When I returned to Munich, a student of mine asked me if I'd felt safe in Rio. Apparently there was a police strike while I was there and lots of murders. Honestly, I felt safer in Rio this time than ever before. The last time I was there, two people threatened to kill me, a crazy woman grabbed me and started shaking me, and somehow I ended up in a very rough dance club one night. Ah, those were the days.
|The last drops of my first caipi on the Copacabana|
What's not comforting? The prices in Rio. Eight years ago the exchange rate between the euro and the real was around 6 reais to 1 euro. That meant that a caipirinha on the Copacabana cost around 1 euro. Ah, those were the days. Now the cheapest caipi will set Europeans back around 3 euros. That's 300% inflation if my calculation is right. The upside? I drank less. Yay, he yawns.
|Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain|
|OK, I see them now!|
We felt safe on the Copacabana and Ipanema. Leblon felt safe. The old town felt safe, but we there in the middle of the day and only for a short time. The sun was broiling, so we spent much of our visit seeking shade. I'm not the beach type. I can't lie in the sun for longer than it takes to drink one caipirinha and eat one batata fritas.
|Roasted Chicken and potatoes|
Eating in Brazil for people with Celiac Disease is not as difficult as you might think. For starters, there must be laws now concerning labeling because every packaged food that I saw had either "Contém Glúten" or "Não Contém Glúten" in bold print in the list of ingredients. If you can't eat foods containing gluten, you need the Não Contém Glúten variety. Dishes like the traditional mocequa should be fine if the fish stock they use is gluten-free, but always ask the waiter "Contém farinha de trigo?" I've also found it effective to use the word "allergy" instead of trying to explain Celiac Disease to waiters. "Sou alérgico ao trigo." worked fine in Brazil. Even with my pitiful Portuguese, I was almost always able to make myself understood. The server at the Blackswan pup on the island of Florianòpolis was well informed about Celiac Disease.
More on my jaunt through Brazil in the weeks to come. If you have time, Ruth at Tanama Tales has interviewed me about the way I travel. Comments appreciated always HERE. Also, Dan Powell asked me some challenging questions about My Life in Short Fiction. If you want to open this window into my early reading life, go HERE.
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To continue with I Must Be Off! A-Z, go to S is for Samos.
Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, The Best of Every Day Ficton, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen. Recently, Allen--along with editors Michelle Elvy and Linda Simoni-Wastila--hosted Flash Mob 2013 in celebration of International Flash Fiction Day.