The Adventures of Shama Ko-Rio De Janeiro
Good Morning Rio...
I left Austin last night feeling anxious and excited. I don´t think it sunk in that I was actually going until I was seated on the plane. I couldn't stop smiling. My stomach was all butterflies. I've had the hardest time wrapping my head around the fact that I was really going to Rio. No matter how many travel guides I read or people I talked to about my trip, I had no idea what to expect. Like many cities in the world, I 'd heard about the good and bad aspects to Rio. It does have a bad reputation for crime and poverty but at the same time, it is known for friendly warm people and beautiful landscapes. Both of it is true...or at least that´s what I´ve come to see in the short time I´ve been here. My poor mother is worried about me being in a foreign country but she also has faith in my ability to take care of myself. Despite the language barriers and cultural differences, I think I am doing pretty good so far with hand gestures, body language and the very little Brazilian Portuguese/Spanish that I know and can understand.
A strange coincidence happened today. I was waiting for the shuttle bus to pick up another passenger when I looked up to see a familiar face. There was Daniel, Moraes with his father and one of his students! Even though I knew that Daniel was in Rio, it was still completely odd to run into him in a city of this size only an hour after I arrived. All I can think of is that it was meant to be and now I will be training with him and his crew later next week.
My mother gave me some pretty corny advice about traveling that she called FAO =Have Fun, be Alert and keep Organized. Well I hate to admit it but maybe she's right. Had I not decided to take a look at the schedule for the Rio open today, I would have never known that I was supposed to compete tomorrow! Oh crap! Good thing I checked. I assumed since I usually compete on Fridays, it would be on Friday this time also. The lesson learned is never assume that something will always be the same especially when you are in a whole different part of the world!
The only two things I forgot this trip was my belt and my iphone charger. Thankfully my friend Lauren who gave me a ride to the airport, lent me her ipod usb cord which is better than nothing. I was more upset about forgetting my belt, which will be a blog topic of it's own later. It's been a few days since I weighted myself and I knew I was close to being right at the top of my division. The hostel I am staying at didn't have a scale, but I was told that drug stores did have them. So I packed up my gi and headed off to the nearest drug store. I'd gone to the Leblon Shopping mall a few times already today to exchange money and I remembered that they had a drug store at the top of the escalators with a scale in the window.
As I stood in the window of the drug store of the busy shopping mall fully geared up in my gi like a Jiu Jitsu mannequin, I got some strange looks but I didn't care. I threw my self into a mad panic after realizing I was 1.5 kg over weight but it totally made my day when a group of young boys created an even bigger scene from outside the window by freaking out with excitement at seeing me fully geared up! Even though I couldn't understand most of what they were saying, I did hear them say Jiu Jitsu over and over again. They laughed and smiled as I gestured to tell them that I was too heavy!
Afterwards, immediately I went for a run on the beach and ate a light meal. I am going to go to the mall again tomorrow morning and be their "Jiu Jitsu mannequin" again as I verify my weight after my efforts to bring it down. I am sure it will be just fine. I am so excited about competing, I hope I can sleep tonight. Until next time...