Thursday, December 04, 2008


Arrivals are always the same. I think that I am doing pretty good with the language, but can't even order a coffee at the airport and so switch to English. I plan on diving right in and taking the bus, but I'm tired and confused and so splurge for a taxi. The route from the highway passes through tenemants - tall, crowded, brick or cement, half-finished buildings that seem to radiate heat and oppression, and I wonder how anyone survives here, much less brings a new generation to life.

The City and its poverty always goes on and on, and I wonder how many days until the next revolution. I get to my hotel, and crawl into bed. I need to shower. I'm hungry, I'm tired, I have no local money, and I don't want to leave the room. I don't know what the week will bring and I can't imagine that I will ever make sense of this particular city. I wonder why I travel, and put myself through this. I debate spending the week in my hotel room.

Hunger wins, and I eventually shower and head out into the street for a quick bite before taking a much needed nap. I leave the hotel, without a map, never with a frikkin map, because I don't intend to wander far. And I end up wandering far, and taking wrong turns, and spending hours putzing about.

So that's the part that's always the same. From there on out it's all particulars.

Rio has been fantastic. I slept half of Tuesday, but still managed to meet a guy, Marcos, and make plans to go dancing later, and later to meet up with Cim, who I had friends in common with.

Wednesday it was cold and rainy. I ran into Ruby, and we headed downtown, to Centro, to explore the museums. The museums were just alright, but it was fun being in the middle of a big city again with all it's 19th Century architecture and bustling crowds and chaos. The second crew came in that night, we met Mariano, our steersman from Buenos Aires, and then Alan and I went to Galeria Cafe, met up with Marcos, and danced until 3am. It was a gay bar designed by a local artist, so the space was great and the crowd was fun. It was all Brazilian music, but a wild mix of faro and samba and hip hop and techno and who knows what else. And Marcos turned out to be an amazing frakkin dancer, so that was special to be dancing with him.

This morning I worked out and then a group of us went to Ipanema Beach to sun and cruise. Later we all met Mariano at Praia Vermelha and went over the course. It looks hard core. I might race a second race - there are some women from Maui looking to put together a mixed crew for Saturday. Then we took a hike through the forest, then took the cable cars up to the top of Sugarloaf. Tonight I ditched the crew. Some are taking naps, some are going out for sushi. I had planned to meet up with Cim, but he had to work late. And though I love my crew, they're all going to be early and I have no plans to. There's another club I want to check out designed by the same artists as Galeria, so I'll grab an acai and head there and see what the night brings.

Not bad for only 2.5 days. I have to switch back into training mode tomorrow, with a 7am practice, so this is my final night to be a bit wild. Then I have to be very good for three days. I can do it.

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