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Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

We`re Brasil NUTS - Notes from Rio

BRAZIL | Tuesday, 18 September 2007 | Views [1513]

view from the Corcovado in front of ¨Cristo Rendetor¨ you´d need to be in a helicopter to capture the view from across Christ´s shoulders

view from the Corcovado in front of ¨Cristo Rendetor¨ you´d need to be in a helicopter to capture the view from across Christ´s shoulders

I`m sick of cities. I rarely spend more than 3 days in one, before moving off to where green things grow and pigeons have only two legs.

Pollution, noise, smells, crime, stress, sewage, crowds, rats, cockroaches, traffic, congestion, black snots, attitudes.......

Rio has ALL of these in abundance, except it is incomparable with anywhere else.

The city, famous for carnivals, Caipirinhias and Copacabana has something else. Without doubt, set in the most naturally beautiful landscape of any city in the world, I have fallen in love. (and not just with the G-stringed stunners on the beaches - woof!)

Squadrons of sharp-angled, frigate birds float like children’s kites above the sweeping arc of Copacabana. Curvy tanned bodies are everywhere and the blokes don`t care much either, choosing the shortest of shorts, whilst kicking footballs on the beach.

We rented bicycles and headed towards the no-less extraordinary beach at Ipanema for lunch. We were keen to sample Brazils national dish (Feijoada) at a specialist restaurant. Our inaugural meal in Rio had been chargrilled galeto (poussin) served with salad of palm heart, washed down with Guarana juice.

Having spent 3 weeks beef-munching in Argentina, we had begun to grow udders, so the sight of exotic fruits and plentiful salads (oddly absent in Argentina) made us smile. My arteries were happier too.

Oddly, we were only able to purchase two apples in Argentina and they were confiscated by the fruit police at a checkpoint - true.

We pedalled along Ipanema`s bike track towards tropical towers of rock. Stopping at point 9 (apparently an area where intellectuals ponder life) I strapped the bikes to a palm tree and headed off to sample classic Brazilian fare.

Returning from an incredible meal of trotters, beans, salads and stews I unzipped my trouser pocket to find the key to the bike chain. There was some loose change but no key.

Repeatedly checking each pocket, I dug deep for 5 minutes trying to find it.

Nothing. Nada.

We walked some distance back to the bike shop in sweltering heat, although the views were even better at a slow pace. The curl of the waves breaking near to the beach, Sugarloaf mountain in the distance and to our left, over hills and tree canopy, high on a prominent rock, the outstretched arms of Cristo Rendetor - the most famous of all Brazilian landmarks.

As we entered the shop, our heads hung low in shame, I explained to the unshaven man with oily hands and scruffy T-shirt what had happened. He looked me up and down, and as I talked using drawings to explain our predicament, his wrinkles steadily deepened. A smile emerged as the blundering Englishman attempted Portuguese.Errr Esque vous uma sparo keyo segnor?

It was with some trepidation that we set off down the beach brandishing the tools of a bike thief. A small group of Ghetto kids scanning the beach did double takes when they saw what we were holding. They must have thought we were competition.

As we arrived at the palm tree, I noticed another bike was also strapped to the other side of the trunk. Without hesitation and with Maria as lookout, I knelt down and began having a go at cutting off the chain.

I began snipping the rubber housing, doubting if I`d ever get the damn thing off when Maria tapped me on the shoulder.

Ignoring it, I continued in my attack of the metal tube within. This was easier than I thought.

I was reasonably quickly through this, although my knees were beginning to hurt on the tiled pavement. A thickly-twined steel core of wires lay at the centre. Tricky.

Maria was tapping on my shoulder again.

¨What?¨ I snapped, trying to focus on the wires. ¨Just pass me the hacksaw¨

Nothing came. ¨Hacksaw please!¨

Still nothing.

I cranked my head up to see why I was being ignored.

Standing either side of her were two men wearing baseball caps, tight-fitting cream shirts and darker beige trousers. Attached to their waists were truncheons as long as my arm and large guns in holsters. They looked decidedly unamused.

To make matters worse, the guy who had his bike attached to the same palm tree arrived and began pointing at me and the chain. He was telling the police all sorts of stuff in Portuguese that I didn’t understand.Did we look like bike thieves?

Luckily for us, he appeared to be telling the police that the two bikes were rented and that the stupid Englishman must have lost the key. I felt like Mr. Bean.

We saw a change in their eyes and the kind men of the law began to help us remove the chain.

We departed from the beach on our bikes, free and thankfully, nothing was locked up.

I demanded, throwing my arm upwards for the implement.I said, purposefully. His head shook. Passing me a pair of wire cutters and a hacksaw from under the counter, I clearly understood what he was proposing. He had my passport and 300 dollars. I had nothing.

Tags: Adventures

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