Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rio - Pimp Daddy Cabbie

We met Pimp Daddy Cabbie (aka Rodrigo) on our cab ride to the Botanical Gardens. We were really impressed that not only could speak English fluently and without an accent but that he also knew colloquial language. He referred to things as 'totally cool' or 'really jacked up' and seemed to know more about our country's politics that we did. I suppose this is occupational hazard from toting around weary English speaking tourists, day in, day out, 18 hours a day.

It seemed that everytime we needed a cab, Pimp Daddy was right there at the hotel to whisk us off to our adventure. So it comes as no surprise that on the day I left Rio, he would be the one to take me to the airport.

The last day in Rio was not particularly pleasant. The New Yorkers all had an earlier flight so they left me on my own for the afternoon. That would have been fine except that a thunderstorm had rolled in and was making outdoor activities difficult. I spent some time up at the rooftop of the hotel with Juvenal, sipping coffee and having my last 'ham, cheese and salt' meal in Rio.

Since the rain was heavy and I knew there was only one major artery from the beach to the airport, I decided to get on the road early. I was pleasantly (not) surprised to see Rodrigo holding the cab door open for me as I exited the hotel.

Rodrido: Amigo!

Me: Rodrigo, funny that you are always here when I need you!

Rodrigo: Always for you, amigo!

And off we went. We chatted the entire 3 hours it took us to get to the airport, about 2 1/2 hours longer than normal. As always, we chatted about Bush and his antics. Actually Rodrigo talked and criticized and I listened. Then he went on a tirade about the Brazilian president and his cronies.

Rodrigo: He's put all of his buddies in key postions and the rest he pays off, we'll never get rid of him!

Enough of politics, change the subject. I reached back to an event that had happened the day before. We travelled over the mountain and through the woods (and favelas) to the Fashion Mall. Not an interesting trip except we did get some fantastic Brazilian music at a CD shop. But on the way back Jairo, Scott and Mio had taken a separate cab. Their cab stopped on the freeway in a place where the hills form a valley. Gun shots were overhead. Turns out, drug lords in the hillside favelas were having a territory fight (favela means turf, loosely). Rodrigo had read about this in the paper.

Rodrigo(laughing): And noone got hurt, I read it in the paper!

Me: Well, thats good to hear!

Rodrigo: I was being sarcastic. In your country your media rolls under the 'if it bleeds, it leads' mentality. Here in Brazil the media operates under the 'if it bleeds, bury it under page 9 and hope it dies without anyone noticing' philiosphy. Believe me, someone died, they always do. But enough about such unpleasantness, how was your trip? Did you like Brazil? Will you come back?

Well thats a no-brainer, I loved my time in Rio and I will come back!

Rodrigo: Did you meet anyone?

Me: Sure I did, I'm not particularly shy.

Rodrigo: But did you meet anyone special?

Me: Oh, no, not really, I was kinda into my group.

Rodrigo: Oh, well if you come back let me know and I will hook you up.

Me: Oh, um, sure!

Rodrigo: My girls are the best, you probably saw Club Help, yes?

Me: Um, yeah, I actually did. Copacabana, right?

Rodrigo: Yeah, thats where my girls work. They only like gringos so they would really like you!

Then I got the breakdown; cost, shapes, sizes, availability and the 24 hour hotline number. I took his card, just to be polite. There was no sense in getting deeper into this conversation.

I was rolling with Pimp Daddy Cabbie, the perfect exit!

For the next 13 hours I rolled my Rio trip around on my tongue, savored it all again, bit by delicious bit.

"Welcome to Dallas International Airport", she said.

That bitch! How very, very cruel to say that to me. Yeah right, welcome back and remember you have a midterm in two hours. I drove home instead, dead tired and smiling. I'll ask for forgiveness tomorrow, isnt that what any good Brasileiro would do?


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