Friday, 12 January 2007

Becoming Carioca

I didn't know just how much Dr. O didn't want me writing about our life in Rio.
But shutting the car door on my thumb proves I should not underestimate his efforts to stop me writing. It wasn't very effective as you can see. I am back!

In fact I could have posted something yesterday, but the afternoon turned too quickly into night, and before I knew it, it was almost too late for going for a FIRST jog in the Calcadao (see photo), by the beach in Leblon and Ipanema. Every day, and anytime (day or night, hot or rainy) there are hundreds of body-conscious Cariocas running along the sea-front. I have now joined them. I am still not able to go to the gym for two reasons:
1. My thumb is still not fit enough to hold dumbbells and machines, and
2. (most importantly) I haven't yet paid!
Will do that on Monday. I promise.

On Tuesday, before my thumb threatened me with becoming as big as my head, the plan had been to check out a few bicycle shops and then go for the last day of my free pass, to sample a Tae Box class and a spinning one. But I had to change my plans and instead stay home, drugged in anti-inflammatory and with a bag of frozen peas around my hand.

Miraculously, I had a speedy recovery, so I was able to take my first hand-written notes (very bad hand-writing, though) yesterday when I attended my Maths course.
On the way back, as we WALKED (taking no further chances with cars for the time being) pass the place where the door met my hand, we spotted this sign:
(It reads: Warning. High risk of accidents)
I just wish we had read it beforehand!

I went to the feira (street market) today, as I always do on Fridays.
The only difference is that today I looked more Brazilian than before: I had finally acquired a "market trolley". This (here left) is my carrinho going away from the feira this morning. In deed, this week I am finally a regular inhabitant of Rio. Got my grant paid in (for December!), my check book and my credit/debit cards have (finally) arrived. So I can start paying everything in instalments!

I bought some funny vegetables that I hadn't seen before, and had only tried once at a bar last week. They're called "jilo" and they look like this. Apparently, Brazilians divide into two: those who hate jilos and those who love them! In fact, I had been told, Brazilians in general wonder why Cariocas (natural inhabitant of Rio) love them so much. They are quite bitter. But we fried them and we loved them! So, there we go, we could only have been Cariocas!
We accompanied them with some cachaca that we had chosen earlier in a hidden jewel of Leblon (the Garapa doida, in Rua Carlos Gois) . That was again, something very Brazilian, since we sample various cachacas served chilled and in tiny glasses, they had been matured in different woods (oak, pau brazil) and for different time (2 yrs to6yrs) , and also some sweet liquors (lemon and Jabuticaba- an amozonian fruit). We felt very academic about our drinks after all that study.
This is the one we went for in the end. It rolls really smooth (only 37 degrees of alcohol compared with the common 44!)

In fact, it was all a nice excuse to celebrate our first 100 days as a married couple!

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