Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Rio...

After my day of wandering around somewhat aimlessly, Regina decided some-hands-on guidance was in order. (I’d been left to wander alone with a clear directive to be very careful and come back home before dark.) Being super-attentive, nothing untoward happened. Nonetheless, the fear of robbery and assault is palpable. All windows are barred and there is a ton of police presence in public parks and plazas. In part I did my solo wander because Regina’s Mom had a painful relapse of her bone cancer and the day was filled with getting her to the hospital – pick up narcotic painkillers, etc. That evening she moaned in pain – I felt so bad for her. Miraculously the next-morning she was puttering around the kitchen making breakfast for everyone. What an absolute trooper!

In that Mom was doing okay, Regina announced that she would take me out and about. First we took a meandering bus ride down to the Copacabana Beach. Yes, it’s gorgeous. One of my favorite innovations was a sprinkler tube that lay over the hot sand so that one might comfortably walk down to the perfect shore. We did a beach walk, bought coco’s gelados (chilled coconuts) and took it all in. Next we went to a kilo-restaurant (body-conscious Brazilians would not tolerate an all-you-can-eat buffet) and ate a bit of this and that. Then Regina went to a photography class and I took a tram up to Paio de Azucar (Sugar Loaf) mountain and marveled at the Rio Bay expanse. (When the first explorers “discovered” Rio de Janeiro – they thought the bay was a river and being January, they thus named it.)

Suddenly I found myself in the midst of a zillion international tour-groups with guides barking out directives in French, English, Spanish, German and Japanese. Their itineraries were packed with must see Rio-moments and mine was still unfolding. For a moment I wished it wasn’t on me to figure it all out and that 45 minutes later I would be surrendering my being to ready-transport to another hot spot. Instead, I spent several hours photographing the bay from different angles and levels. I quietly squeaked away amidst the flurry of barking guides and continued my wander. While Regina had suggested I might want to visit an indigenous people’s museums, I faced there really wasn’t time so I visited a huge shopping mall (and to my eyes a museum). It was kind of like the Beverly Center of Rio, replete with a food court, non-stop shoe stores, high and low-end fashion stores and hair / nail salons. Being a frumpy misfit I just looked and occasionally took photo notes….

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