Yesterday started with yoga on the beach in Ipanema… we like the beach in Ipanema, if you hadn’t caught on just yet. Class started at 9am with a group of 20-25 people sitting cross-legged on sarongs facing a young, beautiful, African American woman who was the instructor. She placed a drop of peppermint oil in each of our palms to breathe in for the first 15 or so minutes. It’s funny, yoga is supposed to be relaxing, but all of that breathing really takes some energy and focus. Some of the poses were also really difficult to hold, another testament to how out of shape I am at the moment. Apparently, there is a similar free yoga class every Sunday in different beach locations, and Joe, Keia and I decided we should make Sundays a “yoga beach” tradition wherein we go to whichever beach is hosting the yoga and stay there all day with friends and drinking suco. The session lasted about 90 minutes, and afterward we moved closer to posto 9 to wait for Tiago et al. (the Brazilians we’ve become friends with) to arrive.
I am continually surprised by the number of people that fit on each square foot of beach in Rio. Between the time we arrived around 1030am and the time our friends did, the crowd must have quadrupled until you literally couldn’t walk 2 feet in any direction without bumping into someone or their things. Again, the water and waves were pure perfection. A sandbar had formed about 30 or 40 yards offshore, and the water in between was too deep to stand. The waves crashing on the sandbar and then rolling into shore made for perfect body surfing conditions, since you would just end up in deeper water (all the better for fixing your bathing suit and not smashing your face into the sand at the end of a good ride). We searched for a volleyball net and got a game of 4 on 4 going until none of us could play any more from hunger. It was a successful 7 or 8 hours on the beach (with the sunburn to prove it) before we ate a little something and headed home to wash up.
On the walk back I saw signs for Anima Mundi, the annual animation film festival hosted in Rio. Sunday was the last day and if we hurried I thought we could make the very last showing at the theater in Flamengo. Tiago, Leo, Keia and I met up again at the cinema to watch a series of short animated films from artists all over the world. They were funny and strange, sad and exciting, and in all different languages (again with Portuguese subtitles). Some were about job hunting, others about love, one about a superhero and many with monsters. The theater was also a gallery and museum, another place I’ll have to go back when there is time. Afterward we drank some very nice beer (somewhat rare in Rio) at a cozy bar nearby and chatted in what Portuguese we could. Our Brazilian friends are eager to help us learn, and thankful for the exchange we can provide in helping their English.
Today Keia and I had to make our third and final trip to the airport to register with the Federal Police. The office was packed full of people, which made my blood boil since the previous 2 times we’d visited not a soul occupied the waiting room. It really is like a zoo: people packed together in a room, each with their own agenda, eyeing the attendants and waiting to make the move that will put them at the top of the list. I can’t say I didn’t play the game. Around 3 hours of bus riding and 2 hours of being processed later, we were done.
Tomorrow is a new and gorgeous day! We may go see the famous tiled steps of Lapa (named Escadaria Selaron). If so, you’ll be the first to see pictures. I’ll try not to let too much time pass between posts!