Well, believe it or not the vessel is still tied up in Rio - has been for about a month-and-a-half now. However, we’re expecting to finally have all of our equipment released by customs and out to the vessel tomorrow. It will take us a couple of days to load everything, install a new recording system, and make sure everything is working. We’ll then leave port, deploy our gear and…..probably sit. The forecast for next week shows a 6 meter, long-period swell, so we probably won’t be able to shoot acceptable data.
Last Saturday I headed into town with the other client rep, the party chief, and our Brazilian radio operator. We walked down to Ipanema Beach where we sat, had a beer, and watched the world go by. We then walked along the beach where we saw many people playing volleyball. Some were playing in the traditional manner, but others were playing without using their hands - it was more like soccer but over a net. Entertaining.
We stopped into an Irish bar for a couple pints of Guinness before heading out to a large complex which, from the outside, looked like a stadium. We paid the equivalent of $0.50 to enter, where we found many stalls selling all manner of goods. It was basically a massive market, with many large restaurants about as well. We must have arrived around 8 or 9 PM, and there weren’t many people there. We grabbed a table in one of the aisles so we could watch the parade of people, and proceeded to have a feast. The longer we sat there, the more people arrived, until many places were packed. It seems that this place is popular with the Brazilians - anyone who comes to Rio visits this site. And we were there on a good night - the place doesn’t close on the weekends….it’s open from Friday morning until Sunday night at 9 PM.
After polishing off our meal we set out wandering. Brazilians love their music, and so there were two large stages set up at opposite ends of the complex. The area in front of each stage was filled with Brazilians drinking and dancing. We ended up meeting three of the Russians from our vessel, so we sat with them for awhile above the fray and just watched everything that was going on. It was a great night of people-watching. We left around midnight, but it seemed that the party was just getting started.
On Sunday I headed to a football (soccer) game with the captain, chief engineer, and a local Brazilian. We arrived about 1 1/2 hours early, so sat there watching as more and more people arrived. Maracana Stadium can hold 97,000 fans, but we only had 13,300 in attendance that night. I heard that last nights game drew 74,000. That must have been amazing! We (because of the guy we were with) were cheering for Botafogo. Unfortunately, most of the stadium, including those dressed in black and red around us, were die-hard Flamengo fans. There were large flags being waved back and forth, and numerous songs and cheers which everyone seemed to know. When Flamengo would score many guys would take off their shirts and wave them around. There was a lot of screaming, yelling, and insulting. Brazilians are nothing if not passionate - about their music, about their dancing, and definitely about their football! The game was good, and ended in a 2-2 tie.
Afterwards we headed out for some pizza. While waiting for our order we were watching the news, which was showing a shootout in one of the favelas (slums). It looked like a war! That passion I talked about also boils over as short tempers. That and the poverty leads many to a life of violent crime. If you’re looking to get yourself shot, Brazil is a great place to visit. That also explains why there are no photos accompanying this entry. One doesn’t want to show too much wealth around here, so I didn’t take my camera with me. In fact, since on Saturday I caught a few guys staring at my watch, I removed it, my ring, my bracelet, and everything else from my pockets before going to the soccer game on Sunday.
When we finally get into production there won’t be much more to say from out here. I’m still expecting to work two rotations, so I won’t leave here until August 1st. It’s going to be a looooong haul, considering I’ve never done more than 5 weeks before. Right now it’s looking like I’ll be Stateside for a short time in August, and then will be spending some time in Peru, so there will be more interesting updates to follow.