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

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Don Quixote

29jan 2006

There are stages of drunkeness. I think they are somethihng like this:

1. You´re clever
2. You´re pretty
3. You can sing
4. You´re bullet proof
5. You´re invisible

Xuxa was up there in the higher reaches last night/this morning when he returned from Salgueiro. "You think you're Don Quixote" is in the bulletproof/invisible range I'm pretty sure. Well anyhow, while trying to put sheets on his bed, he got into it with the fan which we have now nicknamed "Jaws". The fan tried to eat the bed sheets. Xuxa fought back valiently and then someone realized that they could actually kill the beast by unplugging it. It took a little longer than one would hope to come to this realization. This morning the fan looks a little like the Terminator near the end of the movie. Most of it´s skin is missing but it still works.

It´s noon and Xuxa is trying to figure out how he´s gonna get his game face back on by 1400 when the next party begins.

Samba was good last night. Canarios das Larangeiras were able to move back to Lapa and the rehearsal went much better. About half way through, a bunch of young guys from Badalo showed up and the samba started to cook. When Mestre Folia took over it got really hot. It´s just what you would expect, I bunch of 16 year-old kids who play their butts off and who are heavily steeped in funk as well as samba. Very, very funky. Hot tight breaks. Big fun.

About 3am some people in stage 3 infitrated the bateria so I we left.

For some cool samba de mesa check out the area of Lapa on the other side of the arches around where Rua do Riachuelo and Av Mem de Sa come togther. Xuxa is pretty sure he was there last night. Lots of old samba houses enjoying a resurgence of popularity. Almost every day there are two or three rodas starting around 8 or 9 PM. Be careful walking around that area late at night. There is a heavy drug scene just up the hill behind Asa Branca. Stay on the main streets. Take a taxi home. j