Brazil!! …First Day

The Ragashanti World Tour, #RWT, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil leg is in full swing!

Rolled out on an American Airlines (AA) midnight flight from Miami.  AA was kind enough to grant me a frequent flyer complimentary upgrade from economy to business class. Loved it! I got to lie flat and get a half comfortable rest for the flight that lasted around 8 hrs and 15 minutes.

The flight attendants were very kind and while the food wasn’t what we Caribbean nationals are accustomed to, it was sufficiently good nonetheless. The choice came down to Spinach Ravioli or Salmon. I absolutely love salmon, but chose the spinach because of its closeness to callaloo…lol.

Watched a movie, Gone Girl, which started a little slow but then picked up nicely and fitted perfectly in the suspense thriller drama genre. Pretty intense and thought provoking, but many won’t like the end.

Then it was sleepy time.

Sleep wasn’t comfortable, I tossed and turned a lot, but it was definitely better than having to sit up sleeping in economy for so many hours.

I was gently awoken by a flight attendant informing that I need to prepare for landing.

Brazil!

Rio de Janeiro!

Went through the usual with immigration and customs, and was out in the terminal. I set about trying to get some money from an ATM. Problems! To all you future travelers, because of the high prevalence of sophisticated card frauds, many US banks do not allow you to withdraw your money in foreign countries (or even US areas outside of your home city) unless you first inform them of your travel plans. This caused me a lot of problems. Good thing I had some US dollars I was able to get a cab to my hotel.

Rio is three hous ahead of the US east coast and is very hot! Di sun an di humidity tun up inna di February ya.

The taxi driver roll like Linstead, Mobay, Spanish Town and Kingston crazy taxi driver dem. Mi nayly en up pon mi head top. Mi staat laugh. He doesn’t speak a word of english but I figured he wanted to know why I was laughing. Spanish is fairly close to Portuguese….so in my limited spanish I let him know I find his driving funny. Who goh tell mi fi tell him dat….di man jus tun up di mad driving fi di betta!! lol

Reached the hotel and realized that though I had chosen one in Rio, I was miles away and more than a hour from the center of things. Unacceptable! I quickly set about changing hotels and after much hubabaloo and hours of stress I was checked into the Granada Hotel in downtown Rio.

I had considered getting a hotel in the area of the world famous Copacabana Beach but decided against it as the rates there were 4 to 10 times more than those in downtown Rio.

Checked in the Granada and, though really tired, took a walk into the town to get a feel of the place.

Rio has a lively Caribbean working class atmosphere. Lotsa shops, lotsa activities in the streets,  music, dancing, the people laugh a lot and are very expressive.brazil-flag-on-face

Like I said, the language spoken here in Brazil is Portuguese….and that they really do. Hence if you’re an entrenched english speaker who is unwilling to embrace the inevitable challenges associated with communicating with non-english speakers, you’re going to be frustrated. I LOVE those challenges, as they force me to learn more about the people and it requires them to be more real with me.

I walked around Rio and went to a shop and got some freshly squeezed juice where I chose the fruits I wanted: pineapple, mango and papaya (papaw). It was very good.

Then back to my hotel, a shower, and here I am writing this before I get some much needed sleep.

Tomorrow I make some must-see stops around the city, including the Marcana stadium: home of the 2014 World Cup Football Finals, and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Should be fun and interesting. And of course I’ll be sharing it all.

Ragashanti Live broadcasts commence this Friday, the same day all the craziness and festivities kick-off here for the legendary Brazilian Carnival!

Awright, a bed time a dweet ya now.

Inna di morrows.

Protection.