After a frantic two week spin through the Caribbean and Southern Atlantic I found myself one Sunday evening at 7pm kneeling on the floor of a wine and general foods store in the downtown section of Rio.
My prone position was not because I was looking for a hidden bottle of claret on a lower shelf, though a nice glass of wine would not have gone amiss at that moment, but because we were trying to open a packet of Doritos for the commercial we were working on. When you?re shooting a commercial you use extra-sexy camera-friendly product bags to entice you, the customer, to purchase said product. Camera-friendly these items may be but user-friendly they?re not. We just couldn?t get the bag to open properly and the situation had become so tense that here I was on the floor holding my monitor so that our actors could hold the bags in the perfect position for our shot – God forbid the bags would open right and it would be out of focus or off camera!
Eventually we figured we?d done it and delightedly I called a wrap, uncoiled myself and walked outside to where our crew and equipment had spilled across the street. During our internment at the foot of the Pepsi machine tables and chairs had been placed in the road and excitement hung in the air.
Then the drums started – a happy, frantic, frenzied rhythm rattled across the street as five drummers emerged from a store across the way, marched into the road and set the scene. That they were setting the scene was in no doubt – repeatedly they looked over their shoulders to see, one assumed, if the rest of the contingent was ready.
It?s warm in Rio in April and just as well because when the ?contingent? appeared the most substantial piece of clothing they wore were the feathers attached to the back of their heads! Their outfits, in different colours, were identical and presumably supplied by some company that specializes in producing quarter-sized, guilt and sequined edged bras and bikini bottoms so insubstantial they would have trouble doubling as a ribbon for that last tiny stocking-filler on Christmas Eve. The ?contingent?, like all good contingents do, came in a variety of shapes and sizes and two members in particular caught my eye. The first was a smiling, happy, enormous girl with thighs as thick as the trees in the rain forest. The two pieces of ribbon she wore were ridiculously small and I have to say I felt she was mammarialy challenged though she possessed an impressive barrel chest like the ones I?d seen proudly sported by Brazilian truck drivers. Perhaps ?post-op? is an unkind term but this was certainly not a girl to take home to Mum – this was someone you?d want at your side in a bar fight! My eye was quickly diverted to a beautiful girl at her side in white bits of guilt encrusted stringy things. She was slim and willowy, gently curvaceous, her mouth was – well just what young women?s mouths should be like – and those heels pushed her legs up wonderful and taught. She turned her back towards us and the white stringy bit that split her back-side in two left nothing to the imagination. And when she started wobbling her butt – well this is not the place to describe such details!
The girls shimmied left and right, the drummers drummed and I found I had a beer in my hand and I was whooping and hollering with delight just like everyone else on the crew. The job was done – it was at last time to relax. The drum beat changed – something was about to happen. What I had not anticipated was that something was about to happen to me!
I?d like to think that behind my back the discussion had gone something along the lines of: ?Nigel?s been working hard, let?s get one of those cute, virtually naked girls to dance with him.? At this point however some joker must have chimed in: ?Even better let?s get the 200 pound chick in the blue thong who?s been bench pressing Chevvys all week to shake her booty at him in public!?
And so the girl who re-defined the word Amazonian dragged me in front of the crowd and proceeded to dance with me – or rather dance at me. She shook a manly hip. I shook a manly hip. I started to worry that she was doing a better job of it than me. And then she ran towards me and just as she took off I realised my fate – I was supposed to catch her! Bulbs flashed, my puny biceps strained and the crew collapsed in hysterics as I staggered around the street with the only Brazilian girl I have ever hugged, her massive legs wrapped tightly around my waist.
The next morning I took a relaxing bike ride along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches and round the lagoon to watch the flying fish. There was much mirth pool-side on my return – I had completed a comprehensive cycling tour of Rio with glitter from my eager dancing partner still attached to my neck where her arms had nestled as we gallumped up and down the street the night before.
And the sexy girl in white? She danced with Chris, my AD. Story of my life!