greeted by Clebson, a Brazilian guy, who managed to talk for 10 minutes without breathing. Maybe that’s a necessary skill these boys learn. Actually the word rent boy is wrong here. He was the manager of a GAP store but when he needed extra money would meet old boyfriends and get paid fabulously for a few days ‘work’. Good work if you can get I suppose.

Clebson told me numerous stories about his life in Brazil, which he left when he was 12 after being raped by a policeman, his alcoholic mother, his 9 years in England, his Swiss doctor boyfriend who is boring but big, his Stringfellows stripper sister, his new life in Berlin and why he was going to Poland; which, of course was to have the operations to become a shemale. Fascinating stuff to be honest. He’d keep the penis as shemales make more money he told me.

It was a great journey. Clebson tried it on a bit but he knew I wasn’t biting so to speak!! It’s not often you get to ask questions about other sides of life and Clebson gave me an opportunity to ask about all the facets of a lifestyle many people shun as if they aren’t human. Life incorporates a broad spectrum of choices and should do.

When Clebson talked about the advice that his sister gave him, about doing what you have to do and not worrying what others think, his voice broke slightly and I understand. For those who have talked to people from the poorer sides of Brazil or even just heard stories, can attest to how brutal life can be there. Just follow the news now from Sao Paulo. It’s a country with the fifth largest population in the world, where crime is rampant and poverty unmistakable, bad things happen and when others seek to escape that, they should be applauded, not victimised, especially when they are working.

Clebson was a great guy. I’d far rather have a conversation like that than the usual travel comparison stories with other backpackers. If he comes over to England, I look forward to a beer.

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