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Rio! Rio! Rio! April 8, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Travel.

So, we’ve arrived in Rio. Somewhat sleep deprived after the long-haulflight (with just the one diabolical in-flight movie: Little Black Book) we took things easy on the first day. The Brazillian way is to relax and take it as it comes.

Everyone smiles here, a symptom perhaps of the 30 degree heat and warm sunshine. Pedro (Ze!) lives in one hell of an apartment, on the intersection of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. It’s large, spacious and inspiring, full South American trinkets and befitting the family of an Economics Professor and a journalist. From the roof you can see it all: Ipanema, Copacabana, the busy Rio streets, islands lapped by the tide in the background, a handful of apartment blocks and the favelas (shanty towns) built high into the hills. Actually, Rio reminds me a lot of Malaysia: humidity, juice bars, coconuts by the beach, crazy drivers…..

We spent the morning walking down Copacabana, Chris sweltering in the mid-morning sun, Pedro doing more exercise than in the past three months. I loved it. We had a few beers at 9:30 in the morning and like everyone else, talked football. We took a long walk past the obvious tourists, swimming locals, beach volleyball games and goal posts labelled `Liverpool FC´. Every so often an advertising board says `Press here´, the button releasing a stream of vapour that supposedly cools you down (not much in the Rio heat!). We had an excessively huge lunch at the well-known but kitsch maritime restaurant Marius, that seemed to be playing The Lion King OST on repeat. It started with a fresh seafood buffet, oysters, mussels, salmon, crab, then an excess of BBQ meats brought fresh on the skewer to your table….and at very regular intervals. We had some of the best beef I´ve ever tasted, but they keep bringing more as it is all you can eat! Eventually you have to say no, otherwise you’ll explode. Pedro taught us some essential Portuguese: tude bom (I`m good), Tabon (ènough), obrigade (thank you) and foda si filla de putre (fuck you, you son of a prostitute).

Stuffed and knackered, we napped in the afternoon. The sun set suddenly and we went out at nine for a ‘few quiet drinks’. This of course involved a scenic drive right across Rio, a pretty city surrounded by lushgreen mountains, lakes, the sea, Christ the Redeemer keeping a watchful eye . We had drinks in the rather artificial shopping village of Downtown. Pedro introduced us to the vile paint thinner that is Cachaca -a Brazillian institution that apparantly tastes better when mixed with lime or other fruits as Caiperinia. We of course had it neat. Meanwhile, the extremely hot (and not in the temperature sense) Brazillian women displayed interesting tattoos. There is indeed plenty to see in Rio.

We drove back across town to another bar in the Leblon district. Cute hostesses invited us in and random porn videos played in the background as we sipped our beers. Ah Brasil, the Catholic country. The real party doesn´t begin until after midnight so we drove across to Botafogo and the famed mansion club Casa de Matrice (the matrix house- insert Neo joke here). It’s a wonderful place, with rooms playing drum and base and ´rock´(read 80s and 90s English hits). Another room had Ms Pacman and Space Invaders on an old Atari whilst another room screened Pokemon on a big-screen TV. I switched to Coke after saturation with alcohol and had a feeling this wouldn’t be the only time this week. Out of the blue and in typically dry style, Pedro said ¨See that girl, white shirt, black top…I shag-ged her¨. Chris complained that it was too dark to see who was pretty and who wasn´t.

We stopped at a gas station for a ´natural sandwich´ – the name being the only thing natural about it. Back home at 4am we sat on the apartment roof looking at the stars in the Southern hemisphere. This was “taking it easy”and this was only the first day.



1. PTA - April 10, 2005

Keep it coming!

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