When Liz was planning her trip to Rio she dreamed of beaches, and samba, and caipirinhas, and sexy Brazilian men flirting with her at oceanside cafes. Her Brazilian friend had told her about the other side, the favelas and the crime and kidnappings and the drugs. But in her imagination, Rio was vibrant and magical, and its seamy underside was just a vague notion, something dark and unpleasant, but not entirely real.
On the long flight there, while she dozed, and listened to her fellow travelers complain about the food, and reminisce about past trips, she also fantasized about a new life in this new world. What if she didn’t go back? What if she found a job teaching English, and spent her afternoons at the beach. She’d go to the gym everyday so she could wear a Brazilian bikini, their oh-so-revealing bottoms in the style of fio dental , or dental floss. She’d drink coconut juice (not milk, but the fresh juice) everyday for its wondrous health properties. She’d learn to samba, and maybe even dance at Carnival. She’d write witty, captivating emails to her friends back home detailing her adventures. Maybe she’d even start a blog. Liz smiled at the thought of some of her earnest public interest lawyer friends reading disapprovingly about the frivolous life she’d live. But way deep down she suspected they’d be jealous. Oh, they’d never admit it. They’d say she should start a non-profit to help the children in the favelas, and campaign against the objectification of women’s bodies symbolized by the skimpy bikinis, and at all costs not have too much fun. And no sex, because do you know the rate of STDs in Brazil, and those Latin men are so sexist and they’ll never treat you as an equal.