Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blame it on Rio . . .

What a wild town. . . I now know why the people walk so slowly. It's too hot to walk as fast as we do in the north. And very warm, up to 90 today, we wandered through colonial neighborhoods to find the Museu do Indo, a small museum of Brazilian indigenous peoples, their beliefs and artifacts.

We must have walked miles to the Urca neighborhood by the bay near Sugarloaf to sit in an open air cafe, Garota da Urca, by the beach. Our waiter brought us Cuban chicken with crusty fried bananas that melted in our mouths, and rice mixed with peas, green peppers, ham and plump, big raisins. Afterwards, cafe espresso. I'm addicted.

We took two cable cars to the top of Sugarloaf (Pau d'azucar) for sweeping vistas of Rio and watched the sun set and the lights of the city slowly blink on.

Yesterday in Copacabana, we spotted this sand castle. At first I noticed all the crosses and thought how religious. But check the image over the gate! And if you like, check out more pictures on Webshots (see link to the right).

Tomorrow perhaps an excursion to Santa Teresa, a trolley car ride, ruins and another museum of the colonial era. That's after a leisurely breakfast and a morning spent writing. Internet access is still chancey, but when we scan the newspapers in Portuguese to keep up and hit CNN when we're connected. The news on CNN is far grimmer on the U.S. and world economy than what's reported in Rio's Globo, which currently runs distressing headlines about the attacks and counterattacks between Gaza and Israel.

We do see a few young men sleeping in the streets and an occasional beggar. Nothing like what I'd see in San Francisco. People easily walk on the streets at night (but we've not been out later than 9 pm; some would call us slackers). Everyone we've talked to is excited about Obama's presidency, now just a week away. Here in this beach town, everyone seems set on simply getting to the beach and to the sun. I'm starting to feel guilty about being retired, but not too guilty. May you find joy wherever you are!

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