Monday, September 7, 2009

More of the same...

And another week passes, just like that. Today was my 66th day in Brazil, and guess what... It was perfect. I played soccer on the beach and swam in the ocean. I have only 101 more perfect days here in South America before I fly home! Gotta enjoy each and every one to the fullest!

So I did indeed do my fair share of soccer playing and ocean swimming this week- again- but let's just assume that's an uninterrupted pattern and skip ahead to the other stuff. Monday and Tuesday were pretty boring, just class and beach. On Wednesday I had to visit PUC to complete my official course registration and take my student ID photo. Supposedly we'll get our cards this week, which is sweet because students with ID only pay half price for movies, soccer games, plays, concerts, museums, parks, and similar admission-charging venues. A night showing at most cinemas in Rio will now cost me just the student price of R$6, or around US$3! Might have to take advantage of that bargain, huh? Classes on Thursday passed quickly, and I was excited to buy my first book for Brazilian Literature: A Grande Arte by Rubem Fonseca. It's a murder mystery that takes place in Rio de Janeiro; the main character mentions a gym on my street on page 11! I thought that was extremely cool, even though the girl on the treadmill is the assassin's first victim... On Friday I felt adventurous and decided to walk all the way around the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in the center of Rio's southern zone. It took me around three hours from start to finish, although I admit I was snapping photographs and working out on the pull-up bars every chance I got. Some of the pictures came out really nice despite the cloud cover and stagnant water (like the one of the Christ accompanying this post!). On Saturday night, Brazil played Argentina in an away World Cup qualifier match. I went to watch it with some friends at an open-air bar in Ipanema, surrounded by die-hard fans that have closely followed Brazilian soccer for at least sixty years each. That's exactly the kind of crowd I like to be a part of for a rivalry matchup like Saturday's! I screamed for each of Brazil's three goals, fell silent when Argentina scored, complained about the referee's calls and ridiculed Argentine legend/coach Diego Maradona every time he appeared on screen. I learned the lyrics of a passionate anti-Maradona anthem and sang along with all my peers. It went like this: "Cheira Maradona, Maradona cheira, cheira Maradona seu amor jรก foi embora!" ("Maradona smells, Maradona smells, Maradona smells so his lover left him!") It's way more eloquent in Portuguese, trust me. I ended up pulling an all-nighter after the game, chilling at Copacabana Beach and watching a couple movies in a friend's apartment. I finally made it home at 9am, after which I slept until 2pm, Skyped with my family, and wrote a new song on my guitar. Today was Brazilian Independence Day, and because God is Brazilian He turned Sunday's rain into Monday's sun. Since the winter temperature reached a satisfactory 91°F, Ipanema was completely packed with beautiful Brazilians and tourists alike. Needless to say, "I played-----" :D

On the way home from the beach I witnessed two amazing sights. First was a middle-aged woman walking along the street juggling a soccer ball. Since I was walking the same direction anyway, I slowed my pace to watch her. I told myself I would only follow her until the ball hit the ground. Fifteen minutes later, I was still trailing behind her, mesmerized by her incredible skill and slightly upset that I've played soccer my entire life only to have a 50-year-old Brazilian woman unwittingly show me up. Not only was she juggling with her feet, shins, thighs, chest, and shoulders, but she was also stalling the ball on her head and walking normally! After I passed her, sufficiently humiliated, I saw a man on rollerblades do a complete front flip off a curb- on purpose- and land it perfectly! I started clapping, and he gave me a thumbs-up as he skated off in the other direction. Who needs a circus when you have the Ipanema Beach boardwalk?

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