Sorry for the deteriorating/poor quality of my writing. I’m emberassed. But traveling with two companions and constantly staying out until morning is making it very difficult to keep up with these posts, and I know I can’t allow myself to fall more than a day behind or else I’ll never manage to catch up. So typically I’ve been writing about 5 minutes at a time, pulling out my phone while I wait during each shower or email-check. Zero time for proofreading. I guess now you can see how much time I put into my normal posts – because the first draft generally reads a lot more like these 😉
When I woke up in the apartment of a random British expat I’d met at the club in downtown, Rio, I had no idea what part of town I was in. I proceeded outside and asked a passer-by for the time. 7am. No way could I be bothered trying to bus home as tired as I was, so I jumped in a cab and gave him Silvia’s nearest intersection. He drove me about two blocks before letting me out and requesting 5 reais with an amused little smirk.
At least he was honest, because he probably could’ve driven me halfway around the city without my noticing 😛
After sleeping/recovering for a fair portion of the day, Peder, Dave and I headed to the beach once more. It was a perfectly sunny day, a weekend during Carnival. The sand was absolutely packed.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. DAMN there are a lot of beautiful people here.
Amusing encounters during our little stroll:
1) A small girl trying to sell us chicklets (small square pieces of chewing gum) who wouldn’t leave us alone for probably 15 minutes, and eventually resorted to simply playing in the sand 3 inches from where we were sitting.
2) A bling-bling drug dealer offering us marijuana and cocaine. Actually, this wasn’t so surprising – I’ve probably been offered one or the other two to three times a day since arriving here in Brazil. What was funny was the obviousness of his appearance: huge gold chain, gold rolex, diamond rings, and an enormous roll of cash in his hand. The cops nearby somehow didn’t seem to notice though. Maybe they’re old pals.
3) Wandering into an area of the beach and looking around to find exactly one hundred percent banana-hammock-clad muscular men. Peder’s backpack sunburn seemed to attract an inordinate number of curious stares. We felt like three little gazelle in a forest full of tigers.
Interesting how huge the homosexual population here seems to be. Or maybe it’s just that they’re far more open about it than we are in many parts of the states.
From simple headbands to full body make-up, dressing up for Carnival seems to be a popular way for locals and tourists alike to celebrate the weekl’s festivities. Half the fun so far has been roaming the city and watching/photographing all of the different freaky-looking people. We decided there’d be no way we could attend the Scala Red-Black ball without a good set of matching costumes. So after a few hours of scouring the stalls back in Downtown’s packed Saara street market, we ended up in bright red togas, each with a few small variations – alternating red/black nail polish, a huge red/black pimp hat, and a red half-face mask.
We got dressed up at Peder’s hotel and headed out. THe doorman took one look at us, and this is what he hsad to say:
Doorman: “You guys are going out dressed like THAT? You’re gonna die.”
DM: “If you go out tonight like that, you’re gonna die.”
J: “What do you mean….?”
DM: “Just what I said…you’ll die.”
DM: “….OF PLEASURE!!”
We hurried to catch a cab to the event, $120 VIP-tickets in hand. If you’re gonna come to Rio for Carnival, I figure might as well do it in style 😉
Remember that thing I said about Brazilians being hedonistic? Yeah…I had no idea until I’d attended a Carnival ball at Scala. The venue was magnificent, and our view of the crowd from the upper balcony – where the free food and drinks was being served – even better. Attendance topped out at 4500. I’ve been in quite a few VIP rooms in my day, but this was the first I’d ever consider completely worth it.
On the way out, Peder and I separated from David who decided to go to the beach with some friends he’d made while we were separated at the ball. We started walking to the bush where I hid my dress shoes before entering the party; we weren’t sure if flip-flops would be acceptible so we brought both, but soon learned that clubs almost never have coin lockers in Brazil. They’re afraid of weapons.
As we walked, we noticed a massive and intoxicated individual following us. A professional boxer. Gay. Who approached and began to very insistently force our hands towards parts of his body that we were not particularly interested in touching. When we resisted, he’d stumble for a minute, regain his composure, and try again. He would not be convinced to stop.
Peder: “On the count of three, we run. RUN!”
And here I am, back home safe and sound.
Why do I love traveling? Not so I can find myself fleeing from an insistent homosexual rapist in a foreign country at 8 in the morning. But so I can laugh about it with my friends the next day.