January 31, 2007

Rainy Rio
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Empty beaches in Rio de Janeiro isn't exactly the scene I was hoping for.

It's the evening of my second day in Rio, and I haven't seen sunlight through the ceiling of clouds above this city since I arrived. A drizzle intermittently falls from above, adding even more humidity to an already muggy summer day.

After saying goodbye and wishing the Swedes luck with their hotel hunt, I took a much needed shower, and got settled at my hostel. A little weary from the road trip from IguaƧu, I was hoping for a few minutes of sleep, but should have known that was wasn't going to happen in such a place.

I walked out to the beach and took in the scene. Copacabana beach was almost completely empty that day. A layer of damp sand broke away beneath my feet as I walked across the wide beach towards the sea, leaving a trail of dry sand behind me.

I did a lot of beach walking yesterday—probably close to 10 kilometers. I went down Copacabana to Ipanema, and back. It's an odd feeling being here.

I'm unhappy because of the weather and because I'm not particularly thrilled with the city, but at the same time I get this really interesting sensation from being in a place I've seen in so many photographs and television shows. I stand in the sand, look around, and acknowledge where I am.

…That sensation again; a tingle.

Secret Pockets

After almost four years of having the same swimsuit, I treated myself to a new pair of board shorts back in Buenos Aires for Christmas. What I haven't found the time to do (until today) is get a hidden pocket sewn into them.

I've never owned a money belt, and don't have any intentions of starting. Instead of all that hassle I've had extra pockets sewn inside the pants/shorts that I carry (including one in my board shorts).

The point of having one of these inside my swimsuit is that it gives me secure place to store my identification and cash, without worrying about the contents of the thigh pocket that comes with the shorts. With all the reported crime here in Rio, not having this pocket in place in my new shorts was bothering me.

The hostel gave me the address of a nearby tailor: Pepe Afantine, on Rua Barata Ribeiro #54.

Secret pocket

Pepe is a short, stocky, older gentleman who just so happened to speak Spanish—bringing a smile to my face—making communication on both our parts much simpler.

Pepe told me he didn't want to use a machine to sew the pocket in, but preferred to do it by hand. I told him I didn't really care how he did it, as long as it was a strong stitch.

I picked up my board shorts less than two hours later, and for BR$5 (US$2.35) Pepe had done a great job with the pocket (completely invisible from the outside). Easy, fast, and the work done as requested—worth every cent.

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