Monday, January 30, 2006

happy trails

30 jan 2006

We fly out today. By this time tomorrow I´ll be back in Bubbaland.

Yesterday was great. Everywhere we went, samba kept breaking out. On the way to have an early lunch, there was a samba de mesa in a little bar on the side street. Just a few friends singing songs and having a beer or two. The sort of bucolic scene which would immediately attract police brutality in Austin, the "live music capital of the world".

After that we went to Xuxa´s party in a quiosque behind the airport. Cool spot right on the Bahia Guanabara in a place which doesn´t smell bad. There were about 150 of Xuxa´s closest friends there. BBQ, beer, samba. There´s this cool group of folks called "sambamantes" (samba lovers) who go out together to enjoy live music, mostly samba. They were there and were playing and singing along with the boom box. I continue to be amazed at how everyone in Brazil knows all the words to all the songs. How can that be? I don´t even know the words to one song in English!!

Anyhow, a huge thunderstorm came through and so the Brazilians decided to fight back by partying even harder. So there we were, singing away in a driving rain storm with cars literally floating down the street. As the rain let up, a samba de roda broke out and everyone started switching off singing and dancing in the roda. As Spiro says, "Without the song, there is no rumba". Without the song, there is no samba de roda. Big fun.

We then walked back to Flamengo through the Aterro do Flamengo. Beautiful tropical park between the city and the bay. Finally wound up at the street corner in Catete, our usual Sunday hang. There was no bateria due to the rain but, in typical Brazilian fashion making lemonade out of lemons, there was a pagode. A good one. All about groove and the song. Everyone playing and listening. No drunks or show offs. There were venders with ice cold beer and churrasco. All the neighbors were there. It really doesn´t get much better than that.

Went to Parme pizza afterward for a light midnight snack of all-you-can-eat pizza. I don´t even know how many pieces I ate. At the end they bring things like chocolate and strawberry pizza with whipped cream on the side.

After that I fell into a little coma and woke up this morning still in paradise.

Off to the beach for one last walk. Tomorrow I´ll be dodging bowheads driving SUV´s and talking on cell phones.

Jacare signing off. j