Carnaval not quite – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

After switching apartments from Copacabana to Leblon where things were a little bit less crowded, I took things pretty easy. I mean aside from the beach day I really only had one other big night out.

I was quite disappointed when I tried to go to the Sambodromo where things were just a little too hectic. That night after hitting wall after wall, we ended up just wandering down the beach. I was in a terrible mood so I really thought a walk down the beach feet in the sand by the surf was just what I needed. I ended up stumbling upon a tent set up on the beach playing decent music. After a headstrong debate on whether to stay or go, we ended up chatting with a few people then finding out it was a gay party. We chatted a bit making a few friends so I guess the whole night wasn’t a complete write off.

I mostly started getting antsy because after my one allotted afternoon of shopping, I really didn’t want to do anything but lay on the beach. And it was raining. The end of Carnaval was nearing and I really felt like I had missed something.

We dressed up and headed out to Scala where it was samba all night sprinkled with a bit of hiphop. I was wearing the complete wrong shoes so I ended up sitting most of the night. I put up my feet and people watched for the next few hours. Here they call a costume a fantasy and I was amused by those who really went all out. I said goodbye to Vani and Sam and checked out early. Well, early being 4am. Surprise surprise it was raining again and I lucked out getting a ride home for half the price the cabs were charging.

Moving from Cocacabana to Leblon afforded me more room to move around but it came at a price. The old woman who was renting us the place ended up being annoying and crazy. She would follow me around all day yelling at me in Portuguese and trying to make me drinks. Ok, its hospitable and all but at 6 AM? She said something about it being Carnaval so it was ok. And if there was ever motivation to quit smoking, she was it. If I hadn’t already, witnessing the long term effects in action would have stopped me dead in my tracks.

By Friday, I was aching to get outta there. Sweet Sam came to pick me up and we made our way to the bus station. When we had checked on the time, we calculated that we would have more than enough time and then some. But as we weaved our way through the crowded midday crowded streets, I began getting nervous. I thought about how the other night I was holding on for my dear life, knuckles white from the Indy 500 bus driver. I was sure we had been highjacked and some lunatic was trying to tip the bus over. Oh where was he now!

15 minutes left to go. I was NOT going to miss this bus. It was a 42 hour ride from Rio to Buenos Aires and I had psyched myself for it. I was not going to spend one more day in rainy Rio.

I grabbed Sam and we jumped off the bus and into a cab making it clear as crystal that we needed to get to Rodoviaria rapido! He said it was going to be tough but he would try. I distracted myself by taking pictures in the cab and even shot a downtown building fire.

With just one minute to spare Sam ran ahead to hold the bus while I dodged muddy puddles with my pack. I made it and as I collapsed into my not so comfy seat, I exhaled wiping the sweat from my brow.

I must admit the next 2 days on a bus was no picnic especially because the seats barely reclined and the bus was packed. I tried to be productive, cataloguing my minidiscs but something larger was looming. I couldn`t concentrate. I closed my eyes and I reflected on the past month.

I wondered what this mood I was in was coming from. I felt not right….unwell….homesick? Lovesick. I felt a warm tickling sensation sweep over my face. I opened my eyes and watched the sun come out.

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