Note: This post was written, but not published, when I was in Rio de Janeiro.
I walk these city street at home as in Los Angeles. I love the black and white mosaics, the moist air, the breeze, the grand mountains of rock, the ocean waves. The language returns to my tongue, unspoken for over a decade. Its sounds are hot and salty on my lips, I twist the words improperly, with my american "soutake" and mis-conjugated verbos. But my passion is there.
I had forgetten. How could I have forgotten? Forgotten the joy, to forget the longing.
Walking back after midnight from the Copacabana night market, I decided to pass by a certain corner I had written up in my Rio de Janeiro guidebook 12 years ago. It was across the street from my beachfront apartment. It had a cool little bar and boteco. Imagine my shock! when I saw the tiny local place with barely 6 seats had quadrupled in squarefootage becoming a pizzeria. Taking over the little bar with the Marlene Dietrich shrine. Bright lights.
My heart died. I thought... I did this. I personally contributed to this reality.
God DAMN, Heather! You did not THINK of the impact of putting these things into a popular guidebook! I kept walking into Ipanema, beating myself up for my lack of consciousness, for my inability to see this possibility 12 years ago. I kept thinking about success and failure. Which was worse? Wondering how and when things happened. Did the bar owner sell out and start a new bar elsewhere (quietly)? Obviously the botequim was doing well, they had expanded. The business was good. I suppose that was good - for the business.
But still... as I walked the empty after midnight streets in Ipanema, a single woman, alone, wearing platform fluevogs, wondering what I would find in the shadows, realizing I had nothing to fear, because I was one of them.