So many great things (and one really bad thing-post forthcoming) have happened to us since we arrived in Rio that it would be impossible to describe them all. So here are some highlights:
On our first night here we checked into The Maze and decided to take the van (see last post for details about these things) back down to into the commercial center nearby to get some food. Tavares Bastos, the neighborhood where The Maze is located, is above the area called Catete. Lonely Planet describes Catete as a work-a-day neighborhood that was once a wealthy colonial sector, but has suffered from upper class flight. In any case, it’s pretty much all locals in the area now, which is nice.
On our ride down to Catete we sat next to a man named Mauricio. He organizes art events and we got to talking about his work. When we got to the bottom of the hill he asked us if we wanted to come check out his stuff. We did, so the three of us walked over to his apartment where we looked at his paintings, photographs, etc. They we very cool and I was hoping to see him the next night at the Maze’s jazz night, but didn’t.
Speaking of jazz night, that has definitely been a highlight of our trip so far. It took place on Friday, June 4, and was the sort of uber hip thing I’d always imagined I’d frequently be going to as an adult but rarely, if ever, actually do. It had kind of a swinging 60s meets the tropics vibe.
It started around 9 pm and ended about 3 am. There were different jazz bands playing the whole time, tons of people, and good food. I think many of the guests we’re almost as awestruck as we were by The Maze’s view.
Around midnight we left the jazz night and went to check out the house of a guy named Alexandre. Bob had introduced us to him, and he lives at the end of the alley that The Maze is located on. Alexandre is turning his house into a cultural center for the arts. To that end he has turned the upper level of his house into a semi enclosed concert venue and theater space. We went over there with a few other people who jammed for a while. I played drums with them as well.
When that ended we went back to the jazz night (because it was at the place we were staying) and hung out for a while longer. Eventually we got tired and went to bed.
We’ve also had a lot of great food. Today, for example, we ate at a sitdown restaurant for the first time on our trip. It was a pay-by-the-kilo place and we finally got beans and rice. It’s funny because I thought before we left that we’d be eating beans and rice everyday, but in actuality we’ve ended up buying more snack-type foods like cheese bread (pao de queijo), pasteis, pamonia, etc. We probably keep doing that because it’s a little bit cheaper for light eaters, our eating schedule doesn’t always align with restaurant hours, and food from little stands and local eateries is often some of my favorite.
Also, one of my favorite things to do here is buy some food from the grocery store and eat it on The Maze’s balcony. Sometimes we just eat passatempo-type cookies (like oreos) and passionfruit juice, and other times we’ve bought french bread, meat, and cheese and made our own dinner. This has the duel advantage of being our cheapest eating option, and of being delicious.