"The smell of burning gas when the water first hits your body. The buzzing glow of a flame next to your face."
Not a description that most would use to explain a peaceful morning shower, but this, is Brazil. The water is heated next to your head before you’re blasted with a necessary escape from the sweltering heat, so this is no country for the pyrophobics.
Rio de Janeiro, in the first 30 hours of our experience, is a dirty, colorful, beautiful, and majestic city scattered unforgivingly across this unique natural landscape of beach, mountain, rocky outcrop, and jungle.
----Apparently this is how my novel of our trip would begin---
On our first evening in Rio we walked the famous Copacabana Beach, wading through pandering locals attempting to hawk zipper purses, jewelry, trinkets, and of course cocaine and weed. To avoid the constant sales pitch, we quickly found ourselves at a beachside cafe eating unidentifiable fried objects and guzzling the famed caipirinhas, which are fantastic. We took a quick stroll along the beach and called it early.
The following day we returned to the streets to seek out some English speakers in hopes of a nightlife sherpa. After roaming Ipanema, we saw an asian guy and a white guy walking towards us - "Now that's GOT to be an english conversation!" Nailed it. Perfect english, perfect recommendation. Off to Copacabana for some cocktailing!
So with the success of English-spotting in Ipanema, we decided that it is our fastest route to a good time, and so the game of constant racial profiling began. Only about one in twenty people that we’ve interacted with have spoken any English, so brushing up on your hand gestures, pointing ability and a bit of Portuguese is highly recommended if you ever make it to Rio.
…now back to us on the street. Racial profiling in Brazil is REALLY HARD because Brazilians come in basically every shade tan, brown, and black. Blonde, NFL apparel, Asian, Fanny pack, Overweight - all key tools in our American racial profiling arsenal. A few caipirinhas later, our failed hunt turned into a vision of hope as the word “like” was faintly uttered by a passer-by. YES!!!!!! Adrienne, go, go, go!!! Two young women - one hippied-out and the other a guaranteed midwesterner - shout, shout!!
Enter Susan and Andrea and a story of an amazing night out that opened up our eyes to the real Rio...for another time. Watch a preview video of where our night went here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FqRsb7aRgM (Apparently Adrienne drank some awkward juice just before this video because she seems lost. Apparently.)