I’ve met some very exciting people today.
My first day in Rio… not bad! Initially I was a little scared because things look a little tougher here than they do in the Mid-west (and it smells a little different…), but the people are soooo nice.
I decided a few years ago on my trip to Europe that I must come across as a very approachable type of person. People just want to help me or something. I have no idea why. Today has been no exception.
On my 10 hour plane ride, I sat by a very nice Brazilian boy getting his PhD in veterinary science in Canada. I marveled at how well he slept sitting up. We talked about different things to do in Rio and exchanged information so possibly meet up again later this week.
Documentary Film Producer Man
It’s an hour drive from the airport to Ipanema where I’m staying. I had some instructions from the hostel to barter with the aerocoop (it’s like a taxi shuttle service) people for the best deal. They weren’t giving me the deal I wanted so I said I would find some other way to get there. At that point in time, a man at the window next to me asked me where I was headed (in an American accent), I told him Ipanema and he immediately invited me to share his cab with him. The window attendant warned him that the price was for one destination, not two. He nodded his head to her and mentioned to me that he didn’t think Ipanema was that big of a neighborhood – and it would at least get me close. I was extremely grateful.
We shared a cab (as in he paid for it and I got a free ride) for an hour and I found out he travels all over the world filming travel documentaries for various organizations. He was extremely worldly, and gave me a lot of good advice.
After we arrived at his destination, we both got out of the taxi and he talked with the driver. Turns out he was asking how much it would cost to have me dropped off as well. He exchanged some Reals (Brazilian money) with the driver and motioned for me to get back in the car. He had completely taken care of me. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again, but I’ll never forget his act of generosity.
Daniel – My Excellent Cab Driver
On the way to my hostel, my cab driver opened up and started talking a lot more to me. He asked me why I would share a cab with a complete stranger. I tried to explain to him that I felt like he was a fellow American that I got the sense I could trust. He still thought I was a little crazy, but I think he secretly admired me for it.
For the rest of the ride, he helped me work on my Portuguese – as I knew very little prior to today. Thanks to him and Thiago (you’ll hear about him later) I’ve made considerable improvements in one day. Daniel gave me his card and told me he would give me a great price if I needed a ride back to the airport. Very very nice cab driver.
Chris – A Very Friendly Hostel Owner
Picture a surfer man in his thirties from California. He runs a clean, straight laced hostel with no riff-raff. He’s also going to let me use one of his spare surfboards so I don’t have to rent. Yay!
Thiago – Attractive Footvolley Player
This man has already asked me to marry him. I declined, of course, but I did still get to learn about the game “Footvolley” from him. It’s a combination of sand volleyball and football. Basically just like volleyball but you can’t use your hands. It’s all heads, chests, knees and feet. It looks like a lot of fun, so I lingered and watched them for awhile on my walk at the beach. He noticed me and asked me to come over. Apparently, tomorrow I am getting a real lesson – maybe I’ll pick up a new sport while I’m here. Brazilians are very playful people. Everyone’s playing some kind of game on the beach – half of them, I’ve never seen before.
One funny story from talking to Thiago… I guess everyone knows about Brazilian bikinis and how they’re different from American Bikinis? Well, I was wearing my AMERICAN bikini and Thiago mentioned that I needed a new one. I asked why? He said, “Well, before I talked to you- I joked with my friends as you walked by that you were wearing a diaper because your bottoms are so big. They cover everything.”
Really! A diaper?!?
I saw several bare butts today, but I did not expect to be told I was wearing a diaper! Haha! I told him the kind of bikinis they wear in Rio would never be allowed in public areas in Missouri. He had no idea why. He also has no idea why I would be single. I told him I’m picky.
He’s taking me out tonight with our other Brazilian Footvolley friends. There’s a lot of them. They were all very nice. Plus, I like that they’re natives. I don’t really know a lot about what’s going on in Rio, so I feel a little more at ease when I’m with them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Thiago is in the army here and he has a very strong protective sense to him.
Kat and Elizabeth – Approachable UK Girls
Some UK girls staying in the hostel with me. Very nice. Very inviting. They’re coming to Lapa with me tonight. That’s where I’m going to meet up with Thiago and the footvolley men.
George – My Top-bunk Mate
George is very nice. He’s native to Rio, but he’s studying abroad in France right now. Just back for a few weeks to visit. He speaks very fluent English and Portuguese. I’m glad we’re both on the top bunks. I can tell he’ll be invaluable to me for this next week.
SIDENOTE: Sorry, I don’t have very many pictures yet. Lots of people told me not to take my iphone out while I was walking around Brazil by myself. Now that I have established a group of people to hang out with me, I won’t be so afraid to take pictures. :) More coming later.
I’ve got to take a nap and get ready for my big night out! Whoop whoop!