The Cisne Negro Dance Group will perform at the Theatro Municipal in São Paulo this weekend. The Brazilian dance group, which has been around for 27 years, will launch their contemporary dance piece Reflexo do Espelho”, created by French choreographer Patrick Delcroix, as well as “Talvez Sonhar..” by Denise Namura and Michael Bugdahn, and “Fruto da Terra” by Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili. The group, which includes Ademilson Moretti, Alessandra Herszkowicz and Andressa Miyazato is well know for the traditional Christmas performance ‘The Nutcracker’.

When: May 21, 22 at 21h00. May 23 at 17h00.
Where: Theatro Municipal, Praa Ramos de Azevedo, São Paulo. Tel.: (011) 222 8698
Price: R$10 to R$25

By Bill Dee
Bossa Nova was born around 1957 in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, the musical city by the sea, as was appropriate. A group of youngsters seeking something different in music and a composer by the name of Antonio Carlos Jobim were getting together in local bars to play and create some of their ideas. Little did they know that a young man from the north by the name of Joao Gilberto would cross their paths and take them to musical heights they never dreamed imaginable. Joao didn’t know it either, but out of his musical expression, a new idea, a seductive and velvety soft carpet of possibilities was about to emerge. This was.bossa nova!
Songs like Chega de Saudade” and “Desafinado” started to appear over local broadcast stations. Jobims’ melodic display of notes sprinkled delicately over his keyboard along with the deliberate syncopation of Gilbertos’ voice and his intelligently unpredictable, yet quiet rhythms on the guitar, were beginning to move a country of samba, military dictatorship, bleak class structure and industrial stagnation onto the global music scene which until today, has never been surpassed. In the eyes of many, Brazil still is.bossa nova.
In the early sixties “The Girls from Ipanema” hit the United States airwaves and caused a musical frenzy of excitement over this “new beat” and the U. S. State Department sent guitarist Charlie Byrd and saxophonist Stan Getz to Rio de Janeiro to be part of this new musical culture. In 1962 many of the new musicians and singers came to appear at Carnegie Hall. The audience fell in love with the new sound and it wasn’t long before bossa nova became an international phenomena. It is still well received and copied around the world.
Other songs like “Meditation”, “The One Note Samba”, “Corcovado”, “Insensitive”, Aguas de Marco”, “Ele e Carioca”, “Agua de Beber”, “Wave”, and “So Danca Samba” began to appear, with such artists as Astrud Gilberto, Nara Leao, Roberto Menescal, Elis Regina, Carlos Lyra, The Tamba Trio, Os Cariocas and Vinicius de Moraes singing their musical renditions. The bars, clubs, airwaves and streets around the world were caught up in the new beat, and Brazil was finding her rightful place in the musical world. Little did we know that the chance meeting of west-coast cool jazz and samba would lead to this wonderful, seductive and sophisticated sound of.bossa nova!
Many of the original composers and singers of this movement have passed on but surely have not been forgotten. Other forms of music have replaced it.but have never taken its place. There will always be room in this world for “one more note” of bossa nova.

Bill Dee plays BN guitar and has several hundred original records that go back to the 60’s. He also collects and trades bossa nova videos, including artists such as Jobim, Gilberto, Gil, Baden, Elizete, Caetano, Bonfa, Tapajos, Lyra, Leao, Menescal and many, many more. He is looking for people who have their own BN video collections, originals or T.V. recordings, in order to trade. He can be contacted at williamdee@earthlink.net

Frescobol, the sport played on beaches throughout Brazil has reached the United States thanks to the Brazilian/American community throughout the country. From California to Florida people of all ages are discovering the sport. It’s a lot of fun, kind of like paddle ball for grownups” says Jamie, an avid player in Boston, Massachusetts.

Frescobol first began in Brazil on the beaches of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro just after the Second World War. Mr. Lian Pontes de Carvalho was the inventor. He invented the first racquet made of wood in 1946. But just like surf boards, skis and tennis racquets, fiberglass is now used in the manufacturing of the Frescobol racquet. Fiber is an extremely durable substance which increases the games level of performance. Therefore it has become the material of choice for many sports played today.

Frescobol-USA is the leading promoter and exclusive dealer of the number one brand of racquet from Brazil. Each racquet is hand-made and individually designed using 100% premium fiber for ultra durability under the care and supervision of Brazilian champion Frescobol player, Sergio Graca. Injection molded polymer construction reduces shock impact and vibration for extraordinary comfort and playability. “Congrats, the rackets are great, really, really great! I had a great game today and my partners loved them too.” said Arthur, a Brazilian living in Los Angeles, California. Vincent Mugavero, owner of Frecobol-USA.com who lives in Salvador Bahia, Brazil states: “It’s really quite a phenomenon to see this sport catch fire across the globe. In addition to the US we have contracts with suppliers in Australia, Italy, Germany and Singapore.” Just like Brazilian fashion, soccer and (may I say Guarana), frescobol begins to take center stage as a leading export.

Summer weather is approaching fast creating the opportune time to head for the beach and get some exercise. Instead of sitting down to a bag of chips, pick up a racquet and ball and break a sweat doing something healthy and fun with a piece of Brazil, now available in the United States.

For more information please email: info@frescobol-usa.com or visit www.frescobol-usa.com

Exclusive offer for www.gringoes.com readers. Join the Table for Six social club during the month of May and win a dinner for two at the Piove restaurant.
Table for Six organizes frequent outings to restaurants, bars, shows, weekend trips etc. for singles and couples giving them a chance to meet new and interesting people.
The group’s most popular event is to organize a dining experience for six people, hence the name Table for Six, in a comfortable environment. With six suitably matched members conversation flows, friendship and romance blossom. Having six people can also provide a sense of security in a new environment. .
For more information and to join the Table for Six club click on the banner below

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Following a sell out concert at the Via Funchal last month, U.S. Disco Diva Gloria Gaynor is back in São Paulo for another show at the Olympia on May 14. Best known for her Grammy Award winning signature song `I Will Survive`, Gaynor has a career which spans over 30 years.
She is currently promoting here latest album `I Wish You Love`, released in 2002, her first worldwide release in 15 years.
Live concerts are an integral part of Gloria Gaynor. She has touched audiences in more than 80 countries with her electrifying performances. Numerous dignitaries and ambassadors from the likes of President Clinton, Princess Grace, Prince Rainer and Pope John Paul II have had the pleasure of watching her perform.
Gloria Gaynor’s popularity has continuously flourished into the new millennium. In March, she was honored at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo with the coveted LEGEND award presented by long time fan Prince Albert.

When: Friday May 14 from 22h30
Where: Olympia, Rua Clelia, 1517 – Pompeia
Price: R$55 to R$135. Tel.: 3866-3000

The Centro Cultural São Paulo presents the 13th edition of the dance performance O Feminino na Dana”, a panorama of choreographies created and performed by women. This edition, which runs until June 6, will include contemporary dance and with the emphasis on Indian classical dance. The performance includes nine separate shows including both Brazilian and foreign female choreographers and dancers. Two shows are presented each week from Wednesday to Sunday.
This week features “Pour Les Deux” by Carolina Callegaro and Clara Gouva and “Ilha de Flores” by Afro-Uruguayan dancer Sara Chirimini
When: Wed to Sat at 21h and Sun at 20h (May 5 – June 6)
Where: Sala Paulo Emlio Salles Gomes – Centro Cultural São Paulo – Rua Vergueiro, 1.000, Paraso
Price: R$ 5 (Wed to Fri) R$ 8,00 (Sat – Sun). Tel.: 3277-3611 (ramal 221) Website: www.centrocultural.sp.gov.br

By Ashley Riley Lopes
Tangar da Serra, Mato Grosso, has become quite chic” as of late. The city’s 60,000 or so inhabitants have become the envy of many of their fellow Mato Grossenses, promising residents of the small, peaceful town the advantages of shopping malls, boutiques and high-speed agribusiness without the scorching heat of its neighbor Cuiaba or the rough, unbearable roads of Sapezal.

Clearly ranked one of the top places to live in Mato Grosso, Tangar is located about 3 hours from the Mato Grosso capital of Cuiaba, and has capitalized on its rise in popularity by continuously offering more. Women can find the latest fashions in its many stores, whether along the busy Avenida Brasil or inside its large air-conditioned shopping. Men’s mouths might water at the sight of motorbike and jeep rally trails, or merely at the vast agribusiness job opportunities that exist here. Don’t forget nightlife-whether it be laid-back bars, pizzerias or stepping out at Zapp, one of the city’s nightclubs, there is always something to do.

While Tangar may seem like a modern Mato Grossense’s paradise, the city has managed to hold onto parts of its past, too. Surrounded by several Indian reservations, Tangar da Serra is a prime location for a visitor to encounter the Indian way of life. Stores like Tangarrtindia provide customers with a wide variety of Indian artifacts, some of which have even been used in ceremonies previously.

Interested parties can pick from anything from wondrous basket weavings, beaded jewelry and accessories to authentic headdresses, armbands and ankle jewelry, all made of things gathered on nearby lands. Rich in color and texture, the artifacts give buyers a peek into how life must really be for the tribes of Irantxe, Bororo, Umutina, Paresi, and Arunin who remain and how life really was for those who came before.

Tangar’s sense of future and past is apparent in many of its residents’ homes. They line their walls with Indian masks, bows and arrows, use woven baskets for their dirty laundry and let their children play with authentic wooden flutes and noisemakers. A Tangarense can combine their chic Victor Hugo handbag with a beaded necklace made of coco and be out the door.

So next time you are looking for a balance of modernity and the wild, wild West of Brazil, think Tangar da Serra. I mean, who wouldn’t like a necklace made of dried armadillo skin anyway?

For more information, including photos and ordering opportunities, concerning Indian art, jewelry and artifacts from Tangar da Serra, contact Ashley Riley Lopes at ashleyrileylopes@hotmail.com.

If you would like to share your experience in Brazil with us please write to copydesk@www.gringoes.com

One of the principal classical music events this month will take place in Rio, with a performance by Norway’s Kristiansand Chamber Orchestra, with it’s 24 string players, accompanied by world renown violinist Arve Tellefsen. The orchestra, Norway’s only to employ full time musicians, has developed in recent years to become one of Scandinavia’s leading chamber music ensembles and has released 4 CDs to date. Their latest release, A Norwegian Rendezvous II”, came out in August 2002
Arve Tellefsen’s career has taken him to all the major European venues and he has toured extensively in the Far East, the former Soviet Union and the United States. A formidable technician, it is his exceptionally warm, vibrant tone, and his passionate intensity which have won him acclaim throughout the world. His ability to captivate and communicate with the audience ranks him amongst the greatest violinists of today.
The Kristiansand Chamber Orchestra performs approximately 80 concerts a year, and often collaborates with eminent soloists such as Norbert Barinin, Leon Spierer and Leif Ove Andsnes. The group will also have a free performance in São Caetano do Sul.

When:May 10 at 20h00
Where:Rio de Janeiro, Sala Cecilia Meireles,

When:May 11 at 21h00
Where: São Caetano do Sul, Teatro Municipal

Program : Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Villa-Lobos, Grieg
Price: Rio = R$20,00 and R$30,00 / São Caetano = free

Celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday at the Grand Hyatt São Paulo. The hotel has prepared a special menu with promotional prices at its three international restaurants. All mothers will receive a special gift while all those present will participate in a raffle for the following prizes:
– 1 night for two in the presidential suite including breakfast (depending on availability)
– 1 night for two in the Grand Queen suite including breakfast
– Brunch for two at the Grand Caffee Italian restaurant, including non-alcoholic drinks
– Brunch for two at the Japanese restaurant Kinu, including non-alcoholic drinks

Price: R$75 per person, including non-alcoholic drinks. Children under five are free and under 12 pay half. Childrens recreational area available.
Parking: R$8.00
Reservations: Tel.: 6838-3207, 6838-3208 or 6838-3203

MENU

Frios
Cold Buffet

Carpaccio de carne com molho de mostarda e queijo parmesão
Beef carpaccio with mustard dressing and Parmesan Cheese

Vitela tonato
Vitello tomato-Thin sliced poached veal with tuna-fish and caper sauce

Frios Italianos com figos frescos
Thin sliced Italian salami, mortadella, breSãola and parma ham with figs

Salmão marinada e defumado com pão lavoche, panqueca de batata e condimentos
Smoked and marinated salmon, Lavoche bread, potato pancakes and condiments

Coquetel de frutos do mare, polvo marindo e ceviche
Seafood cocktail, Marinated octopus and ceviche

Saladas, rucula com tomate secco, Alface romana, e agrião
Selection of green salads, Iceberg, rucula with dried tomatoes, romaine and watercress

Salada de batata com molho mostarda em grau
German potato salad with grain mustard sauce

Salada de massa com verdures assodos e azeitonas
Pasta salad with roasted vegetables and olives

Palmito
Fresh heart of palm salad

Abacate com vinaigrette
Avocado with vegetable vinaigrette

Cogumelos assados com vinagre e hervas
Roasted and marinated mushrooms

Bruscetta com tomate e fava
Bruscetta with fresh tomato and fava beans

Condiments
Marinated black and green olives, croutons, grated cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced onions in oil, capers, roasted sunflower seeds

Cheese

Provolone defumado, queijo boccocini, queijo de cabra, gorgonzola e queijo parmesão Queijo camembert quente, Pão de frutas e nozes, grissinis, lavoche e baquette Chips de queijo parmesão crocante, foccacia com cebolas, nozes assados
Compota de damasco com avle, ameixa marinado, gelia de pimenta

Smoked provolone, marinated Boccocini, goats cheese, gorgonzola and Parmesan cheese
Camembert cheese in cocote, Dried nuts and fruit bread, grissini, Lavoche, baquette
Parmesan cheese chips, foccacia with onions, Assorted roasted nuts
Apricot and almond chutney with mustard seeds, marinated prunes, chili gelee

Hot Buffet

Crme de mandioquinha
Cream of mandioquinha soup

File mignon com molho vinho tinto
Pan-fried filet of beef with redwine sauce

Picanha na brasa com alho chips
Grilled rumpsteak with garlic chips

Peito de frango recheado com avel e lingia, molho porto
Chicken breast filled with hazelnuts and sausage portwine sauce

Supreme de salmão com espinafre e compota de tomate
Filet of salmon with spinach and tomato compote

Moqueca surubim
Brazilian fish stew with coconut milk and dente oil

Arroz com castanho caju
Rice with cashew nuts

Batata gratin
Gratin potatoes

Verduras com manteiga
Mixed vegetables with butter

Lasagna Bolognesa
Italian meat lasagna

Estaão de risotto
Risoto de cogumelos e risoto de azafrano

Risotto station with mushroom and saffron risotto

Children Buffet

Salada
Mixed salad

Queijo minas
Minas Cheese

Salada de batata com mayonaisse
Potato salad with mayonnaisse

Salada de massa com verduras
Pasta salad with vegetables

Nuggets de frango
Chicken Nuggets

Cachoro quente
Hot Dog

Spaghetti com sugo
Spaghetti with tomato sauce

Stroganoff
Sliced beef with mushroom and mustard sauce

Banana Milanesa
Deep-fried banana

Arroz
Steamed rice

Verduras com manteiga
Mixed vegetables

Buffet de Sobremesas Dia das Mes
Dessert

Sabor do Brasil
Bazilian sensced

Mousse de chocolate cupuau
Chocolate & Cupuau mouse

Creme de cachaa com maracuj
Cachaa cream with passion fruit coulis

Risotto de baunilha com manga
Sweet vanilla risoto with marinated mango

Suspiro com chantilly e compota de fruta vermelha
Pavlova with chantilly and red fruit jam

Bolinho chocolate fudge
Small chocolate fudge cake

Mousse de caj
Caj mouse

Torta de figo
Figs tart

Quindim
Traditional portuguese egg yolk cake

Torta de coco com framboesa
Coconut & raspberry tart

Pudim de leite
Traditional brazilian custard

Rabanada de panetone
Pain perdue” made from chocolate almond panetone

Cookies variado
Mix cookies

Lavoche caramelisado e chocolate belga
Caramelised lavoche & belgium chocolate sheet

Grissini doce de canela
Sweet grissini with cinamoon

Salada de abacaxi com hortel
Pineaple salad with mint

Castanha do Para caramelisado com chocolate
Caramelised brasilian nut with chocolate

Massa
Noodles

Udon com caldo quente
Wheat noodles with hot broth

Soba e somen com caldo frio
Buckwheat and wheat noodles on ice with cold soup

Yakisoba
Fried japanese noodles

Frito
Deepfried items

Porco milanesa com molho tonkatsu
Breaded pork with tonkatsu sauce

Lula marinada frita
Marinated calamari

Tempura de camarão e legumes
Shrimp and vegetable tempura

Grelha
Grilled items

Salmão com molho de tofu
Salmon with beancurd sauce

File mignon e frango com molho teriyaki
Chicken teriyaki

Cozido

Curry japons com carne
Japanese meat curry

Frango com bardana
Chicken

Abobra japonesa com carne
Japanese Pumpkin with meat

Especiais do dia
Daily special

Cogumelo shiitake e shimeji salteados com legumes
Sauteed mushrooms with vegetables

Sopa miso com bolinho de peixe
Miso soup with fishdumplings

By Hunter Mondavi
So my Portuguese course ended on Friday, and I had a week free in Florianopolis and was kind of undecided on what I wanted to do. One idea that I had came from an encounter I had last week with the owner of a pousada (pousadas are like bed & breakfasts, and are very common in Brazil) on the north of the Island about 30 minutes from downtown in a small, quiet area called Rio Vermelho. My story with this pousada actually goes back about a year when I saw it for sale on the Internet. Actually buying the pousada was never really practical, but I always liked the idea that you could buy a house/business in Brazil on the beach for very little money. And I had talked to the owner, Carlotta, by email a couple of times about the pousada and her history, and maybe even coming down and staying there for a few days at some point if she did not sell it right away.

So last week I called Carlotta and told her I was in Florianopolis, and I ended up meeting her for lunch that day. She is truly an interesting and positive person. She is 61 years old and built the pousada about 25 years ago. Her story, in a nutshell, was that she got married young, but left her husband shortly thereafter one night after he slapped her (if you met her, you could tell that she is not the kind of person that would stick around to get slapped again) and she decided that she is better off on her own. But being divorced at that time in and living under a dictatorship government was not all that fun, so she sold all of her wedding gifts and bought a ticket to London (or what she refers to at that time as, Swinging London”).
She never got into the “swinging” part. but it sounded like she had a good time. Then
she met like 10 other people who invited her to travel around Europe and the Middle East in a VW van, so she did it. She lived in Afghanistan for a while, and a bunch of other places before she settled back in Brazil and built her pousada.

She had always planned to retire at age 60 and let her daughter run the pousada, but her daughter went off and married some big shot in São Paulo and they have no interest in being down here, which is why she is now selling it.

Anyway, after lunch she drove me back to the pousada. It was weird when
we got close as I got really psyched to actually be there. Carlotta turned to me and said, “it is kind of like a dream, after all this time, and talking over email, now you are here with me at the pousada”. If she wasn’t 61 years old, I think that would have been a good time to kiss
her and based on her “Swinging London” reference, who knows?

The pousada itself is pretty awesome. The house looks like it should be in the Austrian mountains. Anyway, once I got there Carlotta got busy talking to her workers about some repairs that she is doing, so I just wandered around the house and the property while she took care of her work.

And when I was wandering in the back, that is when I saw it. Separate from the house, in the back closer to the beach, she has a small chalet. It looked so cool, and although it was locked I looked in the windows and realized it could be perfect to stay in for a while. The chalet is probably about 20×20 and includes a small room with a bed., a small bathroom, a little hallway/living room, and a refrigerator a sink.

I am actually re-reading “Walden” right now and after seeing the chalet, I thought I just might have found the equivalent of Thoreau’s Walden house, but in Brazil; a small hut with the bare essentials of shelter.
If you never read Walden, it is a book about a guy who goes into the woods for this year and builds a simple 10×15 house and lives in solitude, surviving, writing, and transcendentalizing (not a real word); proving that being self-sufficient and living with nature is the true enlightenment. and protesting modern society’s obsession with
materialism and excess at that time.

So I thought it would be cool to live in this chalet on the beach, far from everything, but the sound of the birds and waves at night (sounds kind of corny, but really that is all the sounds that you hear) and just read, and wake up early, and run on the beach, and surf, and sleep
in the afternoon and talk to the workers at the house when I got lonely for interaction… I thought it would be interesting.

Just another one of these ideas that I get… But then I had also had doubts. I wasn’t sure if I would get bored, or to be completely honest, even get scared living in this small chalet out there, all alone, and it was so far from everything and I had no car.

And that was when I met this American guy… I will call him Naya, and it kind of changed my plans. Naya is an American of Persian descent from NYC who came down here to study Portuguese at the same course that I was (but I actually think the studying was a front for his girlfriend to allow the trip). Anyway, he is a 31 year old doctor, or he is doing his
residency, so he will be a radiologist in a year and I guess he is guaranteed to make all this money or something. He seems to have it all figured out anyway.

I could tell he was kind of looking for a friend to hang out with as he was down here on his own for his first time in Brazil. I guess I was a good candidate since I already spoke Portuguese and have been here a few times… So he was thinking that we would go in together and get an apartment downtown close to all the bars and restaurants and we would
rent a car and split it and go out every night, blah, blah, blah, so I kind of just went along with it as my chalet idea seemed like it would have been difficult to pull off.

Next thing I know, I am spending all this time with this guy listening to him try to be Vince Vaughn from the movie “Swingers”… he actually called me “baby” and before we would go out he would look at himself in the mirror and would say to himself, “you are so G-Money” (no kidding, he actually did that every night). Anyway, I used to hold all doctors in high esteem, just by the fact that they had an MD. I don’t anymore.

And Naya would sweat like crazy, even when the weather was not that hot. Sweat would build up on his forehead in every situation and he had this method of constantly wiping it off by putting both his hands up together in the middle of his forehead and then would wipe with each hand towards an ear, and would leave the excess sweat behind each ear that is such a doctor thing to do, after all. a lot of doctors I know have a weird quark or twitch like that. Maybe med-school stress. who knows… but every time he did this, I pictured him sitting next to me in the emergency room, sweating, after looking at some x-rays, and telling me “well, the bad news is that your leg is broken in 3 places, but the good news is that you will be able to walk after some rehab”.

Sorry, I can’t help but expand on the sweat thing… one night I went with Naya to what he called some “high society” lounge in Florianopolis and I noticed one of the women that he was with (yet another one he lied to and told he was a plastic surgeon) was nibbling on his ear and it nearly made me gag thinking about all the sweat he had wiped behind there earlier at dinner. I was also a bit worried that with the amount of salt intake that she would be consuming from his sweat that she was at major risk of dehydration. But I felt relieved to know that at least there was a doctor on board if that happened. ha!

Anyway, long story short, after a weekend with “Dr. G-Money”. I realized that he had a different agenda than I did… I thought of what my good friend Andre told me which was, “there is so much more to Brazil than just getting lost in night clubs,” which was true… But I had already paid half the apartment and the car, so I felt kind of stuck with the guy for
the rest of the week.

So on Monday, I admitted to myself that I made a mistake by wasting my time hanging out with this guy and not going to live at the pousada in the chalet. It was too late now though, I already gave him the money so I resolved to just stick it out for the week, and I promised myself I was going to just stay on my own for the rest of my leave.

And then I said, “screw sticking it out” and decided I am going to the pousada on my own.

So I just left the apartment, and left a note for Naya. “Went up to the North of the Island, maybe I will see you before I go”. I could just imagine the poor guy sweating while looking in his mirror and saying, “You are still G-Money, you are just going to have to be G-Money on your own now, it’s just you and your Gucci shirt, baby”.. oh well, I am sure he
will be fine.

But now I needed transportation as I said, the pousada is far from anything, and down a long dirt road. Once I get there, I will want to go out and get water and food sometimes and will need a way. But renting a car would be too expensive at this point (I already paid for half of one), and biking would be too difficult because of the distance and hills. So I called Carlotta and told her my dilemma, and her response was, “just rent a motorcycle”.

Yes, it was a great idea a motorcycle is cheap. $2 worth of gas will last me a month, and I can drive all the way up there and get around when I want. And don’t have to worry about parking or anything. and if this 61 year old woman is telling me to do it, it has to be a good
idea…

So I left the note for Naya, and packed up just a few “Thoreau-inspired” bare essentials, my bathing suit, toothbrush, a shirt, and my sandals and went to the place that rents motorcycles. The guy there was named Rodrigo… he asked me, “Do you have a license to drive Motorcycles”. I said, “Sure” and he was willing to take my word for it. (that was when I knew I was dealing with professionals who cared first and foremost about my safety)… “Can I test drive it?” I asked… (who was I kidding, the test was of myself, not the motorcycle). Ricardo smiled, “Sure, go ahead.”

What a spaz I was. Really, it was comical. First of all, after Ricardo started the thing up for me and put it into gear (b/c I had no idea how to do that) I hit the gas way too hard and it launched me out in the road, and I was not used to finding the brake, so instead of stopping I was going faster as my hand clutched the gas. Rodrigo was still just smiling, but he was encouraging (I think he saw the look on my face that maybe renting this was not a good idea) so he told me “oh, that always happens, that is very common when you first get on”. he was a good salesman.

So I told him I need to take a walk and think about it, I was so nervous. My test drive didn’t go that well. How the hell was I going to drive this thing on these cobblestone roads with these crazy drivers? And I was clueless about the whole first, second, third gear thing. But
I decided to go through with it. I thought about something I heard that actor Will Smith say about his life that made an impression on me, which was, “all my life I always deliberately threw myself into situations that I am the most fearful of”. I think that is a good way to live and challenge yourself.

And when I first got out on the motorcycle on my own, it was tough. I was in the downtown area, cars beeping at me, pot holes, other motorcycles passing right next to me, pedestrians walking into the road, even some bicyclists passing me, I was sweating like a Persian doctor!

But I was making my way to the pousada and from what I remembered from going there with Carlotta, once I got out of downtown, the road was newly paved and flat, going straight through the middle of this national park on the way to the pousada. And right after I cleared the downtown, I hit that road and by this time I was really getting the hang of it.
shifting up, down shifting on the hills, and then I hit the park and it was an awesome road. I looked in my mirror and saw that nobody was behind me, and nobody was in front of me. I had this straight, paved, road all to myself and so I opened her up. I was flying down the road, at over 60 and I started yelling inside my helmet with excitement (or maybe nervous release) going fast on a motorcycle really is a cool feeling.

Ok, at this point I should clarify that my motorcycle is probably closer to the “Dumb and Dumber” scooter that the bad-ass Harley that I am painting it to be and I should also mention that speed here is measured in km per hour.but that’s not the point…

So I got there and Carlotta had left the chalet open for me and told me I could drive my bike straight over to the grass and park it right in front and now I am sitting here in this chalet in the pitch dark, with only the light from my laptop, and the sounds of the ocean, and wondering what I am going to do for the next few days. Who cares… it was a good day.