"All the time I'm not writing I feel like a criminal." -Fran Lebowitz

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Sorry it's been a few days since putting stuff up.

I wouldn't quite call the below a TRAVEL DISPATCH. Sunday's itinerary, however, warrants a run-down, with each step's mission & mission status.

ULTIMATE MISSION for the day: To travel 8,835km from Lisbon, Portugal to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and be in front of a television in time for the Super Bowl ILIX kickoff (9:30PM, Rio time).

5AM, Lisbon: MISSION: to wake up, shower, dress, pack, and leave an apartment I've been familiar with for only three days without waking anybody up. MISSON STATUS: FAILURE (AirBnB review pending)

6AM, Lisbon Airport: MISSION: to persuade a ticket agent that I should be given a boarding pass for my flight to Rio de Janeiro (via Madrid) despite not having a ticket which proves I will ultimately be LEAVING Rio de Janeiro. Apparently, the government of Brazil "could" deny my entrance into the country without proof of my leaving. Sample attempt at my persuasion: "Why the hell would I WANT to live in Brazil?" MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED (though boarding pass was accompanied with overt disdain, several pidgin English "I'm aware of that, Sir,"s and one "Well, good luck, Sir," from the ticket agent)

7:45AM (Lisbon time) to 7:45PM (Rio time): MISSION: to get some sleep while flying. MISSION STATUS: FAILURE (ABJECT)
7:45AM (Lisbon time) to 7:45PM (Rio time): MISSION: to find something new in the 537th viewing of MILLER'S CROSSING. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED (In the opening scene, Jon Polito almost loses his overcoat off his shoulders as he says, "You'se fancy-pants, all of you'se." Never noticed it before, enjoyed watching those five seconds five more times...)
8PM, Rio Airport: MISSION: to pass through immigration without having to lie about a phony itinerary to leave Brazil ("Uh, der, I'm flying to Montevides on the 15th. Uh, der, I wanted to wait to buy my ticket 'cuz, der..." MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED (Benefitting from way too many people on line to ask ANYbody ANY questions about any aspect of their visit to Brazil, I sail through immigration.)

8:15PM, Rio Airport: MISSION: to procure my backpack without waiting for-EVER, as has been the custom on this trip. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED (backpack emerged out of the back just as I turned into "Baggage" and looked for it. SYNCHRONICITY, YO!)
8:20PM, Rio Airport: MISSION: to procure a taxicab that will not rip me off. MISSION STATUS: FAILURE (my host's response when I told her the price: "Oh, you paid way too much.")
8:45PM, Rio - MISSION: to leave my bag at the apartment where I'm staying, meet my hostess, and leave for a sports' bar that is showing the Super Bowl without being abnormally rude to the hostess, who has already proven herself to be the definition of lovely. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED (Hostess: "It is going to rain. You need my umbrella. Do not say 'No.' I will not watch the game, but as Gisele is my girl, I am supporting her husband and the Patriots.") (AirBnB review pending)
9PM, Rio - MISSION: to get a taxicab that will not rip me off, and to find Shenanigans (Irish pub in Rio that prides itself on showing American football) by kickoff time. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED (Cab driver: "I know where we are going. You do not need to keep asking.")
9:28PM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: to find a solitary square foot to stand on and watch the game amongst a massive swell of Brazilians drinking, laughing, and singing soccer songs, replacing certain words with "Seahawks" or "Tom Brady" before John Legend finishes singing the national anthem. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED (upon persuading bartender to stash my host's umbrella).
9:29PM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: to chastise myself as an idiot for wondering why anyone would want to live in Brazil. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED

9:30PM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: to strike up conversation with woman who looks like a Brazilian Rachel McAdams standing next to me, watching by herself. MISSION STATUS: FAILURE (ABJECT)
9:45PM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: to not see an omen in racing across the world to make it in time for kickoff, only to deal with the bar's shitty satellite. (Shitty satellite reception was only a problem through the 1st quarter...)
10:15PM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: AGAIN, to strike up conversation with woman who looks like a Brazilian Rachel McAdams standing next to me, watching by herself. MISSION STATUS: FAILURE (ABJECT)
10:37PM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: to correct the Brazilian Patriots fan wearing a Tom Brady jersey who continually yells out, "Marshawn Lynch is a BITCH! Marshawn Lynch is a BITCH!" by simply saying, "You are incorrect on this point." MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED ("Yeah, I don't know much about American football. Is Marshawn Lynch good? Which Seattle Seahawks would you say ARE bitches?")
11:18PM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: to take solace in the fact that despite failing at starting a conversation with the woman who looks like a Brazilian Rachel McAdams, she is watching the game in the same exact pose I am watching the game (arms crossed, chin resting on one fist holding a beer), confirmed by her noticing our poses, shrugging, smiling at me, then going back into the pose, checking with my pose to verify accuracy. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED
12:08AM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: to make someone within earshot laugh with my joke that "What's the big deal? I've been imagining Katy Perry and Missy Elliott together for years..." MISSION STATUS: CONFUSION
12:16AM, Shenanigans, Rio. MISSION: AGAIN, to strike up conversation with woman who looks like a Brazilian Rachel McAdams standing next to me, watching by herself. MISSION STATUS: FAILURE (ABJECT)

1:30AM, Rio: MISSION: to catch a taxicab to take me "home" that will not rip me off. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED

1:45AM, Rio: MISSION: to actually direct cab driver to the apartment where I'm staying, using a post-it note with the address and my horrendous pidgin Portuguese. MISSION STATUS: FAILURE (ABJECT)
1:48AM, Rio: MISSION: to arrive at apartment via cab without having to drive around the same block five times. MISSION STATUS: FAILURE (ABJECT)
2:00AM, Rio: MISSION: to try to get the cab driver to find apartment before my increasingly snide sarcasm ("Why should you know where you're going? You're just the cab driver. Yeah, this is the same exact wrong street as before - what're the odds?") is a)understood and b)enough to get my drunken ass thrown out of cab. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED (BARELY)
2:05AM, Rio: MISSION: to try to enter an apartment that requires the use of three separate keys, and that I've seen for five minutes to this point, and enter my bedroom, without waking my lovely hostess, after having six Heinekens and while carrying a McDonald's take-out bag. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED? (AirBnB review pending)
12noon, Monday, February 2nd: MISSION: to take a taxicab back to Shenanigans and recover the hostess's umbrella which you left at the bar before it gets discarded and truly jeopardizes your perfect AirBnB review record. MISSION STATUS: ACCOMPLISHED ("It says something to me about you that you went back to retrieve it.")

Oh, by the way. Sunday's arrival in Rio makes 20 countries on six continents visited to this point. (DON'T HATE THE PLAYER, ANTARCTICA. HATE THE GAME.)

And I'm starting to think...OVERALL MISSION: ACCOMPLISHED...