Nights on Bald Mountains

As soon as you drive into Rio from the airport, you notice the city is dotted with a number of tall, stony peaks jutting out from the surrounding shorter hills and plains.
Sugar Loaf and Corcovado ar the two most famous of these. (I didn’t get any photos of these this trip…weather, time, location factored against me, so here are some purloined portraits.) But what you will not notice, once you get settled and start circulating a bit, is bald heads. I live in Portland, Oregon where, it seems, most guys between 21 and 69 have the need to shave their heads. I say most. That means at least 5.1 out of 10. It’s probably more like 7 out of 10 (at least in the 30-65 range).

Recently at a neighborhood bar, there were 6 guys sitting at the bar across from me, 5 had shaved heads, and 4 were texting. Minutes later, two guys sat down next to me, both were voluntarily bald.

Well, I noticed very, very few dudes who felt the need to shave their heads in Rio. Maybe less than one in ten. Much less. Like the absence of expansive tattoos, the absence of shaved heads was quite noticeable for me, a resident of one of the most lemming-like communities I’ve ever lived in: Portland. (But that’s another blog entry.)

I may have seen a few closely cropped pates, but, in 12 days on the ground, only a handful of totally shaved heads. In Portland, I would have seen more than that in a single visit to my neighborhood Safeway.

This is not to say that Cariocas don’t have their own fads and trendy styles. (Jesus, if I see any more badly translated English language t-shirts, I might have to puke.)  Miller High Life is one thing, at least a few years ago, that Cariocas seemed intent on swilling, just like stupid Americans: Bad beer is bad beer. Brain is not functioning now, but, honestly, I’m not convinced that, today, there are that many silly “keeping up with the Joneses” sorts of trendoid fashion statements current in Rio. Should any pop into my week-outta-Rio brain, I’ll jot ’em down.

Not long before I left for Rio, a movie opened in the USA called “Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs” which I thought was a pretty cool title for a book or movie. I had just sent a copy of the original book to my former step grandkids in Colorado. Well, the movie opened when I was in Rio, but the title had changed to Ta Chovendo Hamburger. WTF????!!!

Why the need to change the title to something even more American than meatballs?  I can’t answer this. For sure, meatball exist in Brazil, São Paulo has better Italian restaurants than just about anywhere in the USA. Is it because hamburger is more funny in Brazil????  I really don’t know. But it’s interesting to observe that the change was made…and I’m including the Italian version, which retains the meatball them…It’s Raining Meatballs.

still more to come…

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