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"The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse." -- Jules Renard
|Episode 9: Back to the Future: The LA Times|
@ Where`s Cherie?
Aug 05 2002 - 16:10 PST
|cherie writes: March 1999|
Coming Home:There are two airports in Rio. You are informed of this only when you are in the wrong one. You see when I was in Rio, in an effort to save money, I decided to take the bus to the airport. Having a college degree doesn't help you with this kind of stuff, but I managed to find the bus that said "Aeroporto" and I thought "close enough." But then, the bus driver wouldn't let me on. The reason I was denied boarding rights: because I had luggage.
The next bus, he told me in Portuguese, was for blonde girls with luggage that don't speak the language. I stood firm, determined not to leave the bus, musing the insanity "bus to the airport--can't have luggage." Then I was ordered off. The nice part about this story is the bus that finally let me on, while it gave me a nice tour of the city, had no intentions of stopping at the airport. That was when I decided to shout the name of my favorite TV show when I was in 6th grade: TAXI.
So after a brief stint at the wrong airport, I arrived at the correct airport. Luckily, each flight had its own check-in line, which assures that you will choose the wrong one. In case you were wondering, they don't have a courtesy get-in-the-front-of-the-right-line pass for dumbshit travelers like me.
Better still, they ask you for this silly piece of paper you were supposed to keep with your passport. Their faces looked like they were trying out for parts in the movie Scream II when I informed them I couldn't find it. Then the whole line of waiting people ganged up on me, and tried to melt my face off with their eyes, similar to when they opened the Ark in Indiana Jones. Then you would have thought I was a comedian, the airport personnel laughing hysterically when I inquired about checking my baggage straight through to its final destination. Even more funny was the thought of frequent flier kilometers. Was I kidding, they thought "Berry funny, no have dose fings, you plane gate four."
Did they see me, when I waved good-bye? The giant beheaded torsos of Rio, who had shouldered themselves through the sand and found themselves wedged on the beach, proudly standing their ground on the ocean shoreline. At some point I had pondered moving to Brazil, the tan men, flexed muscles, tight speedos and (that can't be real) enormous bulges. Then I found out the truth for myself.
He was walking on the beach, a gait somewhere between sexy and cocky. A few inches of material was all that covered his huge over-ripe fruit which summoned in me a new appreciation for Lycra. Then it happened. He reached into his bathing-suit and paused. Then he pulled it out. A cel phone. I turned to Kristi (a little depressed that his banana and two plumbs had shriveled to a pickle and two kumquats) and said "so that's their secret!" It was an epiphany, it all made sense, like in grade 3 when I finally figured out if Joe was going 30mph and Sara at 50mph from the opposite direction, when they would cross. The crest of the wave of Brazilian men had some crashing down, and I felt pity for the women who had to surf there.
Earlier, I had thought I was saying yes to "Do you want a window seat." Once on the plane I realize the question must have been: "Do you want that shitty seat in the back with all the jet noise and fowl bathroom odor? From there, my airplane ritual is always the same. Nice lady with too much make-up, temps me with two dinner choices that sound good, look bad. After I respond, another cheery lady tells me that my choice is unavailable. Fighting the urge to flippantly say "Then why give me the choice?" the guy next to me is served the gourmet meal he ordered. Of course he made that call days ago to get his special yummy food, that same call I always promise myself I will make "the next time I travel", and end up cursing myself for forgetting again. To make it worse, while I am repulsed when I peel the foil off of my dinner, I still gobble up every last bite.
It doesn't help any that Mr.-smarty-think-ahead-and-get-good-food-planner-guy keeps making noises like he is making love to his food. He didn't believe me when I coyly smiled and said "I like my Salisbury Steak." My laughter finally broke my jealously when I added "with mushy over salted vegetables, hard roll with 'I KNOW its not butter', and apple surprise (surprise, no apples!)."
Why is airplane seat-material so ugly? Do they have contests to choose: should we go with blue-grey weird blotches, or the purple-red funky squares? Did they just mass produce billions of yards of the crap and they haven't used it up yet? The material must come from the same manufacturer that makes the thin scratchy airplane blankets. Do they think that if the material is attractive passengers will hang out longer on the plane, not wanting to leave. These are the things you are forced to contemplate when you are on a plane for 15 hours, traveling over 10,000 km, and 5 time zones. You know you are on a long flight when the plastic bag the flight attendant gives you contains a toothbrush and paste, instead of peanuts.
I also had a great airplane conversation with a Brazilian who has always wanted to know what is the difference between a porch, patio and a deck? Speaking Portuguese, this topic takes the better part of two hours to cover.
I'm home again, even if only for a moment. The next chapter will be "Don't Cry for me Argentina."Cherie
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