When you see a whole bunch of them lined up next to each other– all looking so beautiful and in possession of near perfectly sculpted anatomies, which one do you pay attention to? I normally end up fixated on one or the two of them. This evening they are the dancer Elizabeth and the lead singer Stella. The show is spectacular to say the least and though mostly performed to the crowd of tourists, and if somewhat glamorized, what  you see is as authentic as the way they do them at the Samba Schools of the favelas in preparation for the carnival. Something I’ve had an opportunity to experience earlier in the year. If devoid of all that glamour and the glitter, I could certainly feel the heat and the raw vibrations of the partners I got to dance with.

The next day, after we have a nice dinner at Chalet, some of us are on the prowl. I go disco hopping with Germany’s Wolfgang Robert and Wolf Thieme.  We first check out Regine, one of the upscale discos, but seeing there wasn’t much action, we end at Assidius. Turns out it’s a hustle joint in the disguise of a discotheque. The place is large with what sounds like good music and is populated with hoards of hustling women, some attractive, others not so. It is dimly lit and the girls are dressed so provocatively that after a while they all look desirable. I hang around for a while, but nothing turns me off faster than the whores hustling and poking at you. So I make my exit before anyone else does, and head back to the hotel.

A couple of days later, we walk into a place called New Munich. A halfway decent looking dancer is performing topless on a tiny stage while four or five not so attractive women parade in front of us, asking us for light, trying to make conversation. It’s a small dark, dingy and dirty looking dive. We soon decide it wasn’t our kind of a place and depart promptly even without finishing our drinks.

The whole world knows Brazilian cuisine by now from its chain of churrascarias that have sprung up in almost all of the major cities around the globe. Many of them also offer sumptuous buffets of fish and vegetables, it’s the grilled meat they specialize in. The waiters called passadores file past every table with a long sword like skewer studded with variety of meats that include beef, pork, lamb, chicken, delicious sausages and some grilled fish. But none of that compares with a down home meal of feijoada.

Feijoada is the ultimate Brazilian national dish. Traditionally it’s served only on Saturday afternoons, the reason being, it’s so heavy that once you have had a feijoada meal, it’s impossible to even think of going back to work. Cooked at a very low heat in a thick clay pot similar to that used for the tandoori dishes in India, it’s cooked together with black beans and a variety of meats, served with rice, spinach and raw flour. A must when you’re in Brazil, unless of course you happen to be in the country only during the weekdays. Too bad. Even though at the end of my first time around tasting it, I wrote in my journal: nothing to write home about, over a period of time, I have developed a definite liking for it, so much so that I often crave for it. Like  right now. Alas, Brazil is thousands of miles south of from where I sit at my computer here in Chicago. And today is Tuesday! And then to be able to wash it down with the local beer Brahma interspersed with another Brazilian must, kaipirinha. The cocktail made of sugarcane liquor cachaça, sugar and lime. Served over rocks of ice and with a twist of lime and the wedge thrown into the mix. This refreshing translucent green elixir goes down your palate ever so smoothly. An afternoon filled with feijoada and kaipirinha, what can be better?  Though a snooze would be nice.

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