Friday, December 27, 2013

Carioca Christmas

Me: Whats the baby oil for?

One of the things that I was looking forward to the most when moving to Brazil was the complete and utter lack of Christmas. Yeah I’m not going to lie, I HATE Christmas! Most people think I’m weird for this, but while you’re sitting with your family nice and cozy in front of a fire place opening presents, I’m driving all over the place in the snow (or worse just cold, slushy weather), visiting one family member after another. So needless to say I was elated about hiding out in the Connection Rio house and avoiding Christmas in its entirety last year.
Somehow my plans went horribly awry and here I sit, next to a shiny Christmas tree, writing my Christmas blog.

The first problem with my master plan to avoid Santa Clause was that I moved in with a Peruvian family two weeks before the dreaded Dooms days. As a matter of fact, the day I came to see the house here in Cantagalo (Ipanema), my new 7yr old little brother was clinging to his moms leg begging to set up the tree.

The second problem with my plan to avoid Christmas festivities was el Super Pollo. Super Pollo (and about 50 other places all with the “pollo” in the name) are Peruvian chicken restaurants that are scattered all throughout the DC metro area. You can generally smell the tantalizing aroma of rotisserie chicken and yuca from about 3 miles away… The stuff is AMAZINGLY delicious and is always served with the white and green Peruvian mystery sauces that NO ONE can explain.

Where am I going with this? Well, Peruvian chicken is amazing, Peruvian cooking is delicious, and there was no way in hell that I was going to miss a Christmas dinner of Peruvian turkey (complete with a yellow mystery sauce that apparently they don’t even know what it is, it’s some Incan pepper!).In South America, or at least in the Spanish speaking countries, not sure about here in Brazil, Christmas is usually celebrated on the night of the 24th. That night we ate turkey, salad, and panettone, a popular cake served around Christmas time here.

I think the best part of Christmas was that Thiago, the smallest of my new siblings, was begging for a Chess board from Santa Claus. Why a Chess board? Well I came to Brazil to train Jiu Jitsu, however, the majority of my time off the mats I spend playing chess with Connection Rio Sponsored athlete and good friend Nabas. We spend about two hours a day playing a minimum of 3 games of chess (the majority of which I lose). Now that I’ve moved out of the Connection Rio house my chess games are what I miss the most. Yesterday we played two games on the beach and two games up on the mountain Pedra da Gavea. Well, Thiago saw us playing one day and asked that we teach him. He’s only 7 yrs old and he wanted to play chess so bad that he begged for a chess board for Christmas!

So I spent the 24th in the house with the family but on the 25th I ventured out to Barra da Tijuca to visit the Connection Rio house and my fellow Gringos. Before leaving Ipanema I met up with an X guest from the house in a swag little apartment that he was renting from someone he trains with at De La Riva. We went to the beach enjoyed the sun (and a little Jiu Jitsu) and then I headed out to Barra. I was supposed to be there at 6 P.M. to meet Nabas. I got there at 7 P.M. and he got there around 8 P.M. That’s how Brazilian time works.

A little Jiu Jitsu @ Ipanema beach

I rang the bell, walked in the door, and froze halfway down the path. I’ve never been to a frat party, but I’m sure they result in the kind of devastation that I saw in the Connection Rio front yard. About 20 mats were stacked up at the corner of the pool right next to a table full of empty beer, liquor bottles, baby oil (yeah that’s right, baby oil). The house was empty except for the person that opened the door. The unusual silence created quite an appropriate post-apocalypse vibe. Apparently what started off as a wholesome breakfast of maple syrup, good old American pancakes, and mimosas warped into baby oil. Wrestling singlets, and two or three things that are inappropriate to put online. The debauchery was then taken to the beach, which explained the nearly empty house.

When they did finally get back we proceeded to celebrate Christmas like we celebrate everything else at Connection Rio: with a BBQ (and um yeah there was more cacha├ža… and chess). Compared to the afternoon, the events of the evening were a lot calmer, however, the singlet did come back out again. I tried to get a picture when my chess game was interrupted by an inebriated wrestler but he declined (which was a smart move because the picture would definitely be posted below if I had one).


This is me, trying to write my blog... but I'm not 
while on the way to see the doctor... which I didn't
Instead drinking a Capivodka

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