Travel Tales: Rio de Janeiro
In 1976, my grandparents hosted Geisa, a foreign exchange student from Brazil. I was seven years old at the time, and took great pains to correct her when she mispronounced English words. Nearly 30 years later, my grandmother was still exchanging letters with Geisa, and gave me her e-mail address. When Geisa invited me to her home in Rio de Janeiro, I wasted no time booking my flight.
Before I go to a new country, I always try to get a taste of its culture through films and books. I rented “Central Station” and “Orfeu,” and went to the theater to see “City of God.” All three films take place in Rio de Janeiro and offer a glimpse of the poverty and violence (and the exuberance and passion) that characterize the city. For reading material on the plane, I had “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands” by Jorge Amado, perhaps the most well known of Brazil’s writers. With three Brazilian films and one Brazilian book under my belt, I felt I had at least a few conversation starters.