Thursday, 7 December 2006

Looks Are Deceiving!

I have now moved into my new flat in Leblon, the chic (the very word Cariocas use) part of Rio de Janeiro.

At first I was static: the views from those windows, the brightness of the flat, the sleek furniture.

But not everything is as good as it looks.
I had only visited the flat once before moving in, and that time I was closely followed by the woman from the agency; so I didn't really had the chance to try out things.
I did liked what I saw. I had seen so many horrible flats and more expensive. I was sick of searching. The end of November was approaching...
I decided, if they wanted me, I would keep this flat.

This decision of mine, of course added to the long list of bureaucracy that I had to deal with in the past two weeks. But that is another (very boring ) story. After getting a warrantor, and signing a contract officialised by a notary, I finally moved in, little by little, on Friday 1st December.

The first night I spent there was almost pushed by the circumstances. I had intended to get my things from the Gavea flat, but I was celebrating moving out of the "Wooden people's flat" at "Academia de Cachaca" with my friends until late (this bar is in Leblon), so I was forced to just walked to my new flat, with nothing with me.

After the horror of that flat in Gavea, my new flat looked like a palace. It is only now I face the daily reality: the TV doesn't work, the cooker has problems, the boiler, the lights...just as well that I moved into a residence with all sorts of employees at your service day and night. So far I have called the locksmith, the plumber and the electricity man.
Besides, the owner had taken the opportunity to remove a few things from the flat, which I thought I had the right to: the sound system, the side table, and the armchair.

After a few phone calls it seems everything is good now, (the owner will in theory bring back the things, except for the armchair!) . I don't dare imagining what it would have been if I had moved into a flat in a regular building.

I really like it, though. It is on a 24th floor. I am supposed to have broadband connection, but they are in the process of installing it. But I always get some wifi. Usually I connect to one that judging by its name, comes all the way, flying to me, from Copacabana.

And Leblon is great.

Yesterday was the opening night of a new shopping centre here in Leblon.
As it happens it's right in front of my building (although this time I cannot see it from my window, last January, when we were staying in the same building, in a different flat, we witness the construction of it).

Since I hadn't got anything better to do, and having heard about the traffic it caused on the national journal, I decided to go there. I had been hearing the cars honking for hours, it never occurred to me it was caused by the new shopping centre. I should have imagined. Just last week the whole of the South Zone of Rio was paralysed by the traffic caused at the Lagoa district, just because they were lighting the Christmas tree for the first time this year. It was hours before the cars could circulate normally.

So, off I went to the new shopping centre. It is huge. It looked elegant and chic.
But once again, Looks Are Deceiving. They rushed to finish it, to make the deadline for the Xmas shopping, and is shows. You see drips of paint in almost all glasses. Half of the escalators aren't working yet. There's bags of sand everywhere...
It's a pity. It could have been a beautiful place. I'm sure it will be properly ready before long, but it's a pity its entry to this world was marked by make-doing.

It seems as well as if it was an event for the socialites and the families of Zona Sul at once.
People were milling around, with mini bottles of champagne, long drinks and canap├ęs around shops and corridors. They had donned their best clothes. Girls wore flowers on their fashionable hair.

And that is it. I realised once more that, despite their friendliness and their relaxed ways, the Cariocas from Zona Sul, a bastion of middle class, are very affected by appearances.

It all has to look perfect. The packaging and the wrapping are as important here as the product itself. And that sadly applies to people as well.

A simple trip to the beach will confirm my suspicion: the joggers, the sun-worshippers, the girls carefully combing their hair with some product after swimming at the sea. Everybody perfectly accesorized. They give too much importance to form, rather than content.

But then again, aren't we all a little bit like that?

After all, there was me, with my nice little flat in chic Leblon, where nothing seems to work properly, but at least it looks beautiful.

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