Blast from the Past

26 May

I picked up Kaitlyn from the airport feeling nervous and sleepy after a night with little rest.  I’m not sure why. maybe it was because I was worried what she would think of the city, about me. What if it wasn’t as cool as Mykonos I wondered.  We hadn’t traveled together ever before and I wanted it to go really well.

I was leaning against the wall when she tapped me on the shoulder.  Somehow I had missed her even though I was keeping watch like a hawk.  I must have slipped into a daydream as per usual, or maybe she slipped by incognito with her new brownish hair.

I couldn’t believe she had actually arrived.  It was such a spontaneous decision on her part and I was grategul, because it was great to see someone from home, and especially her.  She looked good, and relaxed, not like someone who was working 16 hour days, though I would come to find out just how stressful her job really was.

We took a bus to the city; I was poor and anticipating an expensive week.  But it was just what the doctor ordered, a really nice introduction to the city, almost like a tour.

I started to explain the topography of the city to her, so that she’d get a feel for where I live, and where we were headed to but she already knew it all.  She had googled my address earlier and saw that I lived dangerously close to a patch of green on the map, which didn’t mean a park but a favela instead.

We exited from the bus and walked over to my apartment.  The druggies were out and about that day so thankfully there was nothing sketchy to show her yet.

Back in my apartment, I was surprised to see that she actually dug it.  Good, because I spent the better part of two days cleaning it, even the bathroom. I think she liked the fact that I finally had my own place, living on my own.

Soon after, we were out and about Ipanema and we started with a jog along the beach first.  We were both on a health kick and she was feeling lethargic from sitting on an airplane all night.  It was a good way to get aquanited with the beaches, and we ran all of the way to Leblon and back.

It was a beautiful day and after the jog we drank a capirinha (Brazil’s national drink) on the beach.  Straight alcohol with some sugar and fruit make this cocktail a dangerous weapon beacuse it feels like you’re just sipping on juice.

Getting hungry, we washed it down with an acai which sobered us up quickly, and ruined our appetites for the rest of the day.  Acai is a berry from northern brazil, from the jungles of the amazon that supposedly has tons of health benefits.  Back in Rio de Janeiro, acai is mixed with guarana syrup, a fruit of your choice, and granola and ice and takes on a purple smoothie/jello type of texture.  Great energy booster but pretty caloric as well.

Then, just as it was getting dark, we headed to the group of rocks that separate Ipanema from Copacabana.  There we tried coconuts filled with water that took a machete to break open.  Kaitlyn didn’t really like the taste but then again neither did I when I first tried it.  We meant to catch the sunset on the rocks but the sky was dark and stormy and the sun stayed hidden.  So much the better though because the famous mountains of Ipanema took on a more unique, more ominous look than usual.

Still full from the Acais of earlier, we opted for a more casual dinner of a few appetizers.  We ate in one of the lake’s small restaurants with a view of the water and mountains.  It was an Amazonian themed bar and we sat under a thatched roof with cool music and an awesome ambience.

It was Wednesday night and I heard Democraticas was especially good, so we decided to hail a cab straight there.  That’s when Kaitlyn probably felt sketchy for her first time.  Cabs in a foreign country are never fun and the complely new language took control out of her hands.  We waited for a while in the darkness of the night until a taxi finally stopped, and I showed him my poorly scribbled address which he seemed to have heard of.

I told her how Rio could be one of the most amazing cities during the day but turned threatening at night; which was a shame because the sun set at a regretable 5:30 in the afternoon.

The club was in Lapa and though the Arches were empty, the bars were jumping off throughout the area for sure.  We climbed the stairs into Demacraticus and after raving about the cool samba sounds, we were met with an accordion and a band playing foha (a type of folksy sounding music from northern brazil).  A culture experience for sure, but definitely not the sounds we were look for.  We pounded our beers and admired the couples dancing away to the music.  These were guys our age and we wondered whether it was a popular thing to do, or whether foha attracted the dorkier type.

We left almost as quickly as we came and Kaitlyn wanted to walk to the next club.  Feeling protective and detemined not to get mugged on our first night in town, I hailed a cab to go looking for a new club.  He drove us around in circles getting annoyed at my language skills and lack of specific destination so we decided to eject and walk around instead as originally advocated by Kait.  I hate it when girls are right…

We ended up at Carioca de Gema, which was the scene of a blackout night with me and Stuart sometime ago.  I had almost picked a fight there that night and had been nervous to return.  But it was a great samba club and I figured the odds of anyone recognizing me were slim.

Indeed the spiral staircase and the samba musicians was a sight unlike anything we have back home and we spent our first night dancing the night away, dancing like gringos that is.


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