Rio de Janeiro: 26th/27th January 2017
Our hotel was only three blocks away from the famous Copacabana Beach, so of course we had to check it out. Our stroll along the long promenade was a bit harder than it sounds, because of the heat. But there’s no need to go thirsty on this hike; there’s a bar or a juice stall every few yards, and a water-seller in just about every shady spot along the way. And, they’re kept supplied by men and boys on specially adapted bikes.
Those juice bars, or suco bars, however, don’t just sell juice; they make it, before your eyes, by tossing your chosen fruit into a blender! A far cry indeed, for the ‘fruit drink from concentrate’ we’re used to at home.
For lunch, we had a walk down the road from the hotel to a nearby pizzeria, where we had lunch… just an egg and tomato roll and a beer. And, we did really well, considering the staff spoke very little English; surprising how far mime and a little basic Spanish will get you in Brazil … even though they don’t speak Spanish, but Portuguese.
The system did fall down slightly when we returned there for dinner; they just brought one serving of milanesa … think coteletta Milanese … aka Weiner Schnitzel. … I think they supposed we would share. We finally made them understand we wanted one each…although the portions were so big that we could have shared. This is, indeed, the norm in Brazil; I suppose we should have taken the hint when we asked for beer at lunchtime. They just brought one big bottle, and two glasses.
The following day, we visited a suco bar for lunch; a hamburger, bacon and egg roll, with freshly squeezed orange juice. We’d been warned not to lunch too heavily, for tonight was the Brazilian barbecue which, we were promised, would be the mother of all beef-fests.
It was, actually, more in the nature of a carvery. A salad buffet to start, then the meat. The method of cooking derives from that of the Argentinian gauchos, who would cook their beef on skewers over a pit filled with charcoal.
The waiters brought the skewers to the table, and also brought a long knife, which looked more like a sword, with which he carved off what you required.
Course followed course, and I don’t think I could face beef again …for at least 24hours!