Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What happens off the mats...

Praia Brava

Nicole: can you drink and drive in this country
Me: it’s Brazil… (Therefore, a stupid question)

As a 26 year old, aspiring athlete I strive to act as professional as I can both in person and on social media networks. Ok more on social media networks than in person, but I do try. I’ve spent the last three months training 2-4 times a day, EVERYDAY with breaks on Sunday and the occasional Saturday off. I don’t have a job, but I still wake up at 6:30 AM every morning, drag myself out of bed and head off to the gym to train, whether I want to or not. The past couple of weeks getting to the gym has involved an hour to two hour long bus journey over a mountain. While I have never been confident in my ability to fly, the bus drivers here in Brazil seem to be functioning off the belief that if they accelerate and take a corners and speed bumps at neck breaking speeds they may be able to fly through the air like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. While I have yet to see a bus flying through the air, I have, on multiple occasions, thought we would go flying of the mountain and plummet into the ocean below. (Note: if you'd like to hear more about the dangers of Brazilian transportation check out my friend's blog Tales from Deep Half) 

After three months of this and three competitions, I felt the need for a little break.

Lies. I was supposed to compete this weekend in Arraial do Cabo (3 hours north of the city), but the tournament was canceled so I ended up on a forced vacation instead.

No matter what the reason was, this past weekend I was in Buzio, Brazil with Nicole, the only other female in the house. Three months in Brazil, and this was my first time out (I means seriously I don’t even go out around the house except to get Acai). 

The first thing we did when we got to Buzio on Saturday was get coffee (I had been up for the past 24 hours, but that tale goes in the untold stories of Brazil). Immediately after that we walked down to Centro. Centro was a lot bigger than I expected with a ton of hostels, places to eat and more Argentinians than Brazilians. We got some cold beers and sat on the beach for a while before watching some break dancers in the Plaza. I don’t even think we had dinner, we should have had dinner because there was definitely several Caiprinha’s consumed that night.

Note: Caipirinha's are a popular Brazilian drink that has Cacha├ža, lime, and sugar. Basically, it’s a glass of hard liquor with a ridiculous amount of sugar.

Me in my burge

On Sunday, we rented a Burge (small car or big go-kart, however you want to look at it). For R80  (about 40 bucks) they came and picked us up from the hotel and we were able to keep the burge for 24 hours. What they didn’t explain to us before paying was that it was a 4 gear stick shift. Thankfully, my first two cars were both standard so I was able to pull away without completely embarrassing myself (in front of the cute guy that was showing me how to use the thing). After mastering the burge (because the clutch was crap, emphasis on the clutch being crap and not my skills as a female driver) we hit the main road (the only paved road) in the burge with a couple of beers and headed out to the beach. It was my first time driving out of the country and I have to say I’m pretty sure I was the only female in Buzio that was behind the wheel! We made our way to Praia Bravia a beautiful secluded beach with pink sand and…. More caiprinha’s. Perfect place to relax and enjoy a book. So being me I went three hours away to a town with beautiful beaches only to refuse to get into the water! According to Nicole the water sparkled and it looked like you were swimming in gold. That in combination with the pink sand made it a pretty awesome beach to visit.

However, while leaving the beach we discovered:
1. We were lost
2. We needed gas

Which leads us to exhibit A: 

Exhibit A: policia federal (not MY policia but policia all the same)

Exhibit B: answer to the question "can you drink and drive in this country"
Let this not be confused with the act of drinking. stoping. getting in a car. and driving. 
This would be drinking WHILE driving

It was at this point when we were somewhat tipsy and lost that I pulled over a cop car to ask for directions. Not only did I get a personal escort to the gas stations (again managing to NOT embarrass myself behind the wheel), but I also got a phone number, and a “date” if you will for when Mr. Policia Federal got off work later at 11 p.m. (note exhibit B).

After this experience I kind of understand guy’s fascination with nice cars… that definitely wouldn’t have happened had we been walking around with no need for gas or directions!!

Further exploits from Sunday night will be censored due to the fact that, “I’m a 26 year old, aspiring athlete that strives to act as professional as I can both in person and on social media networks”. Let’s just say the night involved several more police officers a trip to two private beaches outside of Buzio and a return escort back to our hotel at an ungodly hour of the night! Oh yeah there was 5 Argentinians in there somewhere as well...

Monday was a day for recovery we got up, enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and then headed out to Tortuga beach before returning the burge. Tortuga was another quiet beach located next to some very posh hotels and restaurants. We had a cup of coffee at a nice table the over looked the water (which was filled with people snorkeling). Afterwards we had to return the burge and return to our mundane lives as pedestrians! The fact that we were actually able to drive around definitely made the trip a lot more fun since were weren’t confined to any one particular beach/area.

Sunset from one of several overlooks 

Another random beautiful spot were these guys were fishing 
(never seen a spear gun before)

All in all it was an amazing trip and a much needed break from living in a house with 20 guys all of them time. Well actually, I don’t live in a house with 20 guys anymore, I live in Ipanema but that is a story for another blog post! 

Praia Brava (with the pink sand and golden water

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