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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

PEARL'S ASHES: Chapter 12 Rio de Janeiro

As you have surely noted, I'm not exactly suffering on my quest to drop Pearl's Ashes.  Who's paying for all this?  I'm using her savings.  On 3 October 2011 I activated a monumental around the world trip, to quote:

Today I begin my final ash scattering journey.  I'll be stopping through Bangkok, Tokyo, Zurich, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London, Sao Paulo, Rio, Buenos Aires, Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Las Vegas, Reno, and San Francisco.  Let me know if I'll be stopping by your city.  Perhaps we can have lunch or something.  My first leg takes 18 hours, so, maybe I'll break my Rome-DC record.  Hopefully, it will be less stressful than my Delhi to Barcelona adventure.

My first ash tossing ceremony was to be in Rio de Janeiro, but getting there was full of adventure and enjoyment.  For example, I broke my all-time record by tasting 24 different alcoholic drinks from Honolulu to Bankgok via Tokyo, all in first class.  Thai Air to Bangkok:

First Class on Thai Air means you have your own room and Dom Perignon (21) was served while still on the ground.  The United flight had what must have been a 5 inch screen, but this one was more like two feet and high definition.  The sound/video system was exceptional.  There must have been a hundred movies and something called a juke box where you could program what you wanted to hear.

Click on the above link for details.

Bangkok was fun, but no ashes.  My next stop was Japan, which in itself was worthy of a few chapters.  Then on to Amsterdam, via Zurich, an itinerary that took 20 hours.  Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities, where marijuana and magic truffles are tolerated, there is a famous Red Light District and museums are abundant.  The next city was Stockholm, one of the safest cities in the world where I almost got my pocket picked.  Of all the cities, I had, perhaps, my best two meals in a row.

In London I also had some great meals and went to see Phantom of the Opera and The Wizard of Oz.  I then spent a horrid 18 hours trying to get from London to Sao Paulo.  Three hours after arrival I began lunch at DOM, the best restaurant in South America.  Here I am with Chef Alex Atala.  To quote:

There is, apparently, no discernible dress code in Sao Paulo.  The table next to mine had five dressed in Che Guevara wear, and the young mother breast fed her baby twice, one from each.  I was tempted to take a photo. 

Sao Paulo has what I call doo doo drops (left).  I felt safer walking around this city, but that was probably because any metropolitan area has good and bad zones.  Almost half Brazilians of Japanese heritage live in Sao Paulo.

Difficult switch, but back to cuisine, the next day I had lunch at Mani, making this the best two lunches in a row I've ever had.  Here to the right with Chef Helena Rizzo.

I started with a caipirinha, the Brazilian national cocktail made with sugarcane liquor, sugar and lime.  Her artistry is legendary.  Litchi, foie gras, baby yucca, puxuri (a fruit), and pequi, supposedly a dangerous fruit.  I guess this is their equivalent of fugu.  Here, a simple salad:

Finally, I flew to Rio de Janeiro, called the Wonderful City by residents, and I term the Happiest and Most Beautiful City in the World.  Pearl had never been here, and I did not drop off her ashes in Europe nor Sao Paulo, but Rio was exceptional...but not safe.  I got a spider bite that could have killed me, and a couple of tour members were robbed in broad daylight on the street.

For Pearl's Ash #22, I selected the city symbol, Christ the Redeemer, next to two yellow flowers at the base of the statue.

Of course, one has to have churrascaria and go to a samba show:

My round the world journey continued, and, when I return to this e-photo book in two months, probably on May 10 or 17, I will toss Pearl Ashes #23 at the Most Extraordinary Natural Wonder of the World.


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