Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm Building Me A Home.

I really wanna know where Brasilian's are going with all this cement.  For real. Everyday there are men, women, children, babies, dogs, whatever, carrying bags of cement.  But I don't see anybody ever building anything. I don't see anybody mixing the cement.  I don't see anybody doing anything that requires cement.  Yet, everyday I see people carrying cement. WTH? 20 years from now are we gonna discover some crazy uber advanced plant in the middle of nowhere, where the cement is being carried undetected by individuals, and nuclear technology is being created or something? WHAT ARE YOU BUILDING BRASIL? And WHERE is it?

Anyhow, I'm discovering a true strong like/strong dislike relationship with this place.  And 2 months is never enough time to spend here.  Just like last year, when it's time to head home you think, "I was just starting to find my rhythm..." (not that I ever lost mine :-D).  I don't even know what I've been doing since I last wrote on this thing.  And so, this is why I'm not a blogger.  To be a blogger, one must blog.  And I think the word itself is so stupid that it's just not something I wanna do. Reminds me of the word booger.  And I don't wanna be a booger.  Plus, I'm super A.D.D. and have no way of keeping my thoughts on track, and so now I return to the point of this paragraph.  Right.  Strong like - I like Brasil in general.  Different energy.  Different culture.  Another way of thinking.  Another understanding of how to live. Strong dislike - Another way of thinking.  Another understanding of how to live.  These are not general statements.  Mostly I love other ways of thinking, and other understandings of how to live.  That's like...the beauty of life.  Wisdom.  Being open-minded.  Knowing that your way is not the only way, and most likely not the best way. But I'm referring to some very specific occurrences here.  And not even in other regions - but Rio specifically.

For example... what's up with 'customer service'? Or service in general?  Y'all don't have that here? Why is it so difficult to get ANYTHING done? "Can I have that without the chocolate sauce?" "No, it comes with the chocolate sauce."  "Okay, I know, but I don't want it.  I don't like chocolate sauce.  Can you just...not put it on?"  "No, it comes with the chocolate sauce."  "But ultimately, I'll be saving you both time and chocolate sauce because 1)you don't have to spend time swirling it across the top, and 2) you'll have extra left for whoever wants it."  "But it comes with chocolate sauce." Really?  Okay. Next.  Our refrigerator broke.  My mechanical expertise tells me that the motor has stopped running.  Something we can't break, nor fix.  So why is the landlord saying we have to pay to fix it because it occurred under our watch?  My friend wants to change her flight.  She called the airline.  They said "we can't do it on the phone, you have to go to the office."  She goes to the office. They said "we can't do it at the office, you have to go to the airport" (an hour away).  I'm pretty sure that when she gets to the airport, there gonna tell her she has to call.  This is bullshit. You need to get a document signed by a person in the next room.  You can see them.  They're right there.  Why does it take 2 months? And then... make the pizza crust in a way that in can be picked up.  What is this eating pizza with a knife and fork business?  And the worst thing of all is the panty lines.  You go to the beach - ass is completely out.  Booty gets a full tan.  Cheeks equally exposed on the sides.  You put your ass into some tight polyester (yes, polyester) pants... and NOW you decide to wear full booty draw(er)s?  The kind that are a little too small, and so display your bottom meat?  Now is not the time! Get the thong from the beach, yo.  Put that on.  And have a smooth booty.  Please.  Then, I'm not a needer of personal space when in other places.  That whole American "sit really far from anyone on the train" thing isn't really my thing.  But don't walk directly into me.  Know your body.  Know where it's going.  And know that the law of physics says it cannot possibly go in the same place as my body.  So don't attempt to put it there.  Lady watched me in the grocery store the other day, and practically ran up to me so she could push her cart into my heels.  Really lady?  And then she yells "OPA!" when I shove her cart into her gut.  No, lady.  That "opa" belongs to me.  You just looked at me, and in a determined fashion, ran behind me so you could push your cart into my heels.  My "opa." Thanks.  So yeah... I don't know what's up with some of these Cariocas.  Others are amazing.  And I strongly like them.  And oddly enough, with all of the bullshit, I sometimes still feel like I belong here.  Especially when I'm in Bahia. I see people that look just like me.  And that's kind of awesome.  They're like... my color.  My same shade.

Anyhow, been eatin'.  Been eatin' good.  Sometimes healthy.  Sometimes not so healthy.  If I cook it, likelihood is that it's healthy.  But if someone out there cooks it, likelihood is... it's delicious (and not so healthy).  Found an Italian place that has specials Mon - Thurs.  I got this.  And it was bomb.

The other day I had sushi for lunch at Minimok.
One of these days I cooked "sorpresa de espinafre." (But I know what's in it).
This, I did not eat.  But I felt it deserved its' space.  It's a hot dog.  A Rio hot dog.  Yes, those are potato chips on top.
Went hiking up Pedra da Gavea yesterday.  At some point, I'm pretty sure Jesus or one of them were carrying me up, cuz my legs went numb. From the bottom to the top.  842 meters. 2762 feet. To put that into perspective, the Empire State Building in NY is 102 stories, 381 meters tall, and 1250 feet high.  We climbed that twice.  With some leftover.  AND, with a large portion of it being rocks and vines.  Fun though.

Eating part = check.
Praying part = all during that hike, for sure. check.
Sans love = as we were climbing yesterday, one of the girls from the language school that I went hiking with said "Kami, are you dating anybody?" I said, "no, why?" She said, "I think that guys think you're out of their league." I laughed.  If it's hockey, I am.  I said, "ooookay.  I'm not sure that's it, though."  (I personally know it's a plethora of things; being out of their league is likely not one of them). She said, "They would have to work to get to know you."  "Ah," I said.  Then she said, "You don't have your green light on." Awesome.  I didn't even know I had one.

Beijos e abraços gente!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rio is all about the hips, but Bahia is all about the HEART.

Aw... I loved it when she said that.  I met a girl last night, from the states of course, who was talking about her experience with the different energies of Rio and Bahia.  Love them both - for sure - but there is definitely a different energy that you feel in Bahia when you step off of the plane.  She explained it thusly: Rio is all about feeling it in your hips, but Bahia is all about feeling it in your heart.  It's just much deeper.

I haven't even made it to Bahia this time around yet, but I certainly can't wait to get there!

Anyhow, this week has been semi-eventful.  I've managed to return to my routine walks around the awesome Lagoa.  It's about 7 kilometers around, and you walk through a few neighborhoods as you go.  Pretty cool - takes me a little over an hour because, well, I don't run.  I don't run, I don't jog, and I don't trot.  I walk.

Where did we last leave off? This week has actually been pretty work-filled.  Classes everyday - and they actually want us to do homework.  Lot's of it.  I'm like...really? We finally got sun this week, and you want us to spend all of our time... doing homework??? Yes.

Anyhow, I woke up today lacking good old-fashioned internet.  So, I'm in a cafe.  Booo.  And guess what cafe? GRINGO CAFÉ!  Woohoo.  I never come in here because the name is so cheesy, but it's right around the corner from the house, and so... here I am.  I did the Lagoa this morning, and then came here.  Today is pretty chill, and I'm probably going to keep it that way.

Yesterday was an awesome beach day! I missed most of it because I walked the Lagoa first, but I still got a few hours of sun love.  Plus, I actually got in the water for a total of about 3 minutes.  I went all the way in though - just got over it really quickly.  Ipanema beach, and others in Rio, are just not like those blue water beaches in the Caribbean.  If they were, I'd be out there everyday! But nope... the water is green. And a little gross.  So I stays away.

Anyhow, sidebar.  You know how dudes can be so annoying by refusing to act like people? You know how instead some may act as though they're desired by you when they're really not?  And you know how that feeling is just created in their heads, and no one ever gave them any idea that you may have wanted them in the first place? Well, yeah.  So I met this dude.  Cool dude, although I only knew him for a few minutes prior. Friend of a friend.  We're in Rio, so duh... meet up with people who know people you know in Rio.  I mean, that's always fun... at first.  So dude was cool, but then he started... I don't know... 'showing off.'  You know how dudes do that 'showing off' thing by saying really stupid things at the most inopportune times that would only be funny if someone attractive, or that you were at least mildly attracted to said it? So, yeah.  This dude started doing that.  And then they think you're mean when you give them the "that's dumb" look.  Dudes seem to equate being "nice" or being "cool" with wanting them. I don't get that.  I'm cool and nice to all dudes that are cool to me, and that by no means means that I want them.  And then when I realize that they have somewhere in their odd heads told themselves that there is a chance, I have to be a little 'shorter' in my words, and really make sure that every action is super-neutral.  But once you do that, they don't wanna talk to you anymore.  That's bullshit.  They start telling semi-sexist, completely-idiotic jokes for the benefit of the audience and the girl that, let's face it, can only be funny if you're super fine - and barely even then.  So why is it that when they go there and you try to politely be done with them, they get all super-dramatic and sensitive?  It's like, hey jackass, you're the one who just made a jackass out of yourself by ignoring social cues that everyone else seemed to receive, so don't be mad at me for having to be overly neutral in your presence because you chose to ignore the implied social cues that were big, bright, and obvious to everyone else.  It is because of you, and only you, that I have to now be overly clear about not even being slightly attracted to you.  And by that I mean SUPER DUPER OVERLY clear.  To the point where now... what?? I'm...mean? NO. You're just an idiot.  When I was nice to you, just like I am to everyone else, you wanted to take it to the head and think I wanted to utilize your sperm.  None of the other dudes did that! They were all normal.  It's just you, dummy! So don't have an attitude with me now cuz you forced me to give you a shutdown that would've been unnecessary if you would've just acted like a person!!!  (This is completely why this blog is sans love.  I'm just not in tune with non-human males, and those tend to be the ones that have no fear and will do the most in front of/for chicks).

Sorry for the vent.  That all occurred the day I went to the beach, so I was reminded when I started talking about how awesome the beach was.  Anyhoo...

That night, the roommie and I traversed the terrain down the street to a classmates apartment, which was on the 22nd floor, and therefore had a magnanimous view of the beach, mountains, and the lagoa.  Boom.  That's all I need to say.

Moving backwards, Friday night we ended up at Casa Mango Mango, a bed and breakfast in Santa Teresa where they randomly had live music!  Ok - I don't know if it was random, but it was completely off the beaten path, and outside of my knowledge.  They were a samba/bossa nova band, and they were awesome. I really wish I could remember the name, but alas, I cannot.  Anyhow, some older woman kept pulling me up to dance.  So what was I to do? Indeed,  I danced. And then danced some more. It was awesome.  Everything is awesome.  Even when it's not awesome. Awesome. So...

Continuing backwards, Tuesday and Thursday were both awesome Lagoa-going days for me.  As I stated earlier, it takes me about an hour and 10 minutes to get around the whole thing.  There is a dog park with a grand amount of golden retrievers.  There's an area for renting corny pedalinhos shaped like swans, and there are a few places to rent kayaks and do some rowing.  The Lagoa will also be the official location for the rowing games in the 2016 Olympics.  Sadly, there is also a guy selling churros with doce de leite.  It takes everything in my power for me to not purchase one in the middle of my workout/brisk walk.  But, I did seal my walk the other day with an agua de coco.  Estava bom!

So, what happens when I don't regularly check in is that I forget some of the cool happenings of the week.  That has happened here (insert sad face).  That, and the fact that Beach Sucos sells caiparinhas for R$6,50 and I had one last week during our lunch break, and one during class on Friday when we had class at the beach! OH YEAH, that's right.  Forgot - on Friday, we had class AT THE BEACH at one of the Skol kiosks!  Nothing like having class at a beer stand.  Oh, Brasil...

On another note, a colleague from school was here for a few days and we had an interesting conversation about being black and female here in Brasil.  She had met with a friend of hers who was feeling really depressed about her 'invisibility' in this country.  She's doing her work in another state (can't remember where).  Anyhow, her experience has been that people will pretty much just bump into her on the street as if she is not even there.  They mistake her for any other 'negra' they know, and oftentimes say things that are supposed to 'put her in her place' I suppose.  Once they realize she's from the U.S., their whole attitude towards her changes.  First, they have to speak to her in some way, shape or form to even realize that she is American, and therefore recognize that she is human.  And second, how sad is it that some of these people feel that black Brasilian women (and men too, I suppose) are invisible, and unworthy of even spatial recognition in the first place? It was interesting to hear, especially since I receive an ample amount of stares and comments because of my hairstyle.  It's quite like being on two opposite ends of the spectrum, but having the same sentiment.  She is less then human, and not worthy of being seen; I am a spectacle to be gazed at, and still possibly not human.  Although there is so much beauty across the Brasilian terrain, there is also a grandiose amount of ugliness.

Tchau my loves!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dear Brasileiros (and everybody else):

They were not slaves.
They were Humans.
Mothers. Brothers. Fathers. Daughters.
Living, breathing, humans who were barbarically enslaved.
You need to know who your ancestors were not to appreciate who they were.
Humans by nature.

When you say 'they were slaves,' you dehumanize them, just like those who enslaved them.  Africans were never slaves by nature.  They were people. Enslaved. When you speak about slavery, or YOUR OWN heritage, know that you do not come from slaves. You come from humans - beautiful humans - who were enslaved by animals.

There exists too much power in your words for you to just throw them around so wildly.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cool Things Happen.

After a late night on Friday, I woke up Saturday around noon!  I haven't done that in years. 9:30 is a late start for me, so noon was like... a lot.  Anyhow, after doing a little of this and a little of that, the roomie and I headed to Santa Teresa for a once a year festival they have called Arte de Portas Abertas, where a lot of people in the Santa Teresa neighborhood literally open their doors to guests and visitors and display their art.  It's from about 10am to 6 or 7 pm, and we headed out at around 3pm.

We decided to take the bonde because it's one of those things you have to do at least once when going to Santa Teresa.  Although truth be told, the French tourist who took it last week will only ever have one opportunity because he died on it.  Well, technically not on it.  He leaned over, lost his balance, and plummeted to his death - right by the Arcos da Lapa where we were the night before.  Anyway, we weren't the only ones on this festive Saturday that thought experiencing the bonde was a good idea.  No, no... we weren't.  We did meet some friends on the line, although they were about 8 and 14 years of age.  But they were a blast to talk to, and kept the line moving!  The 14 year old girl said she thought Lil Wayne was cute.  I'm glad someone does.  Anyhow, the bonde runs about every 15 minutes, and takes about 40 people each ride, and the line took us about an hour and a half! So leaving at 3pm, getting to the bonde station at 3:30, waiting an hour and a half for the bonde, and then taking a 20 minute ride on the bonde up the mountain left us arriving in Santa Teresa around 5:30, starving.  So rather than look at art, we went straight to food.

A year ago, I had the bombest meal at a place called Espirito Santa, so we went there. Because the food was so good the last time, we ordered the tasting menu so that we could try a few different things. WORSE. MISTAKE. EVER. I now HATE that place.  And I don't hate anything.  They gave us street food for the tasting menu.  Literally food we could buy on the street (but on the street it tastes much better).  For R$39, we each got one nasty bolinho of something, one nasty pão of something else, and one disgusting croquete of another nasty thing.  Plus some nasty slop on the side.  It was horrible, and I'll never tell anyone to go there ever again.  BOOOOOO Espirito Santa! You are the worst! Look at these pictures - they put green sh*t on top to attempt to make it look nice.  Mind you, this serving is for two people.

Anyhow, we left there and went to my other favorite place, Cafecito, which remained so.  It's such a cute place.  I had a dessert and some lukewarm coffee, but after Espirito Santo, it was just fine.  I mean... look at this brownie a la mode. (Yes, I already started eating it.)

Anyway, I wanted to get some alcohol into my body, and there was a fabulous lady on the street making R$5 caipi's... so duh... we left Cafecito, and I got a strong a** caipirinha.  I love street drinks.  So much stronger, so much cheaper.  Anyhow, we heard live music coming from down the street, so of course we followed it.  A grand band was playing (whose name I don't know).  Some odd looking men came up to us to dance, and so we obliged.  Mine was actually a good leader, but with those forro dances you can feel crotch heat on your thigh and I'm just not into that.  So I had to cut my dances short.  Anyhow, we sit down at a table with this lady who is a little drunk and talking on her cell to her friend and she starts describing my hair and my earrings to the girl and calls me a gatinha! Hahahaha. Anyhoo...

Eventually we leave that place and go up the hill to the market.  Wait... I have this backwards.  We went to the market thing first and looked at stuff, listened to music, and then went to this other place.  After this, we went home!  We hiked down the mountain by foot and caught the train.  Thing is, we missed the whole art festival!  On the way home we stopped at Beach Suco's for a juice, and met some undergrads from Yale, and their friends.  They invited us to sit with them outside while we finished out drinks, and we all started talking.  The friends were all Brasilian gay boys - which are of course the best kind to kick it with! They're fun, and they're not trying to f*ck you.  It's awesome.  By this time it was about 1:30am, so we left them and went home.

So I woke up this morning at about 11am! All this late hanging doesn't really work for my sleep pattern. We decided to retry Santa Teresa, sans bonde.  This time, we walked up the mountain, and up the stairs and almost died.  It was like hiking up Kilimanjaro.  Okay... maybe not.  But it was intense nonetheless.  This photo doesn't even begin to show how steep the hike up to Santa Teresa via these steps was.  Plus, we're out of shape!

Anyway, we got up there at about 3:30, only to discover that the festival today was CRUNK. Maaaaan listen, we thought yesterday was live.  But today? Wow.  We decided to walk a little further down the main street today because we couldn't imagine that the festival would only be contained within those few blocks.  And am I glad we did... We first went into some little area where a 3 piece band of 9 year old boys were performing.  They were awesome!  We left there and continued down the road, following the sounds of a big, brassy band.  And standing in front of a house, with hundreds of people in the middle of the street in dancing and carrying on, we found them.  A five piece brass band. They too, were awesome.  What was not so awesome was the car that ran over the ladies foot who was standing behind me, or the buses knocking into people!  The people weren't moving, and the vehicles weren't stopping.  Oh Brasil... We watched them for a bit, saw a cool vitrola for sale, and continued down to another street.  This street was on and poppin' too!

This particular street had some people selling some really special cachaça drink which I might be addicted to.  It was an orange-ginger frozen drink, and I've found myself thinking about it nonstop for the past several hours.  We were only there for a few minutes before we saw our gays from the night before! Woohoo!  Diego, Lucas, and Yuri had just arrived and were walking towards us.  They were starving, and we were getting hungry, so after our "Oh wow! Hey guys! How are you's?," we decided to join them for a late lunch/early dinner.  We went to some restaurant that I think was called Marco, but I can't find anything called Marco online haha! Anyhow, the boys ordered feijoada (remember that from an earlier blog?), and the roomie and I ordered moqueca.  It all made up for that wack a** food at Espirito Santa!  Look at it!  There was soooo much left over.  (I have to start remembering to take pictures before we eat half of it!)

Anyway, the boys left quickly because two of them teach ballroom dancing, and they had a private lesson.  We hung around and tried to make room to eat more before we left.  Eventually, we left our good food there, and decided to walk back to the street where we found our gays.  There were still lots of people out, and we found even more streets with even more bars, and even more people.  I'm thinking that because it was the last day of this once a year festival, everything and everyone was out!  Anyhow, we decided to return to the live music spot from the night before, and an awesome band was playing samba!  We stayed until they finished!  (It was only about 40 min).  

We planned to go back to the market to look at some things, and listen to the music they had there.  By this time, the streets were just packed!  We saw a small handwritten sign that said "live jazz", so we decided to follow it.  It's funny how a street looks empty, and then you go past a curve or a wall and there are hundreds of people crowded in front of a door.  We thought we couldn't go in but, low and behold, people were just standing in the streets because they wanted to.  I prefer indoors, so I went in.  BEST. FIND. EVER.  There was the awesomest jazz band playing.  The place was packed.  The energy was awesome.  And all was good.  Here's a lil clip of the trumpet solo... sorry the sound sucks, but dude was awesome!   In fact, he was also the trumpet player in the street brass band from a few hours before.  You probably won't be able to tell he's awesome from this sound thought... but whatevs. Check it out:

K wait... something is wrong with the upload.  I'll try it again later...

The drummer was a looker.  And boy, do I enjoy looking.  I need special glasses just to do it. We stayed there for over an hour enjoying that jazz.  It was awesome.  

Between today and yesterday, so many dudes introduced themselves just to get those introductory kisses :-)! And even more women have commented on my hair then ever in life.  It's like an art exhibit.  But it's also the simplest way for me to do it.  A high bun on top of my head.  I don't know why this is so amazing.  I guess because it's a nappy high bun.  Anyway, I got stopped about 9 times today, and 7 times yesterday over this damned bun.  "Que linda", and blah, blah, blah.  It's nice though.  You know... to receive compliments.  Sometimes we need them! This is me, Lucas, and my bun.

We had considered going to Casa Rosa today also, but with all the free live music, dancing, art, and everything else, Casa Rosa took a back seat.  This day was awesome.  I hope they keep getting better.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Show Your Blood! Dassit!

So... tonight we went to Lapa.  My roommate and I met up with another student in Flamengo, and then headed to Santa Teresa seeking an adventure.  The adventure came in the form of travestis in the street working hard (or hardly working).  They made me wanna get all Maurica Rodriguez out that bitch... DASSIT! Anyhoo, We went to Santa Teresa and almost got into two cab accidents on the way up.  The cab driver yelled "por isso, não vou para Santa Teresa!!!" He was not happy with us... Anyhow, we got out the cab, and looked around - but there wasn't much up there so we hopped into another cab and headed back down to Lapa.  Oh Lapa...

We walked up and down Rua da Lapa a bit, and finally stopped for a little drink... we had cachaca with honey and cinammon. Delish.  After an interesting convo about black men and women and their soiled and unfortunate relations (or lack thereof) amongst graduate students in professional schools, we spotted other friends from the language school, and from U of C.  They joined us at the table and, well... ordered more drinks.  The roomie doesn't drink, and I stopped after the first one, but the others, being men, tested their limits! One became obsessed with street meat, and after eating one churrasco went back for two more.  Since I was starving, I fell victim to the chicken.  As we started to walk towards the "hip-hop" club, I turned around to see 'churrasco boy' - tall, pale, and blonde - tearing away at the one churrasco in his right hand as the one in the left hand pointed up towards oblivion! It was 2am mind you, and the streets were packs with cachaceiros young and old, music, street kids, and everything else... including our pale, blond friend and his street meat.

Anyhow, we go the the club and they start playing Teach Me How To Dougie which started what to me looked like a riot, but to others was apparently good fun.  Everyone was dancing, and blah, blah, blah.  They mixed in U.S. hip-hop with Brazilian, and it was surprisingly a good mix.  Anyhow, at some point they played Lauryn Hill Doo Wop (That Thing) and a girl came up to me and said I was "muito bom", gave me a thumbs up, and said "as mulheres não podem!"  She gave me like 4 high fives.  Some of you know how I feel about high fives.  I hate them.

Anyhow, a few minutes go by and they start playing The Game "How We Do" which, go figure, is not my favorite song to dance to so I was just doing a little sway.  This girl standing next to me points to her wrist and says "Where's your blood?" I say "huh?" She says "Show your blood." And I'm like, "wha?" And she's like "You're black!" And I'm like, "duh..." And she's like, "You should be dancing." And I'm like, "...ah." So apparently, because I wasn't dancing all hard, I wasn't showing my black (and by her own skin tone, I must say she wasn't showing much either).  I think she was disappointed in me because I was wasting the physical blackness she could have used for her dance moves.  Anyhow, we leave from there after a while (and after the same girl yells at me for leaving early and not showing my blackness by staying late and dancing wild, lol), and we step outside.  There we meet Mateus, who is from Northern Brazil and asked me if I was from Bahia.

It's the hair.  Everyone talks to me because of the hair.  And in all honesty, it takes me about 2 minutes to do it.  Easiest style ever - but it makes me look like I did something.  Mateus didn't believe it only took two minutes.  It did.  We leave Mateus and head down Rua da Lapa to start the search for a taxi.  The street is PACKED, since it's Friday night at 3am.  More people than at midnight.  People selling shots of Cuervo 3 for R$5.  Dancing. Sweating. Yelling.  And some girl with long red braids grabs me and says "Rihanna!"  Now I have NEVER done anything Rihanna-like in my life.  Not my clothes.  Not my hair.  Not my Ipod.  She is far away from me.  But I guess this girl wanted to be a dick because my hair was in a high bun.  Whatevs.  I grabbed her back and said "Você é Rihanna! Aw, você ta muito bonita! Aw... querida! Rihanna!" She started laughing, as she didn't expect some American girl to do the same thing back to her.  Then I took her braids and draped them on my hair and asked her for an autograph :-).  She was like, "no, no, stop. I'm not." And I was like, "yeah me neither (slut)."  The slut part I didn't say.  And it was mean.  Sorry.

Then we carry own a few more feet and see where all of the cabs are converging.  There is a bus in front which we learn is unable to move because of the intense fight taking place in front of it.  The people stand around and watch this dude pouncing on this dude.  It's crazy.  The bus goes around them, followed by a bunch of cabs.  The fight is several minutes long, and not one officer comes from anywhere they're hiding (although there are empty police cars out the wazoo).  Somebody got their ass BEAT.  I tell the roomie, ok, so... we should catch a cab over here then... away from the fight.  People in the street are gravitating towards the fight like ants to sugar, so being the New Yorker that I am, I want to go in the opposite direction.  When I was a teenager going out and people fought, someone would generally get shot.  Me nah wan fi become that person! Anyhow, we go in the opposite direction and look for the direction we need the cab to go in, and all of a sudden, Fighty McFighterson is done and heading right to where we're standing. Booooo.  So I'm like... right... lets goooooo... this way.  Anyway, we hop in a cab and head home.  But that's not it...

On the way home, another huge crowd makes its way into the middle of the street.  This time, there's a huge car accident between a taxi and a minivan type car.  Here, accidents are inevitable. Especially at night when people drive even crazier than normal.  The windshield of the taxi is broken, and the paramedics are inside trying to help the poor dude.  His cab is f&*ed.  The other car has the airbags out... about 80 people are surrounding both.  Our cab drives by close enough to touch it, and hangs half of his body out of the window to see...We felt safe.  Anyhow, we eventually made it back to the casa.

I forgot to mention the drunk girl sitting on the curb outside of her taxi before the night even begun. You can see her in the middle of the pic if you look really hard.  Poor her.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Before I go to bed...

I just wanted to say two things.  First, that Benegrip is the TRUTH!  Well, so long as you don't die from using it, I suppose.  I'm not completely healed internally, but I was able to walk around and be a person today.  That stuff is like... word.

And second, I got my chuuuuuuuurro, I got my chuuuuuuuuuro.  That's right.  I got  my churro com doce de leite.  Sure, it may look a little pornographic, but I promise you... it tastes even more pornographicker.  And that's why you should be thankful if you ever get to indulge in the pornographicosity that a churro with dolce de leche really is...

I'm headed to bed so I can continue to rid myself of this bug, but I did go and see Midnight In Paris this afternoon with some language schoolers.  More exciting then the movie ending was the fact that, although the film was scheduled to begin at 1:20pm, the theater waited until the last few people were seated (10 minutes late) to begin the show.  I thought that was pretty funny/interesting/cool.  Theaters don't wait for people to sit! But I guess some do...

Lastly, here is what I just ate 3 scoops of... I feel really sorry for my body.
Doce de leite with cashews... and it was dripping, and gooey, and delicious.
Tchau, e beijos, e abraços.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I didn't win the fight against that icky feeling.  I have the flu.  This exact same thing happened to me last year at the exact same time.  I arrived, it was sunny, all of a sudden the weather changed drastically, and I got the flu.  This year followed suit!  But luckily, I got took a grip of vitamins, and also got this awesome flu medicine that they have out here called Benegrip (pronounced benagreepee), and it's knocking it out! I just learned that this medicine is banned in the US, lol, but hey... it's working for me here.  I'll be all good tomorrow, and ready for the regular weather this weekend!

Sidebar: I bought some pipoca com leite condensado this eve! That is... popcorn with condensed milk. It was aight, but I still went to Zona Sul and bought some doce de leite, and chopped nuts so I could top off my ice cream and have real dessert when I got home.  YES, I went out.  But only because I had to eat.  Other than that, I slept the entire day... But I'm feeling better.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Just ask that damned Jennifer Hudson will that stupid Weight Watcher's commercial. Boo.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

So... Guess who screwed up the hot water situation?

Wait for iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit... ME! Yup. I did it. I am the reason we had no hot water.  And we actually DID have hot water, but didn't know it.

What had happened was, the other lady of the house, my 'colega de quarto', or roommate, had some cool looking nautical knobs in her bathroom.  She said '...yeah, and I don't even know what these knobs are for.' And I was all 'Oh, they look cool.  You can hang stuff on them.' Then I proceeded to turn the knob for effect. In fact, that effect turned off the hot water.  So we were here for two days with no hot water, and all we had to do was turn the knob back.  I bet she won't ask me anymore questions about how cool looking things work from now on... cuz I'm still gonna touch 'em.

Anyhow, besides that awesome discovery, and the exciting thought of being able to shower, nothing too exciting occurred today.  We walked to Leblon this evening and enjoyed some pizza at the infamous Guanabara, which is also famous I suppose.  It was really good.  Or pretty good, and I was just starving. We had the arugula/gorgonzola joint.  I had to fight my urge, my strong desire to pick up my freaking pizza and eat it by hand like a normal effing person!  Cuz in Rio, one must eat PIZZA with a knife and fork.  Booooooooooo.  For a culture that's sooo 'open', people are really close-minded about eating pizza by hand.  Dear Brasileiros: Please respect the game when you come to NY, and pick up the freaking pizza.  I ate mine with a knife and fork for you.  Signed, One Slice Jones.

And then we went across the street to my favorite corner luncheonette type place BB Lanches and I got a pastel com frango (translation: chicken pattie thingie) and it was bomb! I bought two, cuz I knew I would want one tomorrow.  We walked back to Ipanema, found a frozen yogurt place called Yoggi that was open super late, and then ate it on the way back home.

It's day 3, and because of all this wetness and coolness, I'm starting to feel a little icky.  But I'm gonna take a grip of vitamins and Nyquil and sleep this off son!

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's Monday. Segunda-Feira...

...and. we. have. no. hot. water. agua. quente.
Thank God for Brasilian bidets.
Plus, as an extra added bonus, and fabulous welcome to Rio, it's raining this week! All week! Until Saturday! Yay! Next week it'll go back to 80's and sunny.  I feel like my life will start then.

Speaking of starting, I started classes today.  6 hours worth, from 9:30-4 with a few little breaks.  Since class was all day, I didn't do much else. But I did try to find the dudes that sell churros filled with doce de leite from the cart. That's right. Street sweets.  'Most delicious dessert' for the equivalent of one dollar that you will ever find.  They used to be located in the square right by the train station, but now there are only the guys that sell popcorn with condensed milk.  One popcorn guy, Renaldo, said the churro guys moved to Copacabana so, duh... we walked to Copacabana.  But they weren't there.  It could be because it was 9pm.  Maybe street sweets aren't allowed after 8:30.  We walked a mile or two for a doce de leite filled churro and got nothing.  And when we returned to the square, Renaldo was already packed up and gone with his condensed milk popcorn.

In conclusion, there were no street sweets for me.  Plus no hot water.  Plus classes all day.  So now I'm tired, dirty, and hungry.  Guess I'll watch some novelas.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Welcome to my travel blog.

Julia Roberts will not appear in this blog.  I guess I should start by discussing the big purple elephant in the title.  The whole 'sans love' thing, yeah? So, here's what.  I travel.  I look for myself in different places.  I dream.  I think.  But mostly I eat.  In fact, this should really just be a food blog.  But it's not.  I also pray.  Sometimes they're just the ones where I close my eyes and talk to God, but they're prayers nonetheless.  And sometimes I search for things (like myself).  But not for cheesy, dramatic love.  I like love, but I love like.

So this blog is more like a single Girl Gone Mild tale of nothingness.  It's not special.  And I'm not special.  I'm just a sharer. So I'm sharing.  Plus, this is an easy way for those that actually ask what I'm doing out here to keep up with the goings on at their own pace - and to skip past the boring stuff that occurs in mouth to mouth conversation.

Who Am I:
I'm a student.  I laugh when I say that.  I'm a PhD student - which makes me laugh even harder.  Like... really? Why? What do I plan to do with my degree? Awesome.  I'm glad you asked.  I plan to frame it on one of those wooden plaque thingies and make it look really nice. Yup.  That's it.  Glad we got that out of the way.  I suppose I am/was also all of these things at some point as well: creator, writer, dancer, actor, teacher, thinker, exhibitionist.  Sometimes I still do some of those things.  Sometimes I don't.  Moving on.

Where am I now:
I'm in Rio.  Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

I'm here studying Portuguese.  Originally, I planned to do research in Brasil, so learning the language and being able to speak well were actually a necessity.  Now, I think my research focus is starting to shift.  But I'm here studying Portuguese anyway because, well, it's Brasil.

About me?
I'm not a blogger.  In fact, I'm pretty bad at this.  I listened to The Weeknd to get me started.  It helped (but I dunno why).  Anyhoo, I'll start here.  First, I've been to Rio before.  In fact, I spent two months here last summer, so I feel like I know my surroundings pretty well, and I'm just picking up where I left off.  Sidebar on 'picking up where we leave off': a lot of times people say to me 'gosh, I wish I could travel too,' or 'how do you get to travel so much?' To them I say, you can travel, and I don't 'get' to travel - I just do it.  I sublet, and I go. We often think about everything we'll be missing out on while we're gone - work, family, friends, relationships, etc.  Well here's what I've learned - things stay the same.  Disappointingly so.  You return from a long trip or move expecting people and things to be different.  You might even expect drastic changes to the point of anxiety, or maybe even fear.  And when you return home, folks are still sitting in the exact seats you left them in.  And those jeans you forgot to wash before you left are still at the bottom of the hamper.  Don't let fear of 'missing' something stop you from doing things.  Because the only thing you miss is the opportunity to do things.  So go somewhere.  You can always pick up where you left off... especially since things probably won't change much.  In fact, I'm always anticipating change, and always mildly disappointed. Anyhoo... where was I?  Yeah, so I'm back in Rio which, btw, is very familiar.  There are, however, a few new faces of students and staff at the language school, which is cool.  But I do still feel like I'm playing a vicious game of 'life rewind' where other people move on, and I travel backwards.  Well whatevs - I arrived today, and I'm gonna see some stuff I didn't see last time.

This is a travel(ish) blog, so I should talk about my flight, right? (I told you, I'm not a blogger).  So I flew Delta 'economy comfort' on the ATL to RIO leg.  The problem with Economy Comfort on Delta is that it's new.  This means that everybody and their 3 children want it, and so the entire section is completely occupied.  Whereas the people in the main Economy cabin are spread out over 2 or 3 seats getting their full sleep on, us faux bougie folk paid extra for more leg room, more reclining, cocktails, and movies, but are less comfortable because every seat is taken and there's nowhere to spread out like in regular economy!  It's worth it if it's a full flight in the main cabin, but if it's full in Economy Comfort, and kinda empty in regular Economy, TAKE THE REGULAR and get the full spread out over 3 seats situation.  For real.  Most uncomfortable 'comfort' seat ever cuz I couldn't poke my butt out like I wanted to without making the man next to me also become uncomfortable in his comfort seat.

Anyhow, we arrived a little late. I got my bags, went through customs, went to the ATM, and took a cab to my new crib.  I found this crib on Homeaway, btw, and it's awesome.  My Rio roommate, another student from school, had arrived a day or two earlier, so she was there when I arrived.  After a few hours of unpacking and trying to work out the internet, we walked to the Sunday market.  It was cool.  There was a band playing in the street with one guy playing guitar, one guy playing drums, and one guy doing a solo on a comb.  Yup.  A comb. With duct tape or something on it.  It was interesting I guess.  The market also hadn't changed from the year before, or the year before that.  We then went to get something to eat at Felice Cafe, whose prices have changed for the worse! Geez.  Was good, but I won't be going back to spend a grip on grilled chicken.  Anyhow, we hit up the grocery store on the way back to the crib.  Got in the house, did stuff online, and then headed to Casa Rosa.

Casa Rosa is a cultural centre in Laranjeiras whose history is pretty different than the now.  Currently, they have cultural events and classes. It's pretty cool - live Samba band on Sunday evenings, multiple rooms to dance in with DJ's, full bar(s), and they serve feijoada (but you don't have to eat it).  They have events and classes throughout the week.  If in Rio, I definitely would suggest checking out Casa Rosa.

So I think in this first 'travel' blog, you've actually learned a few things. First: Delta Economy Comfort - only worth it if it's not completely booked, or if the main economy cabin is completely booked.  Second, Homeaway is a great place to find a monthly sublet, although I did have a friend come to verify the place first!  And third/last, Casa Rosa is a place to look into if you're in Rio.

I'm not sure how this blog will work, but right now we're just on day one.  I'm thinking I might just post the interesting pics and goings-ons of the day.  Maybe some eating. Maybe some praying.  Probably not any loving.  They say I'm too prudish.