I shower, change and feeling a bit better, go out on the town with Laurent and Patrick (Rousselle). Have dinner at Churrascaria Carreta where we run into Patrick’s acquaintance Arturo Falk and his girlfriend Amelia. Feeling much better now, we decide to go to Regine’s. Today it’s in full swing. I ask Amelia to dance. She does, but not before asking Arturo’s permission. Didn’t know such a thing still existed. But we’re in Brazil. Anyway, we have a good time. What’s more, Arturo seems some kind of a rich man and picks up the tab for the whole evening.

The cherry on the top comes when the winning team of the day, Flamengo walks in to the roar of applause. They are there to celebrate their win. We watch the largest golden trophy being passed from hand to hand and being kissed over and over again and the bottles of champagne popping open, and the gushing fountains of foam hitting the ceiling. The music picking up the tempo. Everyone is dancing, hugging and kissing strangers – just like in a carnival. Such happiness!

We couldn’t help but tell our horror story of the earlier in the day. Arturo asks, which part of the stadium we sat at. We tell him. What colors were your clothes? Why? Because you were on the Botafogo side of the bleachers, and if any of you wore red or the combination of red and black – that’s why. I guess one of us did – not Laurent or I. At least the one who did had erred on the side of the winners. To see Flamengos mingling with us makes up for some of the humiliation we had felt earlier.

 

© Haresh Shah

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

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