I´m not coming home. Nope, I´m staying here. I was worried about Rio not fulfilling my expectations but it really has. I really think it is what they say.
Yesterday, after having a nice dinner by myself and waiting for my sick roommates to feel better, Kate was able to go out to see some bossa nova in a neighborhood called Lapa. After a crazy, winding taxi ride down Avenue Atlantico (just like Michigan avenue at home - tall buildings on one side, the beach on the other), we arrived in Lapa which was a little sketchy but very happening. The recommended place had a line down the block so we went to the place next door. Still full, but had great music. We watched the band for awhile and got a table. I am still enamored by Brazilian music. There are so many different types - the cheesy pop (I always love foreign pop music), the bossa nova, the samba (I think it´s faster, it´s what they dance to during carnivale). The lady I met on the salvador ferry explained another type to me, I forget which but I have the name somewhere. In the hostel bar last night, they were playing a CD that we really liked - Jorge Ben - When I get home I´ll have to get his greatest hits on amazon.
This morning the sun was out! And it was hot! and bright! We walked two blocks to ipanema beach and it was exactly what I had always dreamed of. I played in the big waves and drank coconut juice out of a coconut. The beach is actually clean, for a city beach. Kate saw a guy wearing a hot pink speedo with movie star faces on it. Marylyn Monroe, the cast of casablanca... It was fun to play in the waves until I had a minor jellyfish sting. There have been little jellyfish at a few beaches but they are mostly harmless. If they sting you, it only hurts for about an hour. Still unsettling to see them floating around.
I signed up for hang gliding (well, Kathy signed up for me when she ran back to the hotel to put our cameras away to keep them away from beach thieves.) I have been talking about hang gliding for months but when it came time to actually sign up I got really nervous. K & K left to go see Christo the redeemer (the giant Christ on the hill that overlooks the city, I´m going to see him tomorrow) and I waited for the hang gliding guys to come get me. Thankfully another guy had signed up at the hostel, Brett from Birmingham, England. So I had someone to be nervous with. Well, actually he didn´t act nervous, just me. I wãsn´t bad at all until we go up there and had to look over the cliff and see where we would be jumping off. Huge, huge cliff overlooking Rio. I thought we would be running down a flat surface, but noticed that the jump off point was a slanted wood plank, down at an angle. That bothered me A LOT. My knees were shaking and my heart was racing. I met a funny woman from Detroit who wasn´t nervous at all and I asked her "why are you not scared and shaking like me?" She had a bunch of caiaparnias beforehand. Then I noticed there was a little bar at the top. Thank God. I figured that one Michigander knows what´s best for another (former) Michigander, so Brett and I ran over to the bar and pounded a beer while taking pictures of eachother. I had to drink one more, then it was time for me to go. My flight instructor, Marcel (I think! prounounced in that lispy portuguese way) counted down and we ran down the slanted boards. If you don´t run really, really fast, you will drop much faster so it was an incentive for me to not screw it up. We jumped off, dropped really fast, I screamed, then all was very calm and I could take in the amazing view of Rio. It felt like 3 minutes but was actually 15. They had an automatic picture-taker so I have a roll of film from the hang gliding. I can´t imagine a more perfect place to try it. Rio is such an incredibly beautiful city. I want to do it again tomorrow. I´m not sure the website works but this is it http://www.riosuperfly.com.br/
Well, Kate leaves in an hour, I´ll be sad to see her go - Tomorrow night, Kathy and I leave. I don´t wanna go! I´m sure I´ll write one more blog though.