I was asked earlier this week if I felt the need to act crazy, or create situations in order to have content for my blogs. This never even occurred to me and the thought of orchestrating events seems like it could lead to some really over the top blog entries. The problem is I'm not sure I could deal with something crazier than the reality of living in Rio.
Let me take Saturday night as an example. The evening started off with a “going away meal” at a Brazilian all you can eat restaurant called Torro. One of the guys from the house really likes the restaurant and typically we give the choice of eating to the person who's leaving. After eating the majority of the people wanted to go to the club right around the corner called Nuth (some of you will remember it from my previous blog entries). As most of you know I'm not typically the type of person that likes to go clubbing so Jesse (a new addition to the house) and I decided to return home and make it an early night.
We took a cab from the restaurant to the round-about next to our house so that we could grab a quick drink before walking to the house. As we rounded the corner to head home we saw two of our house mates at the local bar drinking a beer and decided to stop in and say hey. After greeting us they explained that wanted to go out and invited us along. For some reason unbeknownst to me I inquired where they were going and before I knew what I knew it I had agreed to go to Ipanemea and join them for some fun at Emporium (a popular bar in Ipanemea).
After arriving at the bar we grabbed some drinks and looked around. There weren't any open tables and it appeared that the only way we were going to be able to sit down was to mingle. Jesse, the new guy from Canada, who just happens to be a 6'5 pale white giant, decides to meander over to a group of females and try to get us a seat. After a few moments speaking with the girls he waved us over and much to my surprise it was a table full of English speaking Brazilians.
We spent a couple of hours talking about the differences in culture, the differences in language and having a generally great time. Jesse was clearly interested in one of the girls and it appeared she returned the interest so I spent most of the time entertaining the friends of the girl Jesse was talking to. Somewhere along the line our friends left in search of girls and after awhile the friends decided to get up and go outside for a smoke. I took the moment to order another coke zero and use the restroom.
As I returned to the table I ran into the girls from outside as they returned from smoking. I took my seat next to Jesse at the table and the girls introduced me to another girl that they met outside. She seemed nice enough and it was explained that she too, spoke English. She sat down next to me and started to got close.
I tried to use as much body language as possible to show I was not interested. I turned my knees away and avoided eye contact but she continued to rub her knees against mine. I decided to use a different approach and directly engage the girl. I hardened myself and turned my full attention on this ...well that's up for debate at this point.
As many of you know there are a lot of transsexuals in Brazil. I've had a couple of run-in situations where I've had to interact with transsexuals and honestly it doesn't bother me. As I started to talk to her I realized she does not speak English nearly as well as the other girls at the table so I decided to keep it simple. I asked her “what do you do for work” in Portuguese and she explained to me that in the day she is a hair dresser, in the afternoon she studies English and in the evenings she's a prostitute...
Has anyone ever told you something and you try to keep the poker face but struggle? I tried to think of where to take the conversation from there, and I think she sensed my anxiety level kick up a notch because she put her hand on my knee and started to slide a little up my leg. I did what any man who is confronted with sex from an unwanted prostitute would do... I started talking about my grandmother.
I spent the next 10 minutes explaining how my grandmother cut hair for 42 years and then I spent another 10 minutes talking about learning a second language. I didn't know anything else about her and I started to panic. The only two subjects left were sex change ...and sex. I looked across the table and Jesse was oblivious. He was way too engrossed in the girl he was kissing. The other girls finally saw me blinking S.O.S and intervened. I still don't know exactly what they said, but the girl departed as quickly as she arrived.
After she left the table we had a good laugh and we took a picture to commemorate the first time I've been propositioned by a prostitute...now can you imagine what would have happened if I had orchestrated an event for the blog? I couldn't make this up if I wanted to, I'm just not that creative.
Moving far, far far far away from the subject of prostitution,
Sometimes things are lost in translation, other times things are totally sabotaged in translation. There is a restaurant by the movie theater that serves some American looking food. It is a steakhouse and the look and feel is something close to a Lone Star or a Longhorn steakhouse.
Like many restaurants around the world, this restaurant proudly posts it's menu out front for people to browse and decide if they want to eat there. I looked over the menu and had a good laugh. I'm not sure if the person they paid to translate the menu was pissed off that day or just out for a good laugh, but either way it was picture worthy. As you can see from the photo I have made my dining choice.
I couldn't bring myself to eat this burger, but I may brave it next time to tell you if it does indeed taste as though its name implies.
The World Cup is in full swing and I've had the privilege of sitting in a crowd of Brazilians as they cheer for their team. To say they are passionate about “football” (soccer) would be the understatement of the century. When a goal is scored people go absolutely ape shit (there is no other term that comes to mind). People scream, throw fireworks and I think dynamite....yes I'm serious.
I wondered for a long time why the roads are so messed up, now I know. The size of the fireworks that they throw are definitely illegal in the states, and it reminded me of my time spent in Iraq. I can't imagine what those sticks of dynamite would do if they blew up in someones hand. Regardless of the damage, I can't think they would go to the hospital while the game was still on.
The Brazilians take the game so seriously that they shut down most businesses and it's like a Brazilian national holiday. Think of how serious people get at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, and multiply that times 10. The buses still operate but they slow down as they come close to bars so that they can see the score. At times, the buses will just stop in the street if there is an intense moment...it really is incredible.
Jack and I watched the first game at Rommel's bar. When we showed up we were given Brazilian flags and other brightly colored memorabilia to wear. As you can see from this picture we're having a great time.