Rio de Janeiro: Day 6

Night Activities: Dancing, dancing, dancing.

I am lucky I packed so many different dresses. Every night, there’s been some kind of dance, event, or party. Last night, a group from our hostel went out again for dinner and dancing. At dinner, they all ordered several beers (I ordered water). They were surprised to see that I owed much less at the end of the night for my bill. Really? That’s because I just don’t drink much. I don’t feel like I have to in order to have a good time.

The fact that I’m a non-drinker seems to puzzle international travelers abroad. Alcohol is such a part of their culture.

Here’s a pretty typical exchange between me and another traveler.

“Are you not feeling well?”

“I’m feeling fine. Why?”

“Oh. I just thought since you weren’t drinking, you weren’t feeling well…”

“Nope. I’m just not really a big drinker.”

“Oh. Did you drink too much last night or something? You’re hung over?”

“Um… no. I just rarely drink.”

“Oh.” (random silence)

“So…” (I change the topic)

Blah blah blah. Always the same story. There’s nothing wrong with people that drink regularly, but I’m just not one of them. I have a hard time justifying that much money to something that seems unnecessary for me. I have as much fun as anyone else when I go out – but the difference is – I feel better the next morning AND I also remember what happened the night before.

Abstaining from alcohol isn’t an easy thing for everyone. This skill developed over time. When I was in college, all my friends would go out and get drunk – except me. Since I am social, I really didn’t want to skip the bar scene altogether; but I also knew that I could not join them. I had things to be doing besides getting drunk.

For this reason, I had to find a way to train myself to have as much fun as they were having – just without alcohol. This training basically involved mindfully letting go of my inhibitions and relaxing enough to become like them without needing alcohol to get me there. I’m pretty sure anyone could do this. It just takes a little time and work.

Sometimes it helps if you have another activity available besides drinking. Like… dancing! If there’s a good band and a dance floor, it’s no problem for me to have a ton of fun without alcohol. I looooove to dance.

Dancing with the Stars

Last night I went to Rio Scenarium for a fancy samba party. It was a lot of fun! I’m not really that good at samba, but I do know how to salsa. I had a nice Brazilian girl show me the basic steps and then basically made up my own variations and went to town on it. I’m pretty sure 70% of it was not “correct,” but I’m also pretty sure that it really doesn’t matter that much.

Everyone was really good at dancing, but there was one particular male dancer that stole the entire show last night. He was with a group of dark handsome men from Spain and people would literally stop dancing just to watch him and make room for him.

(I secretly hoped that he would ask me to dance because it would be a bit like “Dancing with the Stars.” He was literally that good! But the chances of him asking me, a beginner, were pretty slim.)

Most of the night went by and I did my own dancing, occasionally stopping to watch him when he got going really well with another female dancer. Afterwards, I would just go back to dancing with my friends or other people around me. In the midst of these mundane activities, he stopped and asked me to dance.

I knew that I probably should say no, because he was amazing and I was not. BUT, this was my only chance to dance with a star. So, I didn’t say no. I said yes. And it was by far the best dance of my life.

Everyone in my group was so surprised. They asked me how I kept up with him and followed everything he was doing. I literally have no idea. He is such an effective communicator on the dance floor that I just KNEW.

Afterwards, I was so out of breath and exhausted that I really surprised myself. I hadn’t noticed that we were going that fast or hard until it was finished. I still think it might have been a dream. But I have some proof that it happened. So, we’ll go with it. :)


His name was Ramone and he continued to dance with me for the rest of the evening. I was very lucky, as I do not feel deserving of this honor. I think it helps to have the Mid-Missouri charm. The whole group of men from Spain were fans of Missouri by the end of the night. “We love Missouri! In the middle of nowhere!” :) I love Missouri, too! Haha! They were very funny.

Day Activities: St Teresa for Lunch

This night activity lasted until 5am… so I slept a bit and woke up to go to lunch with friends in St. Teresa – a very cute district in Rio for artists. They have what I would call the “hipster district” and some of the first balanced/healthy meals I’ve seen since arriving. I’ll be eating there more often.

That’s all for now.


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