25 November 2013

It Takes a Visitor

Amazing how it takes a visitor, with a fresh set of eyes, to restore one’s feeling of excitement about where one lives. This was our experience in New York whenever we took out-of-town visitors to little-known tourist attractions, out-of-the-way restaurants, or the best hole-in-the-wall jazz venues. We loved showing our city off, and we have just had the pleasure of doing exactly that here in Búzios with a visitor so full of enthusiasm that we, ourselves, were re-energized. Though this old friend had been in Brazil once previously, Búzios was completely new for her. She blew in like a fresh gust of air, and dragged me out of the lethargy and negativism that I had recently fallen into.

I guess no matter how beautiful it might be where you live, whether you have a mountain view or a river view, whether you’re in a lush valley or at the ocean, your daily grind is your daily grind. The usual worries and preoccupations start to take over and you don’t see what’s in front of you any more. Is it really possible that I look out at this view every day and all I can think of is Gee, as soon as the bank strike is over we’d better get more checks printed, or I wonder how soon I can get a bone density exam scheduled. It took our visitor to remind me of the beauty in my own backyard.

Since neither Mark nor I particularly like going to the beach and sitting and baking in the sun we’d kind of stopped visiting the beaches around Búzios. But how great it was to get out and see them again!

We’d forgotten how beautiful and savage Brava Beach can be . . .

            . . . how small and intimate Azedinha Beach is . . .

. . .  how unusual the red sand and jagged rock formations are at Forno Beach.

And there’s nothing like settling in at a beachside restaurant and devouring some grilled seafood with a crisp white wine, while the waves lap at your feet. And speaking of devouring, it was also lots of fun to sample some of the new restaurants that have been popping up here, but that Mark and I just hadn’t gotten to yet. We knew we had a visitor who had her gastronomic priorities right since her very first question to us on the ride home from the airport was, "How do you say ‘red’ in Portuguese?" We answered, "vermelho," each of us wondering why on earth that would be her first preoccupation. But then her motive became clear. "So," she went on, "If I want red wine I say ‘vino vermelho’?" "Well, no," I laughed, "you can get by with one word for red in English, but here you need two." I coached her on vinho tinto and vinho branco. And when she drank her very first caipirinha it made my umpteenth caipirinha go down that much better.

Our visitor has gone home, and left me feeling wonderfully refreshed. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that in the months to come I’ll start to focus once more on the little annoyances of life. I’ll stop going to check out the new restaurants and stores, I’ll forget what the Búzios beaches look like. I really do need a visitor to get me out and about. Any more takers?

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