Only in Rio de Janeiro (2)
The very next night I decided on the upscale Merci bistro that served elaborate dinners on the main floor and later, with a cover charge, live music above. I went just for the music, as did the mostly young crowd streaming in.
As I sat at a small table toward the back of the room and sipped a caipirinha, a group of older folks in chic evening attire commandeered a large round table near me. One of the men carried an elaborate floral arrangement so I imagined this must be a birthday, perhaps of the slender lady next to him. A Brazilian grande dame with coal black hair swirled high on her head and in an elegant dress of ivory silk and lace that covered her to chin, ankles and wrists.
From the first lilting notes of a familiar Brazilian tune the audience cheered and applauded, and the band kept going until a crisp announcement in Portuguese (which of course I did not understand).
At that the willowy woman in the shimmery sheath moved to the bandstand and sang a huge favorite of mine way back to Brazil 66. And this lady belted out “Laia Ladaia” like she owned it!
Afterwards the flowers were presented to her and the show was over. As I waded through the crowd, I couldn’t get over the incredible performance I had just experienced. I mean, who on earth was this woman? But with no English speakers anywhere, sadly to this day I still have no idea!