Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A few thoughts on Rio

We are waiting for our departure to Buenos Aires, and I thought I would sketch out a few observations from our time here in Rio de Janeiro. By the way, you can wear your shoes through the metal detectors and don't get felt up here. The airport has been effortless.

First, Brazil (or at least Rio) is more advanced when it comes to energy conservation. Lights tended to have timers and the timers tended to run down quickly with an empty room. Escalators are activated by a platform in the floor, and napkins are just the right size. Windows and fans ran instead of air conditioning units. They just get this right.

Police were interesting to observe. We encountered them a few times, and they almost always had guns drawn and almost always had their finger on the trigger. Maybe this is part of the effort to tame the city before the World Cup, but we found it unsettling--particularly when the gun in question was a machine gun.
Salsa innovation last night. We ended up at a small but lively neighborhood restaurant called Baroquim Informal. Our appetizers were served with a remarkable hot sauce. One of the more delicious I have ever tasted. After complimenting the sauce in my best Portuguese (gastoso means delicious), our waiter brought out the manager to give us the recipe. We need to do some translating, but it has a couple types of oil, cachaca (the Brazilian brandy), and a pepper called malagueta. We found the peppers in a market this morning but anticipated problems with our next four border crossings. So our goal is to find malagueta peppers in Dallas.

After the salsa discovery, we ended up in a bar so excellent I don't think I could have imagined a better place. Extensive beer list with offerings from all over (including Brew Dog's Sink the Bismarck--a 40 % alcohol beer priced around $350 USD). Blues music too. Just great. But then a bartender pulled out a knife and started shaving his head and arms at the bar. He followed that up by digging in his hand. So we left slightly creeped out but pleased by the find nonetheless.

By the way, Santa Claus sells beers on Ipanema beach before the holidays kick off. Probably how he unwinds before the around-the-world journey. So if you have last minute requests, best head south.

Sunsets were inspirational. We went to a rocky outcropping overlooking Ipanema and Leblon beaches. Mountains, ocean, sunset, and, behind us, moonrise. The moment the sun set, the crowd, which had all paused to watch, cheered, as if to say "thank you" (obrigado) for a great day.

1 comment:

Ricky Bush said...

40% alcohol beer and Brazilian blues--what else could you possibly need.

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