Brazil Life Stories

    Alone in Rio

    Rio de Janeiro Beach

    I’m lying here again in Ipanema Beach, where I’m testing out my first sunguinha, and using my oversized camo jacket as a towel (side note: how am I just now realizing I didn’t bring ONE towel to Brazil). I’m minding my own business, trying to have a melodramatic moment, but I know my American is showing when every vendor known to mankind continuously comes up to me asking if I want a coconut, a conga, or a caipirinha. Trust me, Brazil, I’m all caipirinha’d out.

    I’m now alone in Rio. In just the past month, I’ve been alone in Tokyo, in Stockholm, in Copenhagen, and in Paris, but this time is different.


    After a whirlwind of two weeks filming in Rio with a production crew from Tastemade, I was on my own for a few days off. Typically with this sort of thing, I would be ecstatic about my freedom and independence, but after a rough turn of events in my personal life, the last thing I needed was to be all by my lonesome.

    But it had to happen. We parted ways with the crew, Jo went off to visit her family two hours away, and I was off to a Copacabana hotel I had booked after finding a cheap deal.

    It was time to leave our AirBNB. We said our goodbyes (which now that I think about it, symbolically represents a goodbye I said in my personal life on the same day) and made our way onto the next. I waited 35 minutes for an UBER – two drivers cancelled – and when I finally succeeding in getting an UBER, I arrive at the hotel…only to realize that I took it to the wrong hotel. I realize it’s going to be one of those days, especially when the staff then wouldn’t let me access Wi-Fi to call another UBER. I drag my suitcase outside, where I’m greeted by three aggressive men asking if I need a taxi. I say “It’s five minutes away by car. How much?”. He offers me a price and shows me to his car: an unidentified black car with no clear-cut sign he’s a licensed taxi driver. Not happening.

    I take the first yellow taxi I see, and I pay triple the price for a taxi and went 1/4 the distance than my previous UBER.

    Upon my arrival, I was pleasantly surprised that this four-star hotel looked like a five-star hotel. I wait in line for fifteen minutes just for the front desk to tell me to take a seat. I walk to the bar and decide to chill with a cup of filter coffee, cuz we all know how hard that is to come by outside of America. The bartender was friendly and accommodating to my clearly-foreign Portuguese accent, smiling at each and every mistake or incorrect vocabulary. I appreciated that.

    hotel filter coffee in rio

    After another twenty minutes, I walk back to the front desk and ask what the wait is for. They thought I was waiting on someone because they didn’t think I, someone who looks “so young,” would be checking into a hotel. Really…

    They hand me my room key – Room 1414 – and I get excited thinking that the 14th floor must have an amazing view of Copacabana Beach, Lagoa, Urca, or Ipanema. Like any view from the 14th floor would be a good view. They could have given me the 5th floor, or the 8th floor, but no, they gave me the 14th. Maybe they’re trying to make up for the fact that I just waited 40 minutes for nothing? Continue Reading

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