Friday, December 28, 2012

First day in Rio

Two days ago when we arrived to Rio the weather was sweltering hot. It was at least ten degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the jungle, and almost as humid. Typically, Dave revels in hot weather while I become sluggish and moody, but after the Amazon it seems like we can be Okay anywhere. (I know that this feeling might be short-lived, but I'm riding it while it lasts.) We met our lovely Airbnb hosts Marcelle and Davog, and after some puttering about their apartment went out and spent the second half of the day exploring Rio on foot. We didn't have much luck that day finding anything our guidebook and our friends recommended, and everything we did find was already closed. No matter--getting lost is quickly becoming an art in today's world where google maps chart every major metropolis the world over. We enjoyed meandering about the downtown neighborhoods of Rio, some in greater states of disrepair than others, occasionally stopping to replenish our energy with traditional pão de queijo--a cheese pie, some dried banana, cookies, and nuts. When we reached the top of the hill of Santa Teresa neighborhood, Dave took a power nap on a bench that stood there seemingly for that exact purpose. Little did he know that a few hours later we'd be climbing back to the top of this same hill, lost again on our way home.

We wanted to find the music scene we'd heard about and also a nice place for dinner, but as it turns out, Rio is a huge city (yes, yes, this should've been clear before we set out) and google is not an entirely reliable source of information in Rio (especially since we can hardly read Portuguese). Eventually we had some pizza--but it was a sardine pizza, quite good!--and a couple of drinks in a random place in Lapa. There was music there, but the band stopped playing five minutes after we ordered. It was simply that kind of night. So we occupied ourselves with people watching and making more plans, none of which came to transpire because shortly after leaving the bar, we made another wrong turn and found ourselves hiking up the same mountain we came down a few hours before. And did I mention that Rio was sweltering hot?

Finally, we made it back to Marcelle and Davog's place, took showers, and fell asleep. I woke up around 5 am from the heat. Our hosts have a hammock on the balcony next to our room, and I stepped out there to see if being outside made any difference. It didn't. Air-conditioning isn't very common in average houses in Brazil, and the overhead fan wasn't doing much damage. Dave blissfully slept. I washed my face and lay down again--to read on my Kindle. Eventually, I dozed off and slept on-and-off until 7 am. When we met our hosts for breakfast, they'd already picked up the morning paper with the weather report: apparently, Dave slept through the hottest recorded night in Rio. The temperature reached at 42 Celsius or 107.6 Fahrenheit. It felt like an achievement to not only experience this but to do so with pleasure. And we did--we are--having fun with it all.

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