Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 16 - Hello Rio! (Now available in Portuguese: Dio Dezesseis - Ola Rio!)

I can see my house from here
We arrive in Rio around 1:30pm. From this point on, Pete and I are off the grid. No cell phones. No watches (which upon reflection was a bad idea!). No concept of time. And before we even got out of the airport, I thought I was going to die.

I wish DeNiro was this taxi driver
Most of the cabs from the airport to our hotel, the Merlin Copacabana, run about $90R ($1 US is equal to about $1.60 Brazilian Real). As we're heading towards the cabline at the airport, a guy pops out of nowhere and says Merlin - $80R. He's persistent and speaks a little bit of English, as well. Against all better judgment, we decide to take this guy's discount taxi - which isn't on the cabline mind you, but parked at the bottom of the parking garage.... and unmarked!!! I've got more questions about this decision than Alex Trebek. I ask the guy where his permit is, and he gives me a business card. Jorge. That's all. No license, tags, or permits on the windshield. No meter. I look at Pete, trying to communicate through telepathy: "Why the F are we getting in this car?!" What I actually say is, "Are you sure want to do this?" He replies, "We're all the way down here, might as well." Famous last words.

I try to memorize the cab's license plate; and as we drive towards Copacabana Beach, I'm thinking "Man on Fire" and "Taken" meets "City of God".  For sure we're getting kidnapped and our Brazil trip will merely entail the airport, ransom notes, and bags over our heads. This was the most nerve-racking cab ride I've ever been on. I try to make small talk with Jorge to become buddies so he and his cronies won't kill us; ask where all the gorgeous women are, what's the must-see in Rio. Turns out, Jorge's a nice dude and I was merely operating off stereotypes. But would I ever take an unmarked cab in a foreign country again? HELLLLL NOOOO!

After we drop our bags off at the hotel, we head to Copacabana Beach immediately, shoot my stand-up with my digital camera, then grab lunch at Balcony, which is across the street from the beach. Craving the world-famous Brazilian beef, I get a filet mignon sandwich and a Lokal Chopp, some bland Brazilian light beer. Pete gets some fried fish sandwich. It's all good, not slap-yo-momma-in-the-face good, but decent enough.


As we're eating on the patio, this gorgeous Brazlian woman walks down the main beach street. She's easily a 10 and for all I know, is featured prominently in the latest issue of Vogue. Out of nowhere, she sticks her thumb out, hitchhiking style, and a tiny, white, unmarked minivan picks her up. The van is full of 5 Brazilian dudes who, for all I know, are featured prominently in the latest issue of Ben Roethlisberger Monthly. This does not seem like a safe move on beautiful woman's part. Pete and are flabbergasted, concerned for women's safety, and immediately contemplate renting a minivan. >) Turns out, these little rape vans act as complements to the bus system.

I painted this
After lunch, Pete heads back to hotel for quick nap, while I go to an internet cafe to send my stand-ups back to my agent. When that's done, Pete and I take a long (2-miles and seemingly 5 hours - remember, no concept of time now) walk down Copacabana Beach towards Ipanema Beach. We didn't hold hands. At the intersection of the two beaches is Arpoador Point, where there are several rocks to climb on and a gorgeous spot to watch the sunset cascade over Ipanema. How gorgeous? Everyone cheered the sunset like it was a Pavarotti concert. Pete cried. That's not true.
I go by Cary-Lou Retton

Not a judgement free zone
In the same area, there was a gym on the beach where the weights were made of rocks. It's fun when people ask how much you bench - Ohhh, two big rocks. There was also a slackline nearby to test your balance skills. I evidentally have none.

Pete's archnemesis is Ralph Macchio
After our Ishtar-like hike (disclaimer - haven't seen the movie, solely judging off old VHS box cover), we ate at Porcao, a Brazilian rodizio where the staff continously brings out meat until you throw in the towel. And you typically throw in the towel Rocky-style when Apollo's in the ring. In other words, too late. We ate a cornucopia of filets, ribeyes, top sirloins, baby backs, chicken, pork, sausages, gizzards (surprisingly good if you don't think about it); along with a salad bar with all the fixings, including fresh sushi. The meal was heavenly until the bill came. Not fully understanding what was included and what wasn't, we dropped a total of $240R. That's nearly $150 US. Not exactly how we planned to budget our meals.

I photoshopped the hookers out
We tried to walk off the food, so we passed on cabbing back and walked nearly 3 miles. It didn't help the digestion, just made our feet hurt, too. On the way back, we noticed many of the beach kiosks were still open with plenty of customers. It's around midnight on Wednesday. Impressive. We were also whistled at by several prostitutes, some of the transvestite variety. Less impressive.

Grow up dude
Too full and too tired, we got back to the crib and crashed. The partying would have to come another day. Actually, at the hotel, I used a bidet for the first time out of curiosity. That was kind of like a party.


  1. LOL I love your new term "rape van"! That's gotta be a new addition to Webster's in 2011. Did you smoke a cigarette after the bidet?

  2. I'm going to get business cards with nothing but a colorful T-rex and my initials on it. Make'em wonder...

  3. "We didn't hold hands." Love that you added that line.