Friday, January 19, 2007

Of hideouts and men

There are hidden gems all over the city that only locals and lucky tourists will ever know about. Hideouts. Places like my favorite little café tucked away in an ancient mansion in the middle of a park known primarily as a fun place to take kids in strollers...but has a spectacular view of the mountains, live music on the weekends, and low tables, couches, and pillows to lounge on while you sip a cup of tea or exotic soup. A special little beach with almost no crime and monkeys in the nearby trees, where the full moon rises from the water. Or the booklover's haven under Rio Branco, where Berinjela and Leonardo da Vinci compete for book sales and browsers...but I'm stopping there. Because these are secret places, places that are wonderful because they fly under the radar and aren't spoiled by too much publicity. I save these places for my visitors. Curious? Come visit.

Tiago gained serious points today, in the boyfriend point-rating scale...he took me to a place that is hands-down better than any of the other "secret" places I'd found in the city. I'm not telling you where it was, but suffice to say...

-there was water and a view overlooking the sunset.
-there were painted capibaras (how DO you spell that?), some sort of tailless squirrel creature, casting their shadows onto the sidewalk.
-the food was really expensive (we only had juice!) and exotic, full of Amazonian specialties and a menu with a full page just devoted to explaining what everything was...funky fish and "marble" seeds, gourd dishes and jabuticaba caipirinhas...
-there were these bamboo loft sofa things about five feet off the ground, stacked with colorful pillows...where we most definitely sat!
-I got to take my shoes off and lay down in public in Rio, put my head in Tiago's lap and watch the sun set...surrounded by hot pink pillows and the delicious scent of bamboo mats.

Gorgeous. He's more than redeemed himself for the confusions of the past week. Not that I talk about them on the blog; suffice to say that cross-cultural relationships are difficult. Worthwhile and thrilling and life-enriching, but sometimes give you cause to binge on all your stashed American snack food, call home crying, stomp around the house tearing your hair out or sit around fighting a great desire to throw your cellphone against the wall. Or maybe it's just me. And not that I'm saying that I did all (or any) of those things simultaneously in the last few weeks. I can't speak for Tiago.


We're getting better at communication; speaking each other's language is rather difficult when we're expecting the other person to read our mind. Now that we've established that neither one of us is cut out for telepathy, we seem to be on a much better wavelength!

It is hot here. The rain has finally broken and I spent the day kicking myself for having forgotten to bring my swimsuit down to the Zona Sul. I got some advice from a lawyer acquaintance about visas and will be checking out some possibilities in the next week...maybe I'll be taking the entrace examinations after all. Let's hope they're more interested in my ability to pay for the course than my knowledge of obscure Portuguese grammar, physics or Brazilian history. I'll ace the foreign language section though, no doubts about that!

Good evening, have a great weekend, God bless each and every one of you. Avoid mosquitos if you live in the tropics. They're out in droves tonight!


--jenna said...

p.s. the capibaras weren't real...they were wooden. just to clarify!

Ali la Loca said...

Oh, we've got to do some "favorite secret place" bartering when I finally make it to Rio again. My place to tempt you with is an old diner-style restaurant where you sit on stools at a horseshoe-shaped bar and have the most exquisite Bahian food, tasty and in downtown Rio! Oh, I just thought of about 20 more places I love. What a city, huh?

I hear you on the communication thing. Even though Rico and I speak a language that is very close, we still have problems every once in a while.

Funny stories, the main one revolving around a road trip here where I saw a dead snake on the road and said, "Eu queria ver a cobra," meaning that I wanted him to stop the car. He just kept on driving. I said it again. He kept driving. Then I pulled out the old, "Você tá me ignorando?" almost prompting a huge discussion.

Apparently "queria" is unarguably past tense in his book, not a polite way to make a request. :)