A RARE PASSION
Carioca women, Linden Bradley thought, watching the beach from the shade of her sidewalk cafe umbrella, were a special breed of female. Skimpily shielded by cloth scraps, they undulated, never merely walked, across the hot sand. They raised bronzed arms with languid grace to summon the mate vendor for a cool native tea, or the coco verde boy, who zigzagged eel-like through the crowd of oiled bodies with his basket of fruit. He carried a fearsome machete which he used to lop off the heads of the green coconuts, and from a quiver in his belt selected straws to tuck into the pale liquid. The chilled, creamy juice was one of Linden’s favorite Brazilian foods.
She’d had her dip for the day, retiring afterward to shower in her hotel room overlooking Ipanema Beach. Her lunch was a leisurely feast of camaroes paulistas, huge prawns fried whole in the shell, and a salad of hearts of palm. During the years she had been away from Brazil she promised herself this treat if ever she came back. Three years after her divorce, she’d finally kept that promise. It went to prove how closely stomach and well-being were linked. Food was life, food was warmth, and food was Brazil--where she had grown up.