Romance in Rio

Tiny sprinkles suddenly appear on my windshield. Precise pinpoint sharp dots are followed by larger and larger drops. A deafening sound ensues; continuous pounding like thousands of miniature rocks, windshield wiper blades work the night. Together we track; black somewhat squeaky rubber slides across smooth glass, this engages us.

Back and forth like Samba. Back and forth like Bosa Nova.

Fusion in the rain; We are out to lose ourselves. We float on a melody.

A man and a woman soon become the beat, a beat born in Brazil long ago.

Once in a lifetime a man gets what is often referred to as a “Big Love,” so I keep my face straight, check to the power, then check again, meet and raise, sandbagging like hell. A man gets but one chance to play for all it’s worth. In the business of love, he who misses the big hand sweeps the butts and rinses the glasses after the big boys go home.

Today I got my “Big Love.” Today I must keep my face straight and check to the power. My idea is not a blinding flash….it is more of a gentle glow growing into a grass fire, like from an evening of vodka stingers.  The beat in Rio is dope. Arguably past/current Brazilian musicians clip_image002[4]have contributed to the planets greatest musical hotbed. Music in Brazil is a fusion of influences. Brazilian music encompasses various regional styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. It developed distinctive styles, among them samba, MPB, choro, Sertanejo, brega, forró, frevo, maracatu, bossa nova, and axé. Famous musicians include Gilberto Gil, Daniela Mercury, Sergio Mendes, Ary Barroso, Rosa Passos, Chico Buarque, Vinicius de Moraes, Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Donato, Eumir Deodato…

Here are few my current favorite Artists and Albums (CD’s) in no particular order:

Seu Jorge, Samba Social Club, Farofa Caricoa, Maria Rita, Vinicius, Eva, Acoustic Brazil – Putumayo, Samba Bossa Nova – Putumayo, Impenenma Lounge, Brazil the Essential Album, Joao Gilberto-Amoroso Brasil, and Getz and Gilberto.

I’m reminded of the ground-breaking Stan Getz Bosa Nova album which I listened to repeatedly (my Dad’s favorite) while living in Mexico in the mid sixties. Rio was popularized by the hit song “Garota de Ipanema” (The Girl from Ipanema), composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes and recorded by Astrud Gilberto & João Gilberto, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. It is also the main key song of the bossa nova, a musical genrethat was born in Rio.

Brazil a growing, soon to be a “Super Power” is well on its way to becoming the world’s third or fourth biggest producer and exporter of oil. Their oil is aimed primarily at quenching China’s growing thirst for the black stuff. Brazil is also the third-largest commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world, and the fourth-largest aircraft producer when including business jets into account. The Brazilian people with good reason bow to no one. They are to South America what the U.S. is to North America.

Barra, as it is popularly known, will host most of the venues of the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be the first edition held in South America. Brazil A global power in agriculture and natural resources enjoys a growing middle class, significant technology based manufacturing, and successful regional trade agreements all of which enabled Brazil to tackle its massive poverty issue directly.

The positive progress in evidence on this front is due to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Portuguese: [luˈiz iˈnasju ˈlulɐ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ] (clip_image004[4] listen); born 27 October 1945 , known popularly as Lula,[2] served as the 35th President of Brazil, from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2010.

He is often regarded as the most popular politician in the history of Brazil, and at the time of his mandate, one of the most popular in the world. Social programs like Bolsa Família and Fome Zeroare hallmarks of his time in office. After surviving a tough decade or two Brazil is in better shape than ever before.


Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China and the United States, and third largest in the Americas; with a total area of 8,514,876.599 km2 (3,287,612 sq mi),Rich with natural resources arguably the lynch pin in the earths maintaining of the balance of the world-wide web of life. 90 % of the earth’s oxygen originates in Brazil

clip_image008[4]                                                               Copacabana Beach

Rio is indisputably the most glamorous spot in Brazil. New Years Eve in Rio de Janeiro is a must-do-once-in-one’s-life. The first thing I noticed crossing the street from my hotel over-looking Copacabana Beach was the gigantic speakers dotting the Malicone (cement boardwalk) guiding one all the way around this large horseshoe bay. I’m Immediately listening to Seu Jorge…. smelling seafood, salt air and suntan lotion. Ice cold beer is offered from colorful carts. Rio is a beach.

The beat of Rio follows one from the beach back to the hotel, into the lobby and elevator, into the restaurant, again in the lobby, in the bar, back on the Malicone, on the beach, and in the night clubs until magically it resides squarely within.

Rio’s night clubs feature fine acoustic performances by Brazils’ leading musicians. Inspired singalongs are the rule not the exception as is dancing or at the very least swaying. To dance in Rio one must literally shake one’s bootie. Typically from about 11:00 PM til the first sign of morning light. Rio is not exactly a mellow night out sprinkled with soft conversation. One learns to move and keep moving to properly last-the-night-a-way in Rio.

After New Years Eve on Copacabana beach I recommend spending time at a jet setters and favorite Argentine spot (Barra) for a day or two. Then it’s off to Búzios for some real R&R in tranquil paradise, followed by a stay at famed Impanema Beach on one’s second to last night in country. Please read my next post detailing these unique experiences and my story of romance in Rio.

When shopping in Rio be very careful with your purse/wallet and bags filled with purchases. Poverty has produced some of the smoothest pick pockets rivaling those of any in the world. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a trusted driver while staying in Rio. It is too difficult and even dangerous to get around in a rental car or by bus. A driver is bit more expensive but well worth it in Rio. Typically I befriend one of the bellman at my hotel and ask for two or three recommendations of potential drivers for half and full day hire.

Usually after spending a half day with your driver, say on a visit to Corcovado, and feel comfortable with your driver you can easily coordinate future pick-ups and returns according to your needs. Check out your cell phone provider coverage and rates in Brazil. It is easy enough to rent an in country cell phone delivered to you at your hotel. I always tip big, a good driver knows the right people to gain access to the most popular attractions often times avoiding long lines. A good driver knows where to be and not to be at a given moment in time in the city. Traffic is a factor. For shorter day travel any taxi outside one’s hotel will do nicely.


About Roger O'Keefe

My background is in education and finance. I'm a published author and photographer, former radio talk show host, and creative retirement planning expert. My work is a love of labor, I do not sell any products of any kind. I've appeared as a guest on more than 50 national and local television and radio shows. With a Masters in education, I'm a licensed educator and author of the “Future Bright Program” and the California State Department of Education “Teacher Appreciation Program.” I'm a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council NCPC. I'm currently writing my second book and reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My mission is to reshape retirement planning one person at a time. Please visit my website and take advantage of the many complimentary online seminars, resources, and retirement planning tools.
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