If there ever was a competition, Rio de Janeiro would probably be elected the world capital of improvisation. Many unaware tourists are visiting in hope to relax and enjoy sunny days by the sea at Copacabana beach and vivacious evenings dancing at the sound of Brazilian music – don’t worry, you will also get that. But the true magic in Rio happens when you are prepared for the unprepared to happen. To be like local in Rio, you have to be flexible.
Once you arrive in Tom Jobim – later more about him – International airport, make sure you are open for the unpredictable. Be surprised by an out-of-season carnival street parade or chit chat with random Brazilians willing to make a great effort to have a conversation in (not-so-good) English, that all of a sudden turns into a great night with lots of new friends, drinks and party.
No doubts that any trip is subject to unplanned events, but the difference in Rio is: unplanned events are no exception, they are everywhere. When in Rio, it is important that you accept what Rio has to offer instead of wanting what you have ordered. This is the only way you will truly understand this city and be like a local in Rio.
Maybe your hotel will not have the exact type of room you booked, or who knows whether the waiter will bring you the dish you have ordered. It is possible that the attraction you planned to visit is sold out or even closed without prior notice. The days may be too warm or the beach too crowded.
Accept whatever room you are offered, eat the dish you have not ordered, change plans and be alert without stressing if any unpleasant incident happen during your stay. Being born in Rio, I have experienced all highs and lows, and a positive unexpected situation is always around the corner. So don’t waste your time and a possibly unforgettable experience by focusing on the unpleasant surprises.
And speaking of Tom Jobim, the one from the airport, he once said that Brazil is no place for beginners. Jobim was a brilliant Brazilian musician and one of those who invented the bossa nova rhythm. Besides writing songs about a beautiful girl on her way to Ipanema beach, he was also known for his shrewd thoughts and ideas about Brazil and, more particularly, Rio de Janeiro. The cariocas, those born in Rio, took this idea of Jobim and proudly repeat that Rio is not for amateurs. You sure need creativeness and inventiveness to go by in the Cidade Maravilhosa.
A famous carioca song describes Rio as the purgatory of beauty and chaos. Fight against it and you will hate it. Embrace it and you will love it.