The aircraft carrier anchored by the pier comes into view against the mid-afternoon skyline as the plane lowers its landing gear; it’s probably some old, overpriced US Navy surplus that went the way of Communism and Betamax videos decades ago but gets me excited anyway. There’s something in the air today and I’m treading through the tarmac, basking in the sun, thinking that just maybe I can make this work.
“Welcome to Rio, man,” I tell myself then in the following evening me and P**** the guy from Chile are walking by the shoreline and the sun is setting down for the night. P**** is telling me about how Venezuela is just packed with gorgeous women but somehow I’m not really buying it. “So how do you explain Hugo Chavez anyway?” I ask him with a smile.
We spend the rest of the evening drinking beer and talking about Pinochet’s passing. The world seems a little stranger for no specific reason whatsoever other than hey, is it just me or is the air really lighter in here?

So how about this one: What if the legends were all true after all? I land in terra firma and what do you know, I’m somewhere else entirely, with something else lurking beneath the waves, waiting for me to become…
It’s like a… dude, it’s like some f*cking State of Mind.
It really is.

We get to befriend this group of girls from the office and get to hang out with them nearly every evening, even though P**** gets a little cranky after we try to make him sing a Julio Iglesias song on the karaoke. On Tuesday we meet some old acquaintances at the hotel, from one of our past trips, and it’s really cools.
She gets to send us some chocolate once she gets home, eventually, and we’re still in Rio.
It tastes better then it should, then I tell P**** we’re like rockstars, really, you babes…

We’re at this hotel downtown, see? It’s near the office and the whole neighborhood just sucks. We breeze through all the week’s the bad bits, however, because it just seems to be the right thing to do in this city.
This is so cool.

The comic relief comes on Friday when we’re at this shabby streetside bar with a bunch of people from the office and someone’s brought along this Trivial Pursuit-like boardgame. It begins to rain, to pour, and we move the tables in and the pawns out. We start playing.
Everything’s fine up until I start talking with this girl who’s kind of cute if you really think about it then I overhear somebody asking where the female scorpion carries its newlyborn offspring. “On its back,” I utter very matter-of-factly.
From then on it’s a series of Ho Chi Minh, Captain Ahab, Canada’s answer to the big-foot of course, Alice played it with flamingos everybody knows that one and so on.
They’re looking at P**** and I as if we were monsters from outer space but thing is, we were the only ones there lucky enough not to have been brought up on public education.

Saturday morning hits and it’s freaking unbelievable, downright unreal, as if the end of the world’s been put at bay until further notice.
There’s not a single cloud up in the sky and I’m wishing life could go on like this forever, you know? Like this endless weekend in Rio…
I’m a believer now, you know? I’ve touched Summer itself with the tip of my fingers and it’s totally true.

Also, we get to eat Açai for the very first time ever:
P**** because he’s from another country and me because I’ve been living like, as if I came from a different planet ever since College. It tastes even better because I got one hell of a tan to go along with it after the beach and buddy, I’m looking just cool.
A little bit of that old Don Johnson magic can’t really hurt every now and then, after all…

Life, if you think about it, it’s not iron.
Not really; it’s water.
It’s the ebb and the flow of the sea and it changes shape, it is like Proteus changing forth and back then turning around and dropping you down in a different place at a different age, divining the future.

Last call.
…when I was much younger I’d whisper a prayer to Neptune before entering the sea so I wouldn’t get burned by jellyfish washing ashore. True story.
These days I’m doin’ it more like my man Carter Hall, plunging in deep into everything, into anything, before I look, devil-may-care, up on a wing and a prayer…