Once again breakfast of fruits and granola in yogurt this morning. A rare favorite, it is an adjustment, well I don’t buy as much yogurt granola fruit as I should. That was my morning meal. We had a late afternoon flight plenty of time to explore. I vowed to walk the entire length of Ipanema Beach, from rocks to rock, I would walk. My friends wished me well but they needed time to pack. I told them I would meet them at the apartment by a certain time to get to the airport. It was earlier than I wanted but I wasn’t one to argue. I had music to bide my time on the walk.
I did indeed turn on some music and walk down to the rocks on the far side of the beach. Off came my shoes and socks. I walked barefoot sometimes in the water sometimes on the sand. I made it the entire way from rock to rock only stopping once.
“Hey my friend, stop, una momento. Please, your hand senor.’ Said a suave man with a well manicured beard.
He took my hand and proceeded to tap out about a dime size bit of cocaine onto the meat between my thumb and forefinger. Whoa what is this! No way. No senor take it back! He sighed and scooped it back up.
‘Hey I thought you wanted some.’ He said. ‘All tourist want powder.’
‘No not for me, no coke. Never,” I said.
I waved and kept walking down the beach, holding socks inside my shoes, my feet in the water. Soon enough no matter how slow I walked, I had to meet my friends and his family back at the beachfront apartment. It was a great time, we chatted a long while as I gathered the few items not all ready in my backpack. My friends brother told me he worked for the mint, so we arranged a trade. I gave him all the reals and US dollars I had in exchange for un-circulated reals with extra bright animals. I could give these away as souvenirs. Like little pieces of art.
The whole family piled into 2 cars and headed towards the airport. It was a night departure, after 7pm. But this would put us into Dallas by 10am so as long as we could fall asleep we could wake up relatively unaffected by the timezone differences. They let non flyers well into the baggage loading area. I am pretty sure once we got stamped and approved to pass on we were allowed to go back to the family for farewells, within sight of the ever-present Brazilian military. To our surprise the friend we hung out with and got his watch fixed had driven to the airport to return a hat left in his car, also mainly to see his friends off to the US. It was quite a touching moment to see 2 long time friends hug. They went years between visits.
This flight I was prepared. I had a blanket, my air turned on, ambient music playing and a new friend called. I read up on this sleep aid and had brought several pills from the US. I swallowed 2 and was out like a rock for most of the flight in less than an hour. I totally elbowed the lady next to me to use the restroom midflight. Lesson learned, when you’ve got to go, go!
Brazil, land of many dreams from my childhood. The name Rio de Janerio conjured up so many feeling. Yes I had done it! I checked off a childhood dream trip! Rio de Janeiro