Landed Thursday in RIO from JFK with Steven Tefft and we can’t find Jime Litwalk who flew in from Florida. He landed before us and the promoter says he’s at the hotel in room 519. Ok great, I’ll knock on his door after we cram ourselves into this car too small for us and our luggage but we manage with a lot of laughs with the driver who only speaks Portuguese. Knock, knock, knock.. nothing. I text Jime no word back. Hmmmm… maybe he is using “WhatApp” texting application that is used everywhere else and barely in the United States! Yup! Got him! He was moved to room 510 and joining us in the lobby to meet up with Steve’s friend, Rick Henderson the Connecticut native who married a Brazilian girl who now lives in RIO and is going to show us around.
Lunch, drinks and Copacabana Beach here we come! One thing you notice about RIO is the rolling hills, packed with Favelas which are considered Brazilian slums and they are EVERYWHERE. Plus, you can spot the Christ Statue looming high above RIO from just about anywhere. Copacabana beach is absolutely huge with tons of small restaurants right on the beach. Soccer, volleyball, cross fit, yoga, beach games are happening everywhere. Right off the beach was a tattoo shop we stopped into to say hello, talk about their shop, rent prices, tattoo business, etc. Night is falling as we continue to walk the massive Copacabana Beach when Rick says let’s grab a cab and go to Lapa. Lapa is hopping! It feels like the streets are open to pedestrians only, liquor carts are parked outside of clubs with the music flowing out the open windows, everyone is happy and dancing. A very fun nightlife. Jime and Steve are being recognized and pictures are being taken with fans. This is a FUN area!
Friday, Saturday and Sunday Jime and Steve knock out some amazing tattoos. Steve mainly tattooing black and gray horror with a pretty little rose for one of the ladies. Jime is transforming pictures of people’s pets into adorable creations as only Jime Litwalk can do. He opens up a box of inks and there is an abundance of colors. As soon as either of them look up, stretch or try to get something to eat they are taking photos with fans and a line immediately forms. Thank god Ligia, our very sweet and funny translator is there to help us communicate that they need a break to get something to eat. 25,000 people attended the RIO convention that had unique music acts, a samba parade, Capoeira performance “Brazilian martial art”, a skateboard tricks area, unique food and Acai ice cream carts! You have to try Acai ice cream! A healthy “super berry” and a really thick smoothie that’s been topped with oatmeal.
Sunday evening, our final day at the convention, Rick and his wife Deb are back to take us to Ipanema where we can catch the Patriots Denver playoff game!
The next day we toured Sugar loaf mountain which is a must see destination for any visit to RIO. It is 2 sets of cable cars to the very top which offers panoramic views of RIO and helicopter rides to the Christ statue.
The following day I leave Jime and Steven to drive 2 hours to an amazing beach area called Buzios while they do a guest spot at another tattoo shop.
We can’t thank Esther and Enio enough for having us in RIO (and earlier in Sao Paulo – a huge show) and a BIG thanks to Rick and Deb who helped show us around, transfer USD money to reals, order food, taxi rides and in general communicate in Portuguese with the very friendly and very chatty people we met along the way. We’ll be back RIO!
~ Jenn Lee
Sugar Loaf – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarloaf_Mountain