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5 All-Together Bad and Marginally Bizarre days spent in Brazil circa 1990 – DAY TWO

Go to Ipanema Beach to recuperate. Very hot (people and weather).  People are almost naked at the beach.  Opposite L.A.  Small breasts are the rage and great, anti-gravity buns in thongs.  David very busy watching women, but pretend I don’t see it. (could have done without my clothes in Brazil after all.)

Rest of the day busy, tour to see Corcovado—100 foot statue of Christ on top of  mountain. Can see it from most parts of the city.  Take short train ride through mountainside and hike up some very steep steps to get to the base of statue.  View of city spectacular. Christ statue, made out of soapstone and mosaic, and hands outstretched as if giving a hug–spectacular.  Reminds me of the famous “Touchdown Jesus” in University of Notre Dame. My friend tells me the Notre Dame Stadium is known for the view of “Touchdown Jesus”.  Says mirrors the raised arms of a referee signifying touchdown.  Says University won’t expand the stadium because it’ll spoil the view then.  (Thinking Moses statues seem to be too introverted—his head always in the books or carrying 10 Commandment Tablets. Maybe need to show his more sociable, sporty side.  Maybe appeal to youth if Moses rides on Sparticus-style chariot or uses cane as baseball bat).

Head back on the train to go to base of mountain.  Ten or15 vendors clamor to get our attention.

“Buy this plate with the picture of Corcovado on it.”

“Buy this Christ from me.”

“Buy samba music tape.”

“If you don’t like Christ, I have a fan.”

“I like you. Buy from me.”

Dizzy from vendors clawing at us.  Know old, Iranian art of negotiation—feign disinterest and vendor will drop price.  Problem.  Not “pretending” disinterest, actually don’t want to buy anything.

Ultra-aggressive vendor with optimistic Tony-Robbins, don’t-give-up-attitude, follows us all the way down to parking lot.

“Okay, you don’t want it for 20 Reals, then 18.”

“Don’t worry, you can have it for 16.”

“7 Reals is my last offer, a bargain.”

Still don’t buy.  An American woman beams with pride. “Guess what I got? A samba tape for 16 Reals,” she tells her husband.  Okay. She just paid for vendor’s lunch, dinner and most likely, his daughter’s clothes and party. (Probably have paid for many taxi driver’s expenses also.)

David tired with headache.  Night sweats and shivering. Get doctor to come to hotel room. Heat Stroke!