I like to save the best for last. Feng realized it early in our relationship when, one day, he absentmindedly gobbled my muffin top. No, this is not a metaphor. I was eating a chocolate muffin, a task which is, as everybody knows, a three-step process: first, remove the wrapping paper slowly to make sure as little as the cake as possible sticks to it (I draw the line at licking crumbs off it). Second, turn the muffin upside down and eat the soft bread. Step three, enjoy the crusty and chocolaty top.
You should have seen my face when Feng brushed the last crumb off his lips. I must have looked angry because he paused.
“You ate my muffin top! It’s the best part!” I accused.
“But… I thought you didn’t like it. I thought you had put it aside because you didn’t want it,” he claimed.
“Who doesn’t like muffin top? I was going to eat it!”
Couples divorced for less than that.
What? Eating food is a complex fine art. When I eat croissants, I always keep the crusty ends for last. If I have a pain au chocolat, I unwrap the dough around the two chocolate bars (there’d better be two of them, I’m telling you, I avoid all the bakeries that cheat and only put one in there!) and eat the chocolate last.
Okay, someone please tell me I’m not that weird.
For this trip, we “saved” Rio de Janeiro for last. We could have started here instead of São Paulo but we wanted to end on a high note and chances were that the cidade maravilhosa would be as picturesque as ever.
We visited Rio twice, in 2002 and in 2009, both times during Carnival. It was a strange experience: the city was on party mode and while it was lively at night, it shut down during the day. This year, we want to take the time to visit the sights and explore.
We said goodbye to Floripa and drove to the airport listening to Cat Stevens. “Now that I’ve lost everything to you, You say you wanna start something new, And it’s breakin’ my heart you’re leavin’ Baby, I’m grievin’…” I closed my eyes. I know I’m going to be crying again when we fly back to Canada.
The flight was on time but the TAM aircraft was tiny, I barely had room for my legs and arms. Unless I “grew really taller” like Marks claims every time he eats something (including candies…), this airline is a bit cheap. I was hoping to see both Floripa and Rio upon take off and landing but none of us was close to a window and we were in different seats.
Galeão Airport felt old. With the upcoming Olympic Games and after seeing brand new airports in the Northeast, I was expecting something shinier.
The taxi drove us downtown and we passed favelas and the sambodromo. “I had no idea you could drive through it!” I noted. The taxi driver shrugged. Outside Carnival, the sambodromo isn’t such a big deal. It looks small, actually, but I remember it packed and colourful.
We dropped off the bags at the hotel and walked along Copacabana, then headed to Botafogo walking through what I nicknamed the “tunnel of death”, the Túnel Novo, a long tunnel where you can enjoy Rio’s finest pollution and traffic.
In Botafogo, we headed straight to the shopping mall for what we call “the best food court in the world”. In this food court, the food doesn’t actually matter, the scenery does. It features a panoramic terrasse with a view on the Pão de Açúcar. We found it by accident in 2002, desperate for something to eat.
It’s still there! We enjoyed the view for a few minutes, then it started pouring.
I want a refund on my tropical paradise.
Tomorrow, blue sky…?