Sitting here in my office at home, the sun lost behind the clouds, the rain changing to hail to half-sun back to rain makes me want to be back in Buzios working rather than at this desk, typing on the same laptop that served me so well when I was in Buzios last week.
Yes, Buzios is in Brazil, just 2-3 hours north of Rio de Janeiro. A small town with an international feel, there were people from all over the world. With an everyday population of about 20,000 people, it definitely has a small town feel, but it’s also a town with more pousadas, hotels, vacation rentals and second homes that any town I’ve visited in recent memory. Every block of the main part of town has pedestrian areas filled with shops, restaurants, bars, cafés separated by cobblestone streets. Almost empty in the afternoon, when the sun is setting, the town comes alive and everyone is out shopping and eating after spending the afternoon on the beach or by the pool.
The bars range from little stands serving beer and caiparinhas to pub-styled bars and everything in between. Rumor has it that the discotheque, Privilege, is the best disco in Brazil, but I didn’t get to test it out because it’s only open on the weekends. It looked hip and I’m sure it’s packed to the gills on weekends.
For me, Buzios was about the fish and oh the fish is fresh! Buzios was a sleepy fishing village when it was ‘discovered’ by the jetset in the 60’s. I had a simple black beans, rice and fried fish dish that was delicious. It was at an old café with plastic chairs right along the water. I opted for the café with a guy behind the grill who looked like he’d been on the boat all morning and was now cooking up his catch of the day. It was delicious and cooked perfectly. But I’m an adventurous eater and enjoy the point and nod method of ordering an authentic meal in a foreign country. In Brazil, point, nod and follow that up with the commensurate thumbs up and a big smile, and you’re bound to have something good.
A solid thumbs up and a smile will take you far in Brazil. It’s the cure all, really. It means “everything is good”, “we’re all lucky to be here”, “all is well”, and “you’re awesome and I’m happy” all rolled into one simple jesture: an enthusiastic thumbs up and a big smile. If you want something from your waiter, do not give them a thumbs up, motion with your fingers. Otherwise, you’ll be sitting there for awhile. Because of this mistake, all I had was two beers and great fish, when I really wanted that third beer.
But that’s ok, I walked into downtown Buzios and had a few caiparinhas with some Brits and all was well. The bar looked like a torn down metal ship with 10 stools and 4 tables and am still unsure if it had a name. We all had a good time and talked about traveling, how idyllic Buzios was, how surprised we were to find such a charming town, and how it had so much to offer the international tourist looking for a romantic getaway just a few hours drive from Rio de Janeiro.
Yeah, take me back to Buzios any ol’ time.