Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saudade redux

It was easier for me to leave Brazil than I had expected. Emotionally that is, discounting all this nonsense.

At times I try to remember the last time I walked the dog along the Aterro de Flamengo, watched the sun set over Pao de Acucar, or took a dip at Posto 10 in Ipanema. Truth is our last week in Rio was so horridly overcast and rainy that Isa and I were spared those last moments of sighing as we sipped a coconut juice by the water, pining to ourselves – the famous “saudade” that permeates Brazilian music – and wondering “how could we ever leave this place.”

It’s funny how saudade can catch up with you at unexpected moments. Listening to my Pilates teacher’s samba mix was one of those.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The existentialism of decaf


You never know what you might find at the bottom of a cup of coffee.

I rediscovered the marvel of decaffeination on my last trip back to the US, and I suddenly felt freed from the inherent constraints of being an inconsistent and somewhat repentant coffee drinker. No matter how much I love the aroma of a coffeeshop, the tingling sensation of a strong espresso on my tongue, or the richness of foamed milk, the caffeine is too much for me.

I broke my coffee addiction a couple years back, and can now drink a marron pequeño from time to time as long as I don’t get back into the habit. But the coffee buzz still goes to my head. It gives me a surge in the morning and then leaves me needing a nap by the early afternoon. In Venezuela I’d come to accept that these were the rules of the game, since asking for decaf is an invitation to a blank, uncomprehending stare.