72 Hours in Rio- Part 2

Part 2 –

We took the stairs to the bottom level, where the more upscale restaurants are located. We went to this Italian restaurant because Josh wanted pizza and it was the cheapest thing we could find to share. 

Rio is a very expensive city.

It has always been. It is very touristic, very impressive and a cool place to be. No matter where you are if you say “I was in Rio” they know, you most likely had a good time. 

Italian food in Brazil
When in Rome, you make him eat pizza with a knife and fork. It took two seconds after the picture for him to drop it.

Uber again, which is cheap by the way, and hit the hotel. At night, we were going to meet some of my friends.  

It was the hugs that got me.

I miss hugging my friends and letting the conversation flow without having to stop and explain my references. These people are my references, they participate in my stories, they help to create them. Seating in a bar and just talking about life, not trying to impress anyone, just being cool with the surrounding, took a huge weight off my shoulders. It felt like my soul finally met my body. It was a weird feeling of was I off my body this entire time? 

In America, for some reason, I’m always on my tiptoes. Walking in eggs shells, watching all my moves. It’s exhausting. It seems like if I say something wrong, I will either be told to go back home or not to be weird. I always have to be watching what I say, and how I say it. Not in Rio. 

Day 3 – It’s Not Goodbye, it’s I see you soon. 

Saturday morning we for breakfast with one of my childhood friends/Teenage years/Young adult friend. Once again, my heart was full. We went to a hippie neighborhood, to have brunch, in a place where they serve Northeast food. Which by the way is my favorite type of food in Brazil.  

We had to wait for a little because it was just the way I like it unorganized and chaotic, but I didn’t care, because I was with my friend and her family. She has the cutest baby and the coolest husband, who joined me while eating compulsively, for one hour nonstop. In this restaurant, you have to mark on the list what would you like them to bring next, and we marked down everything. Josh was too tired to enjoy, but I made sure I ate for both of us.  

Typical food from Brazil
All these little bowls with food, typical from Northeast Brazil.

Leticia was the one who got me into writing stories. When we were about 12/14, we used to write fanfics, about the backstreet boys and exchange notebooks with each other’s stories, and comment on, like real-life feedback. It was the coolest writing room experience ever. 

Santa Teresa, Rio de janeiro, Restaurante
The restaurant is called Cafe do Alto, and its located in the Santa Teresa neighborhood.

I only have 7 close friends, but I made sure to see them all. 

At night, still drowsy by so much food in the morning, I went to meet the other set of people. I have about seven close friends, and I made sure to see all of them. Lilly is my school friend, known her for 20 years, but it feels like I know her from a previous life.

We don’t talk every day, but we are always here for each other. We sat by a table in the street, where there was a tent selling craft beers. The guys put some tap beers, with beers I believe he makes himself, and sell it for a cheaper price than the bars on the street. 

Out of nowhere, Lilly was laughing and I asked her why she said “The homeless guy that just passed by, look at Josh and said he was a gorgeous man. Emphasis on the gorgeous” Not that my husband is not gorgeous, but never in America, a homeless guy told him he was beautiful and didn’t even ask him for change. Josh felt precious and I mock him for the next hours.  

When in Rio, just go for it.

Soon after, Fabiano joined the group, and the nonsense starts. Gosh, I missed Rio! We started talking about Karaoke, so Fabiano gets up and decides to takes us to Karaoke. We were all asking but where? Where? And all he could say was “Follow me” Oh well, when in Rio, just go for it. 

We walked to the place he said the Karaoke was, we knock, and the security guy told us that they were not having Karaoke Saturdays, due to Corona and they didn’t want a crowd a place and get shut down. So we kept walking. Once again, on our way to having dinner at the mall, Fabiano suddenly stops and rings at someone’s door.

“What are you doing? Oh no, he is gonna get shot. Just keep walking, he will follow us.” A guy opens the door, gives Fabiano a big hug like they don’t see each other in months, and invite us all in. The house was a recording studio/bar. 

The guy brought us a table and some chairs and we bought some drinks. We got beers, Josh tried cachaca, the distilled liquor made from sugar cane juice and we listen to music in a borrowed Bluetooth sound system. Just us, in an empty garage, having a great time. Forget about Corona, forget about the life pains, forget all your troubles. All it matters is here and now. 

The night moved on to meet the same friend from the previous day, Renata, at Outback. Renata is also a friend for over 20 years, she was there for all the important moments of my life and I’m here anxious, waiting for the day we are finally going to Disney together to celebrate.

Outback in Brazil is fancy and upscale.

If you say you are having dinner at Outback it means you can afford some prestigious five-star dinner. When I tell this to Americans, they think I’m out of my mind, since Outback here is so random. 

I said goodbye to my friends, but I didn’t want them to leave. So they all decided to go to have dinner with us. What was planned for 3, now got a table for 8? It took us over an hour to have a table, but again, I didn’t care. I was enjoying the time I had with my friends. I didn’t have that impostor syndrome that is constant in the back of my head. 

Our flight was leaving for Vitoria early in the morning, so we couldn’t stay as much as we would like to. Again, saying goodbye had to be fast, otherwise, I would have just stayed. And I mean stayed, not coming back. It sounds reckless, but I didn’t have this feeling of belonging since I moved to the States in 2012. I miss the feeling of belonging somewhere. All I’ve been doing is pushing through it. Elections, pandemic, elections, vaccines, mask, job changes, online college, moving again. 

What’s next?

It’s not fun to live in a constant state of “what’s next?” Where nothing looks familiar and you have scattered friends.

Leaving Rio in a haze of emotions and decisions for the future. I had the best time and I will be looking into writing some scripts in Portuguese, once they are ready, I will try to find them a house. In Brazil. Because have some success where I was born and raised will have a completely different taste. 

To all my friends who made time to see me, Lilly, Pedro, Fabiano, Fran, Renata, Lele, Leo, Simone, Phillipe, Patricia, Pablo. You guys are the best.

See you soon, my friends! Stay Healthy and Stay Busy.

XXX

J.Snell