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365 days in Rio

O amigo leitor Pedro Elias traduziu o texto “365 dias no Rio” para que mais gente além dos brasileiros possam ler.  Obrigado!

And then I stopped the car, pulled the handbrake and thought, “I came home.”

It has been one year. I landed with wife, dog and some bags. The move came the next day. It took me 33 years imagining “how would it be”, and now I have one to tell “how it was”.

Rio de Janeiro is my Paris. I do not dream of such a tower, nor care about the Louvre and do not even think it would be cool to drink coffee in that Champs Elysees. I find it charming to go to Copacabana beach, drink beer wearing slippers in Leblon and go to a samba at one of the big samba schools.

I heard a thousand lies and a thousand truths about Rio while I lived in another state. All fair in the end.

A Carioca exaggerates everything, for better and for worse. If he compliments the beach, he praises it saying it’s “the best beach in the world.” Talk about Rio being dangerous, he does not deny. He says it is “dangerous as hell.”

He treats his city as his child. Only he can criticize.

Cariocas don’t make plans to meet up they just meet up.

Confirming an invite here doesn’t mean anything. You suggest “let’s go?”, I say “Let’s.” Which does not imply necessarily accepting the suggestion.

Appointments in Rio are “around this time”. Sunday is Sunday. And relax, brother. Why the rush?

Within 5 minutes you become childhood friends, the second time you meet they embrace you and put a nickname on you!

They don’t take you home. They invite you to the streets. It is curious. But it is that the “street” here is so beautiful that being confined at home is a waste.

Cariocas walk in flip flops with no self judgement. They are free, devoid of any sense of sophistication.

On the contrary, they seem to feel bad in a formal setting and some refinement.

“Porra”(word with many meanings all considered at least rude) is a term that opens any sentence in town. I am still to go to a church to check, but I suspect that even Mass begins with “Porra, Our Father who art …”.

Cariocas are not competitive. I think it’s wonderful, after all, I come from the most competitive land in the country. And I confess: to compete all the time tires you.

I find it funny when they defend the rival club by the mere pride to say that “Rio’s football ” is well. They don’t even notice, but sometimes protect themselves.

They love this shit. It’s impressive!

Carioca is the person who is most Brazilian but they are so proud of who they are that they don’t even seem Brazilian.

Carioca has a nice smile, an arrogant air of “I know what’s up”.

Big mouthed, slick, short fused. They talk a shit load. And they know they are exaggerating.

They think they know what cold is. Imagine, they make fondue at 20 Celsius!

Barra (few miles away) is far. Buzios(beach paradise much further), right there!

Niteroi is a piece of Rio they don’t tell tourists about. Only they get enjoy it.

Nilópolis is far. Bangu too.

Cariocas, in general, think they are doing you a favor even if they are working. It’s all absolutely personal, informal.

If they like you, they serve you well. If not, they don’t.

You in a hurry? You gonna get irritated. They are in no hurry for anything.

You know that tasty(hot) girl “gostosa”who knows she is hot? Cariocas know where she lives.

Their localism is unique. Neither separatist nor playing victim. Just proud. Instead of hating a neighbor state, they make fun of it and kill themselves laughing at whom it offends.

Rio is meant to be happy.

They are traditional, they don’t like the world to evolve. A new building in place of the old house on the block is not seen as progress, but missed dearly.

They are loose and very outgoing. They swear to be the luckiest people in the world.

And who’s to say otherwise?

In Rio you become even more religious. That Christ looks at you every single day, with open arms. You can’t! You get to like the guy …

And here comes Friday and the gift to change the environment without moving at all. The Rio that labors turns into a vacation town. The clothes disappear, candid smiles appear for no reason, the sun, football, samba, Rio.

I’ve heard a guy tell me one day that “Rio is a lie well-told by the media.” He was from São Paulo, hated Rio, had never been here.

And he’s a smart guy. If you do not like Rio de Janeiro, stay away from it.

It’s the only way to keep your opinion …

In almost every major city I will notice an extreme effort to make tourists feel at home. An Italian in Sao Paulo is in Italy depending on where it is. A Japanese, ditto. An Argentinian goes to restaurants and an Argentinian environment in any major city.

In Rio de Janeiro no one gives you what you already have. Here, or you turn “carioca”, or you will waste too much time looking for a piece of your land.

It is not true that they are prejudiced to others. One must understand that the Carioca doesn’t claim to be Carioca for being born in Rio. Carioca is a profile!

Renato, the Gaucho(term for people from south of Brazil) is one of the most Carioca guys in existence.

There’s a whole ritual, a little way of approaching.

Call the waiter by their first name, the fellas “brother.” Smile, hug when you see someone you know. Accept the invitation, even though you won’t go.

Make plans for tomorrow, forget them 10 minutes later. Make friends, as many friends as you can.

The more friends, more beer, more laughter, more barbecues, more Carioca you get.

And the more Carioca you are, more you love Rio. As they do.

I like them. I like to look ahead and not see where it ends. I like the sun, hugs, to laugh too loud and not feel like shit for being broke.

I like how they make it happen. I like the simplicity and informality that approaches them to amateurism.

Life does not have to be professional.

It has to be “Gostosa”(tasty)

And of tasty ones, lets face it, Rio is full!

Oops! Sorry love! It escaped.
abs merrrrmão!