In the summer of 2000 I left for the now customary backpacking trip throughout Europe. Having had an absolutely terrible time in Paris I quickly took off for Barcelona where my story all begins. On the ten-hour train ride it takes to get to Barcelona from Paris I met some very nice and sincere people. I think it has to do with the fact you can be yourself that there really is nothing to hide when you are traveling. Well I was lucky and meet lots of them including Juliana and Miguel. A twenty something couple doing the same as I was. We, as well as our other friends we made on the train ride enjoyed the next couple of days together in Barcelona. But all good things must come to an end and while I was headed for the Greek Islands they were on their way to northern Italy. Juliana and I stayed in touch during the year and I found out in April of 2001 she was going to come and visit me in Canada that July with her sister Gabriela.
June 30th 2001 I went to pick both of them up at Dorval airport here in Montreal. Now I am sure I don’t need to explain to anybody how beautiful Brazilian women are, which will make this next line easy to understand. I was awestruck by how pretty Juliana’s sister was (so was Juli but I meet her with Miguel and always considered her taken) as soon as they came across those sliding doors at the airport. To make this part of the story short they were supposed to stay in Montreal for 4 – 5 days and then head out to visit the rest of Canada. Well, three weeks later Juliana was on her way to Vancouver to visit another one of her friends and Gabriela and I were planning a little trip to go and visit Niagra Falls. We totally hit it off. I felt like I had this abundance of energy the whole time she was with me. But once again it had to end and Gabriela had to catch a flight back to Brazil. Lots of tears fell that day and lots of promises were made. One of them being I would go to Rio as soon as possible.
So December 11th 2001 I was on my way to be with the one who I had emailed everyday for four months and spoke to on a regular basis over the phone and MSN messenger. I was on my way to Rio de Janeiro to see the one I had fallen for.
You see where I come from Rio is known for its incredible beaches and very small bikinis. I had never been to South America before and was a little nervous. The flight was incredibly long and painful and finally 21 hours after leaving Montreal I had arrived in Brazil. I broke out in an instantaneous sweat having worn my boots and big sweater because were I left from you needed it or else you froze. This time it was my turn to come
through those sliding doors at GIG. I got to wrap my arms around my baby right away. After all those long months had gone by I still felt the exact same way about her but after seeing her again, as corny as it sounds, I knew I was in love. We left the airport taking the yellow line to Barra, which is where we stayed. I quickly got into my shorts and t-shirt and we were on our way to Barra Beach to sip on some coconut water. Life was great it was the middle of December and I knew all my friends were freezing back home while I was on a beach watching the sunset in my Havaianhas.
After a much needed sleep I woke up the next morning to an intense sun. Almost to much for a gringo like me to handle. I got ready for my first whole day on the beach. I went with Juliana because Gabi had to work. She’s a dentist and has her own practice in Copacabana, which makes it hard to take a lot of time off. Being Canadian, you could almost compare my skin color to Casper the friendly ghost, and I wanted to catch up to all these tanned
cariocas and refused to put sunscreen on for the first hour and a half. Big, big mistake! That afternoon before even leaving the beach I had blisters on my feet and could barely walk because of all the sun! I got home and Gabi walked in to see me in pain and said she would not let me go to the beach without her again! I laughed and knew I had learnt my lesson the hard way. Never Under Estimate The Power Of The Sun During Brazilian Summer!
The next day I finally got to meet the parents. Roberto and Wilma, two of the most generous people I have had the pleasure of meeting. We went for supper at this amazing Brazilian steak house and had a really nice evening! I got along with them just fine and consider them good friends. I spent the next couple of weeks doing the tourist trap stuff, which has to be done the first time you go to Rio. Christ the redeemer, Sugarloaf, copacabana beach and my favorite POSTO 9 at Ipanema Beach. I couldn’t believe the amount of people all young and having fun. I also got to check out some of Rio’s nightlife including Nuth, Guapo Loco and I think I spent every Tuesday at Afro Rio.
I had a great time and felt like king but the city of Rio is very busy and packed. So we decided to take a little road trip to Buzios. Once again I didn’t know what to expect. After the two-hour drive it took us to get there Gabi woke me up (I needed some sleep since I was still suffering a bit from the jet lag.) and I opened my eyes to one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. Great beaches, the most romantic restaurants, (Chez Brigitte is definitely recommended) very cozy villas. Gabriela and I took it easy for the weekend walking all around Buzios and spending a day on a secluded beach called praia Brava.
I loved every moment there. It was just Gabi and me. No cell phone, no TV, nothing except for the both of us and this beautiful place. We spent a lot of talking trying to figure out why two people who love each other so much would have to spend so much time apart. It was difficult knowing that I only had a couple of weeks left before I head back to Canada and all its coldness. I had lived so many of those perfect moments people some people look for forever. They just kept coming too. New Years at Marimbas on Copacabana beach, the suppers at the lagoon or even the quiet nights at home sitting in the hammock on the balcony.
It’s now March 19th 2002 and Gabriela and I still speak on a daily basis. I haven’t giving up and neither has she. I checked out some of the Universities around here hoping I would convince her into going back to school. I also really wouldn’t mind going to Rio for a while but I am into computer networking and hardware configuration and from what I know that
market is saturated over there and to tell you the truth I wouldn’t know where to begin to look. So that’s where we are, still very much in love and looking for a way to be together.

What to do, what to do??

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