Sunday Encounters

In my first-ever 7km walk around the Lagoa, I met this lovely fellow walking around as well.

I am starting to understand why it’s easier to stay fit in Rio. Exercising outside is so much fun!

I’ve also started a new tradition: sunday, coconut cake from Bahia at the hippie fair in Ipanema. Little pleasures!

Entrepreneurship in Action

Failing to find something adequate, this little girl decided to take her destiny into her own hands and finally find herself an apartment.

A perfect deal in Copacabana turned into a nightmare when I found out that the ancient lawyer that the owner hired to rent out the place requires local guarantor and won’t accept any other means of guarantee (even several months of rent in advance). My relocation assistant went crazy trying to devise and involve me in crazy schemes to solve this situation. I was nearing a nervous breakdown and decided this is way not my Karma.

So today, I started calling real estate agents on my own and talking to them with my broken Portuguese. Although I didn’t find anything, I was proud of the fact that I managed to communicate with them and make myself understood.. baby steps.

Then I decided to step-up my efforts. I started walking around the street next to my house and talking to doormen, to see if they have any apartments available. Apparently here, there is the underground doormen -real estate mafia. They have all the information and they compete with the agents. One of them, at first attempt told me – no, we have nothing. Then I went away and came back, and he said – yes, we might have something. Let me speak with the owner. We exchanged phone numbers. Then another doorman, told me that he knows some other buildings that might have something and he will ask around. The mademoiselle in distress strategy worked like a charm.. I am new here… I just moved. I am trying to find an apartment and I like this area so so much, but it’s impossible to find anything.. can you please please help me??? I also explained to one of them that Israel is not a Catholic country and that Jews existed before Christians and that Jesus was a Jew. He was really impressed. Hopefully, this will give him some religious inspiration to help me!!

I am learning so much about human relationships in this country.  When society lacks procedures or known rules for almost anything, relationships are the only thing that one can rely on to get ANYTHING done. For example, one’s bank is not judged by its quality or availability of services or rates of commission, but rather the bank manager that you have to deal with. If the manager is a good one, you are in the game. If he or she is not so good, GOOD LUCK, my friend!

When market prices are not transparent

After seeing more than 25 apartments, the only conclusion I can make about Rio real estate is that there is no pattern whatsoever about it. For the same price, one can find 1BD, 2BD, modern, old, in a nice neighborhood, in a bad neighborhood, ocean view, facing a wall, etc etc etc. This is crazy because one can’t ever know if  he or she is getting a good or bad deal. It seems like a lot of the good supply depends on connections and/or pure luck. But one can easily encounter numerous wall-facing apartments with falling apart everything for exorbitant prices and shameless owners refusing to re-model anything.

Eh, the decision on my plate – for more or less the same price:

1. 1BD in an apartment building (daily cleaning), decent condition (super ugly furniture), good view, nice balcony, good location but in Botafogo, includes some utilities. Shorest commute to work.

2. 2BD in normal building, semi-furnished, very cute. Good view. no utilities included. No A/C.  slightly worse location in Botafogo.

3. 2BD in Copacabana, huge apartment, amazing location, close to all my friends. Has A/C, semi furnished but will have to upgrade. no utilities. lots of character. kind of an old apartment with mostly shitty furniture but very nice building.

How does one make a decision under such a complicated criteria?!!


Clubbing Shmlubbing

2 glasses of wine, 1 mojito and a dizzy night later, I remembered once again that I have to stop drinking altogether. I don’t like the during and I don’t like the after. So what’s the point. It’s like the one-night stand argument.

One thing that I find universal everywhere I go is that every club is just one big meat market. Clubbing falls under the same category as networking events for me.  You are there to see and be seen. There are people that matter ‘more’ and people that matter ‘less’. If you end up in the matter-less category, however, unlike in networking (at least for me),  you feel like you’re worthless and life is just a piece of crap. But why? Who are they to judge?  In the networking world, they would probably be the matter-less ones themselves. Probably.

The only mitigating factor for me in clubbing is music. I love dancing and I am willing to tolerate the straight dive into shallowness just for it. Last night did not have such mitigating factor, at the Zozô Bar, near the Sugar Loaf. An incredible location. Cariocas seem to love this place. The line was stretching almost all the way to the mountain. The cool-wannabes, myself and Co. , skipped the line thanks to our Brazilian friend that probably told the hostess that we are some kind of gringo VIPs. It felt good to be special for a moment. The place was very cool inside and even had a giant tree supporting the ceiling. Scores of women were popping out from every direction, armed with uber-high heels, tube dresses and beautiful hair. The remaining male population, rather short in general (or perhaps this was due to my 10cm heels), proudly strolled the grounds, armed with bulky arms and smug looks on their faces.  As I said before, MEAT MARKET.

The music was so so, and sometimes afterwards, myself and published writer got tired, and were ready to go home. I think I am going to abstain from clubbing. At least for a while.

Bottoms up

Today was an interesting day, starting from a self-organized favela tour, and finishing with meeting Brazil’s most famous Volleyball player.

On a spontaneous whim, the published author and I went to the favela Cantagalo, through the newly built elevator in Ipanema that connects the poorest residents of Rio with the richest ones. We didn’t really know where to go once we arrived at the Favela and asked people on the street where is the center. One of the ladies explained that it’s very complicated and she will get someone to help us. Her son and his friend came down and took us around the favela for two whole hours, telling us about everything and showing us all the nice views it had of the city attractions. We also met some people that were filming promotional materials about the cultural activities in Cantagalo and they offered us to teach us Funk dancing or give us surfing lessons. Everyone was so nice and friendly, and seemed happy to have us there. One gets to meet wonderful people in such random ways. We’ve gotten some future contacts for Funk parties, to come back and visit.

Later on, when coming back to the hotel, my brazilian friend told me that the guy next to the hotel was a famous football coach ( that’s what I heard her say), Bernardinho and he told me to take a picture with him. He was also so so nice and asked how do I know him.. I said that my friend told me that he is very famous, and I know how football is so important in Brazil. Then everyone around started cracking up. He was actually a VOLLEYBALL coach. Oh well, we all make mistakes. He was very nice about it…

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