Brazilian Adventure Day 8 long walk on the beach, white pony, farewell Rio

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

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Brazilian Adventure Day 7 Trip to faraway beach, caju fruit, sk8rs, churrasqueria

My friend me woke me up with a plan. Put on your swim trunks and we will swim today and catch some sun! I was all in. Who wouldn’t want to swim in a promised cool beach in Brazil?! We drove probably an hour an a half south of the city. Everything just suddenly ended! The sprawl of building and concrete gave way to sand.

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I decided to let my friends swim first, I would go after they were done. My friend was so nice to let me come down, meet his family and stay at his house. I wanted him to have a lot of fun with his lady. I was the 3rd wheel so the more alone time they had, the more they would think of this as their trip.

I put headphones in and played a Brazilian radio mix on my phone. I had about an hour of chilling alone time on a Brazilian beach, watching fine ladies swim and dudes bobing  in the water. Rough waves. By the time I got in it was a no go. Just huge waves crashed down on me. It was really a game of do not drown in this part of the ocean.

Soon enough we all wound up on our towels, drying off and taking in the sun for about an hour. We hopped into the compact and away we headed towards a new part of town. We met his parents at a roadside bar. They brought cashew fruit! I couldn’t believe it and figured my friend had a hand in their fruit decision. There it was, a red fruit attached to a much larger cashew nut. My friend’s dad explained that you couldn’t eat this cashew nut yet. I paused chewing on the fruit but he said that part was totally safe. The cashew nut we eat is a seed roasted. You have to dry out and evaporate whatever is in the cashew nut that is bad for humans if eaten raw. In the span of 1 day I drank caju fruit juice and ate caju or cashew fruit having never know they existed.

We were heading towards my friends family apartment near a trendy part of town. I was in shock. They had so many houses and places to stay, why we could have easily stayed in a different part of town every night. Amazing. We decided to just park the car and walk the outdoor mall. We had about an hour or 2 before we met our friend for a night of meats.

The outdoor mall was great and pretty much like an American mall. Jewelry stores, a useless bong/weed trinket store, shoe stores, panda express, that sort of things were here, minus the ceiling. It was outside, very cool!

A hasty change in the apartment restrooms and I was ready for a night out! The plan was to drive over to a true Brazilian steakhouse, a churrasqueria. Our friend was all smiles as we walked up. The place was named El Toro and it was full bull. I mean this was truly a house of meats! I’ve never eaten so much meat nor so much quality meats as at this place.

Pork steak chicken bacon organs all were served on long skewers and you had to wave servers off to stop serving you. Hell even when I tried to wave them off they still shaved off some meat onto my plate. I think they didn’t want me to have an empty spot on my plate. The salad bar was a vegetarians dream, the sides could have worked too if you didn’t care about butter. The mashed potatoes were yellow with butter and wonderful. A huge yet delicious and distinctly Brazilian dinner experience. It cost maybe 20$ and my plate was never empty, my glass never dry.

Next to the meat heaven was a skate park. I just walked over there and started watching. I had to see sk8rs. They are good in Rio, great tricks. My friends indicated they wanted to go to another bar a few miles away. We headed out and ran into parking issues again. Once we found a spot we lasted 1 beer before the new friend that joined us got tired. I was ok with this, my belly full of meats.

To my surprise yet delight my friends said they wanted to grab a beach bev. We found a table at a bar on Ipanema Beach. On 1 side of the bar a guy was chopping coconuts by the order. My friends got one and this guy took a round or football shaped coconut down to just white rind and a straw hole in about a minute. Fast chops took off the rough husks, then a well placed strike for the straw hole. I bought a beer because I had the national beverage of Brazil already so I had to drink local brews.

To our left in the distance were the favelas, all lit up on the side of a mountain. Dots of fires flickered in the dark skies. The poorest of the poor had likely the best views of Rio, especially at night. These shanty towns were a huge squatters areas the whole side of a mountain to one side of Rio. Each neighborhood was run by a local leader who made all the deals. Watch City of God to get an idea of what Rio favelas were really like. To my horror there are favela tours one could take. You could tour where people lived in abject deliberate poverty. Rio, Brazil could totally pay for and fix these areas. They could plug them into the existing city services, but they choose not to. No reals, no pipes.

I looked up to the favelas for a long while pondering what made us different, those up there and those down on the beach. What did it all mean? If you don’t have money are you are out of luck? Why can’t we find jobs and houses for everyone? If you live in a neighborhood, why not pay people to keep that part of their town trash free? The city could pay by the pound of trash turned in each day.

Heavy thoughts on our final night in Rio. Behind us were kids and adults playing soccer after midnight. Waves crashing, moon beaming, scaffolding going up. The next weekend was a huge beach concert. Over 1 million people were due to be on the beach for new years. Intense, I thought there were all ready too many on the beach and it was November, non tourist time!

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On the way to the faraway beach we stopped near the favelas to take some pics of the far side of the beach.
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Pretty much the ending shot in Fletch were he walks the beach with his new lady.

Brazilian Adventure Day 6 Christ the redeemer, more Ipanema beach views

Another early morning despite the late night. Instant coffee and the last bread for my sandwiches, also fruits were had for morning meal. Today was going to be the day for the records. We planned a full day going to the large Jesus statue that overlooked Rio! It was the most recognizable thing in Brazil! I was super excited because to me in many ways before my trip this Jesus statue was Brazil to me.

We could walk to the bus pick up spot which was blocks from the apartment. A long wait, the buses weren’t on time so that sucked. Soon were loaded onto a bus. It took over an hour drive from Ipanema Beach to the top of the mountain. The driver snaked back and forth through narrow turns until we were high up. I saw many people walking the road up to the Jesus. Some had to have been on some sort of pilgrimage. Others were just poor and couldn’t afford the bus ride. Yes bikers were around too, peddling with all their might up the hills.

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I was fascinated by Jesus’ rarely seen back.
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It is extremely crowded on the lookout area of the Jesus.
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Is this an idol, a graven image? I don’t know but a lot of people sure looked at it that way.
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Beneath the Jesus is a small church, my friends used the moment to go in to pray, light a candle.

After a couple of hours at the statue, we loaded back onto the bus, I was seated next to the driver in a seat that probably should not have been there. I was sliding left and right the whole way down. I was super happy we made it down the mountain. Some very sharp turns!

I once again headed out to the tourist bar and saw my friend the bandleader. The friends I came with stayed in which was cool. I mean I sure hope they were connecting and making love without me around. I located a chair at the bar, waved to the bartendress and the bandleader.

Una caipirinha por favor!’ I asked.

Tonight I encountered a native of Seoul, S Korea. He was straight up gangsta. I mean he had a legit Brooklyn, Bronx accent, ya know what I’m saying? It would not surprise me if he had learned a lot of English via rap, hip hop music. He was tore up when he arrived. I mean he could barely stand yet he maintained. He kept talking about this place in Korea or Bangkok, some distant land that Rio reminded him of. He laid out what you could expect.

Yo so you get like a for real tray of shots for like 5 dollas or some shit! Real.’

He did end up buying me a beer and a shot of Jack. I was happy to take it with him. Here’s to that dumb war the US started after WWII that is still technically going on Koreas! May you be reunited.

N. Korea remains the rock the world does not want to pick up. Its like everyone knows it is going to be bad if we saw what is really going on there. It may be holocaust level atrocities. Thus the world and especially China just tells everyone to leave them alone, they are special.

My friend the bandleader came over so I was able to switch back to caipirinhas. I was still alternating between beer and cachacas. 

A quick visit tonight, my friend said his daughter and son would be in town tomorrow. He couldn’t stay out all night, he had to see his kids. I got the impression he had missed visits due to his drinking in the past. I did not try to keep him out longer, I said yes let’s call it a night. Why did I need to stay out late? It was a wise decision, as I passed by a group of youths clearly smoking grass when a swarm of cops swooped in on foot to bust up their party. I decided to walk the other way to the apartment. I always try to avoid police. I may be mixed up in whatever they are investigating . Hey I’m a tourist from a wealthy country, even if they were wrong, a modest fine wouldn’t make up for being arrested 

Before I walked back to our apartment I paused and gazed at the moon over the ocean on a cloudless night. A memory to treasure, so is Rio.

Brazilian Adventure Day 5 a dip in the ocean, Ipanema Beach views, gondola ride, caju

It was a cloudy, overcast morning. I woke up and started coffee. A shower was in order in a very small bathroom. The shower was tiny. just enough room to soap up. I had just bought some quick dry boxers so I was able to wash a pair with my daily shower and wear another pair. I draped the damp pair in an inconspicuous location in the restroom. I warned my friends that I had a drying pair but not to worry it had been washed with soap.
The plan was to hit the beach and then check out a nearby rock if the clouds cleared up. We had to wait it out, the forecast wasn’t accurate. I put on my swim trunks, sandals and we headed out. The sand and water were blocks away, a very short walk. I was the only one to swim today, it was a rather overcast and cool, not the ideal conditions to swim. Neither was the water as I found out. The waves in Rio are extreme, you cannot just float or bob in the water as I had been used to swimming in lakes or Gulf of Mexico. Here waves were always rolling in and over your head. You typically just ducked waves and swam around them as they crashed. I soon swam back to shore.

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My friend told me about one of these island only has poisonous snakes on it. There are so many snakes scientist have never bothered to explore it.

After drying we walked over to the end of the beach, where there was a trail over the rocks. People had fishing lines in the water but I am not sure what one could catch here. There was a lot of graffiti on the rocks to my surprise. Kids are dumb all over, just tagging things that are best left untouched.

 

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After a hour on the rocks the clouds cleared up. We walked to the car and piled in. We zipped around a new part of town. When we parked, a guy standing around waved us in. My friend handed him a real note and we walked toward the gondolas. My friend explained that in this neighborhood it was that guy’s job as far as parking cars and ensuring no damage occurs while they are there. The question was is the damage caused by this guys’ neglect or does he bash up cars if you don’t pay him?

Before heading onto the gondolas my friends tell me they are hungry and want a snack. We enter a fruit joint where I see they have acai. This is a fruit I had only heard about due to my job. We had just rolled out an acai slurpee but I knew this wasn’t that fruits real flavor. I ordered a small bowl and was shocked when a huge cup overflowing with a dark purple semi soft mass was handed to me by the girl behind the counter. It was super delicious once I got a spoonful in me. After a few bites my friends told me I should get a caju juice to quench my thirst. After a couple of more spoonfuls of acai I was suddenly very thirsty. I got a caju juice and asked my friend what it was after I nearly sucked down my cup in 1 gulp.

‘Its cashew juice. I grew up drinking it, it is all over Brazil. Haven’t you heard of it,’ my friend asked?

Wait a cashew is a fruit that you can get juice from?! I thought it was just a nut!

After my cashew revelation we boarded the gondola up the mountain which soon afforded us great views.

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I watched a plane land on this runway. I was properly terrified for the passengers and crew.

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After a couple of hours wandering the grounds of the mountain, we had to get back to town. Those parking spots filled up fast! We decided to take a walk down one of the main roads and would pop into a place to eat based on what looked good. We stopped by the apartment for a quick wardrobe change so the compact was navigated through the thick Rio traffic until we found a spot. We walked about a mile before we found yup an all you can eat buffet! The lone difference worth noting was we were soon joined by an American girls basketball team. I knew this because they were all tall and fit ladies. It was so great dining on delicious Brazilian food with a view of pretty ladies. I don’t think my friends girlfriend liked the experience mainly due to the long table full of very fit attractive women. 
Back to the apartment and my friends wanted to stay in. I went out again but this night the whore bar was closed. I guess it wasn’t a 7 days a week spot. A couple of blocks and I found another huge outdoor seating bar. A venture in and I had a Brasilian set up a tiny table: liter of beer in a cooled vessel and a glass cup. I scanned the tables and surrounding businesses. Yup that is a strip club across the street. I was not tempted to enter. Those places are just tourist traps. They are in a tourist area, Ipanema. Everything is in English thus not for people from Rio. Its on a street corner. I figured I would people watch as they spilled out after a frustrating evening.
Litres came my way. I noted more than 1 table was engaged in chess. One guy made a hand signal to an apparent homeless guy who disappeared behind a building. The homeless guy returned with a pack of cigarettes. The chess player then motioned to the bar proprietor and a litre of beer was delivered to the homeless guy. Ah Ha so there were shops open late, you just had to know the person who knew where they were! Across the street groups of guys went inside the strip club in joyous spirits only to exit 1-2 at a time, forlorn and dour. Without fail guys poured out of the club and would be in the midst of a yelling argument with a lady or the bouncer. The club knew what they were doing and would squeeze as much reals as possible from tourists, usually British, before ejecting them for some infraction. No refunds! I enjoyed my light Brazilian beers taking it all in. I got another litre and soon smelled that smell while sitting at my table. I investigated.
Sure enough 2 guys were passing a joint and I joined in. No sooner had I taken a couple of puffs and handed the joint back to one of the guys, an angry man announced himself. We were taken to task for being so brazen with our smoking. Kids may walk by or families! I chuckled due to the time, it was well after midnight, no families out. He was adamant, next time the police! I sauntered back to my litre. It was a great night of drinking and people watching. I nearly stayed up all night! It was around 3am I had a notion of staying up to see the sun rise over the ocean. It was only the realization that the sun would come up away from the ocean that I made my way back to our apartment. Tomorrow the Jesus!

Brazilian Adventure Day 4 Park walk, record store, Ipanema beach apartment, tourist bar

My friend and I decided after waking up we were very hungry so we headed off to a store my friend visited before school when he was growing up. On our drive I became aware that there were no stop signs nor yield signs. It was expected that everyone just slowed down at every intersection so they were slow enough to stop if they encountered another car or hit the gas once they saw it was clear. I didn’t see 1 wreck or damaged car on this entire trip so it seems this way worked.

It was a quick delicious breakfast, coffee and croissant. We were going to eat again soon so no reason to go all out and get some eggs or anything heavy. There were a lot of breads, pastries, cakes and pies in addition to hot savory foods. It wasn’t like any grocery store I’d seen before, it was like how I hoped grocery stores looked like. Why don’t grocery stores cook more fresh foods at cheaper cost than buying things raw or uncooked? I feel we should all shop at grocery stores for hot chickens, meats and basic meals. Why bake a chicken, have the grocery store rotisserie chicken. Doing things this way will lower the cost of meats, well that’s what should happen.

We were en route to a park my friend wanted his girlfriend to see. Sounds romantic so I opt to walk a ways towards a small shopping area and explain to them to just meet me over there whenever they are done. A quick search showed there was a pub, record store so I was set for a couple of hours. My 1st stop wound up being my only stop, at the record store! It was so cool and cozy, by which I mean small but had an excellent selection. It was a well curated shop in the parlance of our times. I soon came to the attention of an attractive lady who soon introduced herself as the owner.

 

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She was actually from Portugal or Spain and had come here chasing a boy and never left. We talked local tunes, what sorts of things should I buy to remind me of my trip. She said to be sure to buy the original version of The Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Jobim. I soon knew I had to get something more substantial than a CD.

 

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I didn’t want to carry around a record for the rest of the trip as well as the long flight home. A t-shirt was the winner. Problem was this was Brazil, they are much smaller, skinnier than those from the US. I was directed towards a nook of the store, a pull on a unnoticed knob and a door opened up to a toilet-room. I mean literally when the door was closed there was enough room to sit at the toilet or look at the mirror. The sink was outside in the store. I pulled the shirt on and despite being at one of the lowest weights of my life a XL just barely fit. Satisfied I bought the shirt and postcard.

Near perfect timing on my part my friends had finished their walk through the park. I fully expected them to be engaged, I really felt like a 3rd wheel. We headed back to our side of town, I had my shirt ready to wear out that night. Tonight would be different, I determined as we passed the favelas. Tonight I would hit up the bigger bar on the beach. The bar in our building was cool but it was full of whores and no one would really talk to me like I had hoped. I wanted to talk to a local about Rio, about Brasil.

My friends turned in and I headed out. I was warned more than once to watch out for travestias, transvestites, men who looked and acted like women. No worries, I saw them before walking around the streets of the city. I wasn’t even thinking about talking to the female prostitutes that were in our very building, the ultimate in convenience. I guess I wanted to land a girl the old-fashioned way, to be interesting enough.

This bar was huge and to my surprise, ladies were on full display out front. I mean a literal line of women all wearing tight or very revealing dresses stood by the entrance. They purred right in your ear,  purred like cat, man! 

“Oh baby I’m so horny, take me home papi!”

My god it was unsettling how obvious it was, just ass on display like a meat market. Oh well, something for everyone, my option this night was inside.

I located a chair near the bar and ordered a caipirinha a beverage my friends said was a local option. It is a fruity drink made with cachaca raw sugar and lime. I would soon adopt this into my evening routine alternating between beer and a caipirinha. To my very fortunate surprise there was a live band playing all the Brazilian hits, bossa nova, reggaton, anything to get the crowd to dance. I spied a very lovely waitress and kept watch as my seat was near the waitresses beverage station. She had long dark hair pulled back into a tight bun, I guess I was intrigued by just how long her hair really was, it was a large hair bun!

Soon the piano player singer made his way next to me. We struck up a conversation after I thanked him for playing, in Portuguese I might add. It took literally, actually a minute to type in ‘how to say thank you for playing good music in Portuguese.’ He smiled broadly and said

Obrigato. Where are you from? What are you drinking?’

‘I’m from Texas and I am having a beer. I do enjoy caipirinha.’ I replied.

‘My friend you do not have to pay for a caipirinha anymore. Hahah, I live in this place, they give me as many as I drink. I drink a lot, lot. Many many cachaca! Let’s drink one now! Haha

This dude laughed at so many things, he had a permanent grin on his face. We sat and drank a shot of cachaca as well as a caipirinha. He had to go back on stage but he returned afterwards. I alternated beer and caipirinha going outside to take in the ocean breeze and people watch. The traviestas were painfully obvious. Like 1 step away from a bearded guy in a dress, just way too manly to be dressed like that. I went back inside once I encountered someone who insisted on trying to get me to go home with them.

I really liked this place, but soon determined the food was way overpriced for locals yet affordable from my perspective. It was a good option so long as you drank there. The food was around 15$ a plate which was expensive for Rio. My caipirinhas were maybe 3$, for sure my tabs here were significantly cheaper than Dallas. Plus I didn’t have to pay whenever my band leader friend was with me. It was a night full of win at the beach bar in Ipanema!

Brazilian Adventure Day 3 Trip across town, best buffet, dog mansion

We rose early and my friend told me the plan for the day as I made breakfast. Same everyday, instant Brazilian coffee, cold cuts, bread and whatever fruit was in the fridge. I believe today it was kiwi, something I rarely see much less think about eating. It was good and fresh. I poured a lot of milk into each cup of bitter coffee. That was the style down here, though. Instant coffee.

We were headed over to a different part of town where his parents lived. We would eat lunch at his favorite buffet in town, then I was going to hang out with his dad. My friend and his girlfriend were going to go to a dentist and physician. I was cool with that, shoot it involved food and a new part of town, I could figure out something to do!

We hopped in his brother or dad’s compact car, I filled up most of the backseat. We headed into immense traffic my friend talking and pointing out things left and right. Soon we came to a stop on a bridge, something my friend had told me about before we came down here. Sometimes gangs on bikes or mopeds would ride between the cars and rob as many as they could get away with. Thing was this was Brazil so most people had guns, even in their cars. There is a pretty good chance holding someone up you’ll get shot.

Nothing happened to us on this trip. We sailed into a different part of town passing by the favelas and lots of construction. We took an exit and were soon onto a main road through a neighborhood. Lots of houses, apartments and schools mixed in with small shops, grocery stores and restaurants. Just a neighborhood like any other outside Brasil.

We parked, well it always takes a long time to park, there are more cars than parking spaces but we always found a spot. We entered a non-descriptbuilding housing my friends favorite all you can eat buffet. These buffets are all over Rio and just about the only type of place we ate at during our stay. Several different salads with veggies and fruit, pastas, chicken, beef, meatballs, rice…option after option. This one was the most unusual as it had a grill so you could get steak, pork and other meats flame grilled. It was very good, high quality food.

You got a receipt the first plate you get, then each time you go up they take your ticket, weigh your items and add that trips total. You tell the lady when it is your final trip and everything gets totaled and you pay. 3 plates was pretty standard, a salad trip, meats trip and then maybe back for stuff you liked.

I am told to hop into my friends parents car as my friends take off on their doctor visits. My friend explained that this doctor had been his only doctor since he was a child. That’s rare in life, to have a life long doctor who knew your entire history. I was a bit envious as I had a string of doctors and dentists, a new one every couple of years. Maybe my records were forwarded on from one doctor to the next, most likely they were not.

We dropped off my friends mom at their house and headed for a pier. We parked and hit up a pub on the beach after walking until the path ended at a naval base. My friends dad was from Spain originally so I asked him about that country as I had been before. We talked about Spain and his career as an engineer. It sounded like because he knew English they moved him around so he eventually learned Portuguese as well as Mandarin Chinese. He lived and worked all over the world on short-term projects. It sounded ideal, just move somewhere for 6-8 months and then come back with a pocketful of cash !

He pointed towards the other side of the bay and explained that was where our beachfront apartment was located. I was just a ferry ride away.

 

 

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We ordered dark beer, he loved dark beers but would only allow himself 1 as he was driving. It was no problem, I was on vacation and would drink for the 2 of us!

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Eventually my friends arrived from their doctor visit and we again walked up and down the beachfront before hopping into his compact car and arrived to another one of their houses, the dog mansion. We got inside and it was huge, absolutely a mansion! 3 stories, rooms on each floor, one floor even had an alter a not uncommon room in Brazil. To my shock no one lived here, they let their dogs roam the yards. Shoot I could live here, feed the dogs, sweep, do whatever just not pay full rent haha.

We had to wait out rain if I recall but we made it down to the beach area for dinner and bevs. We got into a pretty long and heavy discussion about faithfulness and trust in a relationship. You’ve just got to have trust otherwise you aren’t in a real relationship. You have to believe your partner is either with you or is going to return to you. Monogamy or faithfulness is up to you, maybe you 2 can talk about it or maybe you don’t, maybe it is understood to not flaunt things, to see others discreetly. I figured what did I know, I was single, I had opinions.

We had several beers enjoying the cool ocean breeze as well as the sounds of a local band playing inside. Everywhere the windows were open, so we could hear as well as see the band indoors. Our meal consisted of some of the same things I saw my friend eat for lunch back in Dallas: rice and beans, mild yet flavorful sauces. I don’t know why I was shocked but there wasn’t anything hot and spicy here. It seems Mexico was the only country around that had hot chilies, peppers. Here it was simple food, rice, beans, fruits, that’s what everyone ate.

We made it home just before it poured rain. I mean poured rain, just tremendous amounts of water in a short amount of time. It made me wonder if anyone should have to pay for water. Just collect what rained and every house should have enough for showers, cooking and drinking. A glorious way to fall asleep!

Brazilian adventure Day 2 downtown Rio, giant skateboard, Santa Teresa Convent staircase

I was developing an extraordinary routine of rising around 10 in the morning, going to sleep around 2-3. My friends were in bed by 10, but awoke at the same time I did. I presumed that my late night excursions gave them some needed sexy time and I was happy to explore the area. 5-6 hrs hours of sleep was all I needed. I headed into the kitchen nook, poured myself a cup of coffee and ate a banana. The groceries included cheese, bread and oddly mortadella deli meat. This was my meal for the week; the only thing that changed was what fruit I ate. The coffee was Robusta and they didn’t have cow milk just almond milk. I always felt better after my cup of coffee with almond milk with a sandwich made from cold cuts and cheese.

Our plan this day was to take a train downtown to Rio to meet a friend for coffee. After a nice trip on the tram we were in a coffee shop. Espresso is king here. Get a small cup pause sip vigorously a couple times exit. I got a coffee with frothy milk on top and a small pastry my friends recommended I try.

 

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All were good. Everyone conversed in Portuguese so they could fully catch up. My new friend didn’t speak English too well so we had to communicate mainly through broken English, bad Portuguese. I learned he had been to a Pearl Jam concert the night before! Damn I really wanted to go to too but my friends weren’t fans. Had we known we could have gone together. I quite like the idea of seeing a show in another country

We tagged along while he ran an errand though I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was just staring at skyscrapers buses and people walking by. I had to show my passport once we arrived at a tall building. I learned on the elevator ride up we were retrieving a watch he had left to be repaired. Lots of security to enter both the building and a jewelry repair shop. I located a window and gazed out at the city below. When you’re in a new city even a mundane errand becomes an adventure if you’re elevation meets with a window.

 

 

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We caught a ride back to our side of town where we crossed over to a local skate park. I was able to borrow one.

 

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At some point we stopped into a cathedral.

 

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Our ultimate destination was a famous wall that followed a steep hill. Anyone can buy a tile while you are there. Artists are around to hand paint your tile. There is also an address where you can mail them a homemade tile.

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I was out of breath by the time I ascended the entire wall. Wondrous views of the city below. We caught a cab back to our side of town.

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Once again my friends elected to go to sleep early, so I headed out to explore the bars in our building. Yup the metal doors were up and they were serving liters.

Cerveja a yi, por favor,’ I asked.

A liter of beer and a small glass were brought to my table. The beer bottle is nestled inside a chilled container to keep it cold while you drink. I suppose it is more fun to pour a little of beer out vs wielding that litre with each drink. It certainly gave one something to do.

I saw an older guy who was there with a lady but what I could not determine is if this lady was his girlfriend or if he was paying for her company. They sat across the sidewalk from me, closer to the street. They talked for awhile, drank for awhile, occasionally a song would come on the video jukebox and they would dance. They laughed smiled and occasionally kissed.

I waved and smiled too, one lady would occasionally come over to my table just outside the gate. We would talk about the US, oh everybody wanted to hear something about life in the US. I told them as much as I could as real as I could. It wasn’t easy living in the US, Dallas specifically. Lots of bills, lots of taxes and fees to pay. I really enjoyed Rio and wondered why anyone would leave. This close to an amazing beach that ran for miles and miles, beautifully women everywhere, and it was very affordable dollarwise.