And now back to our regular programming.

1 05 2007

I know I promised pictures from my second trip to Rio. But my camera never actually came out of my bag, just as the sun never actually came out from behind the clouds, which would therefore necessitate my camera coming out of my bag to use. Get the picture? No sun, camera in bag = This Trip Was So Not Carnaval.
But that’s okay. It was interesting to go back to Copacabana and see the differences. Cat Head had warned me that it would be totally different. And it was, generally speaking, totally different in that the streets weren’t crowded or as noisy. It was a quiet, relaxing beach where we went and it was lovely. We did venture out to Lapa our first night to hear samba, but when we realized it was going to cost a ton of money to get into this one particular place, and after we had just gotten screwed by our cab driver, we opted for sitting in the restuarant directly opposite from the place we wanted to go, watching the line to get in get longer and longer, and never actually heard any samba. We went back the next day, too early to hear the music, and then decided we should probably go back home to Campinas since the sun wasn’t out and we both wanted to be at the beach. I think the next time I go to Rio, I have got to go during a time when it’s not beach weather so that I can force myself to do things that don’t revolve around going to the beach and so I’m not completely disappointed when it’s bad weather so I can’t go to the beach. And that sentence was stunningly unreadable.
Point is: no sun, no real samba, but lots of relaxation. And since this was technically a long weekend, which by nature is a time for relaxation, I was doing exactly what it was I normally do, just in another city. We had amazing food though: mandioca (aimpim) that melts in your mouth, and a steak sandwich that would cost in the States anywhere between $15 and $25. It was absolutely delicious. I think the best mandioca I’ve had has been grown in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The best we had was in Trindade (the tiny hippie beach we went to south of Paraty, also in RJ state), and the two times we ordered it here in the city of Rio immediately went up on our list of Best Mandioca Ever. But I digress. Or may I don’t do anything but talk random shit, which may very well be the cue to stop writing.
But just as I joyfull overlooked the price of the hotel room over the weekend, I will joyfully overlook the fact that I needed to stop typing and will, in fact, write more.
One thing that’s nice about having Dennis here is that he is constantly making me aware of all the things that used to be new to me. For instance: bufffets. Brazil is the country of buffets. This place has buffet EVERYTHING. Buffet snack, buffet breakfast, buffet desserts, buffet dinner, buffet soups, salads, cheeses, drinks. It is unreal. If you love buffet, you automatically love this country. Buffet icecream, people. They have entire chain buffet icecream stores. And they’re packed constantly. It’s a wonder this country isn’t fat, becuase collectively they’re very thin. With all these buffets, I’m not sure where all the calories are going. Maybe they get shaken out during all the samba-ing.
Talking, too. Brazilians LOVE to talk. I don’t think I feel nervous anymore about talking to people because I know they’ll spend so much time talking that all I have to do is listen and nod my head like I understand what they’re saying. Truth is, most of the time I do. But when taxi drivers are explaining things like why they didn’t take such-and-such road to get to the same place we found ourselves in that moment, I kind of do my nodding and “ahhhh,” noises and get by. Talking on the telephone scares the shit out of me still. I had to buy bus tickets over the phone twice and it is like trying to convince myself to go running: mental torture. Talking face-to-face is one thing, but talking over the phone when there’s no eye contact or not hand gestures to further my understanding is something else entirely.I don’t know how it happened but when I called on Sunday at 4pm to buy TWO tickets to return MONDAY from Rio at 1:20pm, the attendant entered into the system that I wanted to buy ONE ticket to return SUNDAY at 1:20 in the MOST EXPENSIVE type of seat, on a bus that had already left when I was calling. It turns out it wasn’t my fault and I squared things away when I got to the bus station at the right time on the right day.
Ah, but it feels good to be home. My house is all cluttered but at least it’s my house and it’s free and my boyfriend is busy in the kitchen making me a kiwi caipirinha with our new muddler from Rio. We are going to watch a movie, eat some pizza, and then go to sleep and enjoy our last day of the long weekend.
Oh, did I tell you the story of how one of my teacher friends split her pants in front of her students the other day? No, I guess I didn’t. And for her sake, I won’t. But let me tell you, I never laughed so hard and at the same time wanted to thank god it wasn’t me. And now that I’ve just typed that, I am very sure something even more embarassing is going to happen to me. But that’ll just be more fuel for this writing fire and you’ll all benefit from a good laugh.




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