taxi cab confessions

24 Apr

A working glass dish.  That’s what Fernanda called the massive portion of beans, rice, chicken, and cornmeal I’ve been having on a regular basis.  She almost seemed embarrassed for me.

A month ago I was pointed onto a local restaurant serving up hearty meals for about 4 dollars.  I headed over and discovered an intimate looking eatery sitting on a corner a few blocks from the heart of Ipanema.

A line of taxis on the street revealed the small restaurant to be quiet popular with cabbies, a good sign considering taxi drivers know the city better than anyone else.

A small barricade separated two sections of the restaurant, the tablecloths from the bare wooden tables, the expensive dining room from the row of tables on the street, the expensive menus from the ones the cabbies coveted.

It turns out,the Prato Faito, the meal I’ve come to love, can only be had sitting at the bareback tables on the street.  It doesn’t come served with a smile at Paz y Amor, but its hearty portions will keep you stuffed and satisfied.  Trying their homemade hotsacuce, a chilli paste of sorts,  is also a must.

I didn’t realize how class conscious Rio de Janeiro is, but I suppose the signs are everywhere: the upper-class guy from Ipanema afraid to be seen on the streets of Lapa, Sticky and Mick’s response to the favela, the way Dee gave money to the jugglers.  The less than modest doctor in Salvador who made sure we knew his house was the most expensive in all the city.  There was that furtitive glance of Sarah’s, when she thought I wasn’t looking and she checked out my watch’s brand.  The long lines to get into the right nightclub.  Golf clubs.  County clubs.  Five start Hotels.  Sounds like a divided Rio.  Sounds like it rivals any other cosmopolitan city.

I’ll keep on vising my boys on the corner of blank and blank.  Of course, it’s easier playing the righteous role when you’re out traveling. But just how immaterial have I become?  Brief bouts of inspiration to lead an ascetic life, especially after watching movies like Into The Wild, usually fade as quickly as they come.  I miss my car.  I need the luxury of an apartment to myself.  I look on enviously when I see a shirt I can’t afford to buy in a nice shop.  I’d like incredibly loud ipod speakers and maybe a new watch too.

But I will return a different person, I know that much.  I won’t be pursuing the kind of life I thought I’d have just a few short years ago.  Money is not a priority.  Not right now.  I know that physical possessions will not make me any happier.  Now I just have to implement those ideas in a society that will surely pull me in the other direction.

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One Response to “taxi cab confessions”

  1. Marina May 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    lets see how you feel when you’re back to nyc happy hours every night and a manhattan apt

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