Nov 26-27:  Rio de Janeiro to Los Angeles

I was up at 9am and checked out at 10:20am.  My taxi wasn't coming till 5pm so I stored my bag.

I was supposed to meet Eli to go to the hippie market at 10:30, but there was no sign of her.  And because I'd checked out and didn't know when she'd be back for lunch, I was forced to stay in reception until further notice.  At 2pm I left a note for her and started to head out, but she showed up, asking where I'd been.  Turns out I was supposed to meet her at Mellow Yellow at 10:30, not at the hotel.  I was slow yesterday so I missed that detail.

Right before that I saw 6 of our group going out to the Botafogo-Corinthians game.  I'd wanted to see a football game in Rio but I bought my plane ticket before I knew that the games were on Sundays.  Next time.

We went out for our farewell lunch, at the same pizza place on the beach.  I thought "rainbow" simply referred to the rainbow (everything) pizza on the menu, but according to my book that spot is the big gay hangout.  Reminds me of that old commercial:  "If you like pizza, and you're gay..."  (Now I'm a-seaside sittin' just a-smokin' and a-drinkin', I'm ringside...on top of the world...)

During lunch we talked about life etc. and our plans.  I made two resolutions:  not to get stuck in a rut again when I get home, and to go to the English pub down the street more, because English girls are cool.  I think both of us will need some time after this trip to process everything and figure out what to focus on.  Moreso for Eli since she spent 3 months in South America.  She also has that Leykis 101 rule to ponder.

I intended to have one final caipirinha at lunch, but looked at my watch and realized I had 75 minutes remaining in my adventure and had to live it up right to the end.  So I ordered another one.  Then with 50 minutes to go I got a third.  I made sure she had a second one, because they contain limes, and she's a limey.  She said it'll be weird eating here tomorrow without me.  With 29 minutes to go we paid the bill (actually I paid it, because I'm all about class) and walked back to the hotel.  Arrived at the hotel with two minutes to go.  Taxi was already there.  Peed, washed my face, got my Astros hat back from Eli, did the goodbye thing ("I'm English...we don't do tearful goodbyes") and got in the taxi.  Eli continued to wave and remind me about the English pub and not getting stuck in a rut.  And then I was gone.

Jesus Christ!  After three days I finally saw Christ the Redeemer from the taxi.

The driver pulled over and let me get out to take a better photo.  He looks more like Jimmy Snuka or the Undertaker in that pose than the Lamb of God.

The airport was sweltering.  I continued to sweat for hours.  The caipirinhas had something to do with it but other people were fanning themselves so it was legitimately hot in there.  I wondered if the security guy was questioning me harder because of the sweating.  "George likes his chicken spicy!"

First I had a short flight to Sao Paulo.  The guy in front of me had to be told to put his seat upright before takeoff.  Then a few minutes after takeoff, while I was looking out the window with my head right behind his seat, he reclined again, crushing my head.  I shouted "What the fuck was that?"  He seemed confused.  It's a fucking FAA regulation--you don't like it, talk to the flight attendant or the US government and petition for change.  Don't go through me.

I got to the gate for the next flight to Dallas, and I didn't have to pay the departure tax, so apparently there is none.  Why can't we ever get correct information on departure taxes?  They do exist--I paid one when I left Auckland--but if none is in effect at a particular airport, then don't tell me it is.

I'd said that when I got back to my apartment, I'd (1) weigh myself and (2) have a Mountain Dew.  But at the Dallas airport I couldn't help myself, and got a Mountain Dew at 7:10am.  It tasted good.

When I got on the plane in Dallas I saw that the pilot was consulting a fold-out map.  Huh?  Is that standard?

After I landed in LA I took the subway home.  There was an altercation between two men behind me.  I was too tired to turn around, but the more vocal man threatened to fire the other man through the window if he didn't let the issue drop.  Sure enough, at the next stop, he tossed the guy right out of the car!  Cool.  Welcome back to LA!

End weight = 161 lb.  Damn, I thought I'd lost more than that.

One final note, and it's appropriate that my metal j2 pen ran out as I was writing this...

At LAX I went outside to wait for the FlyAway bus and immediately had to get my jacket out of my bag, as LA had chilled down since I left.  I was hoping someone would ask me why I was wearing shorts in that weather, so I could explain that 24 hours ago I was on Copacabana beach drinking caipirinhas with a 21-year-old Oxford student/model, and didn't have an opportunity to change.  Just to point that out.  And also that I didn't realize LA, which was warm three weeks ago, was now--yes, yes--as cold as a witch's teat.

Thank you.  Goodnight.