It was so hot in Rio that a quick trip to the beach was required.
One of the many vendors walking up and down the scalding sands today was a kite seller. Bode just couldn’t resist. We sent him off to ask how much. When he returned with the price of 5 R$, our friends insisted that he go back with only four to see what would happen.
He came back with a kite.
These were similar to the rokkaku. Deliberately designed to be unstable, but steerable, by experienced hands with a single line. Paper and wood construction. Made in China, for sure.
Bode chose a distinctive red, white and blue design that he said was a British flag. It wasn’t.
He struggled with it for a few seconds, but it wasn’t going anywhere. I came over to help, but was soon nudged out by a local kid who knew what he was doing. I assured Bode that he should watch and learn and returned to important business in a beach chair under our umbrella.
We all sat back and admired the scene as it unfolded. Talking about our trip, our friends were pleased to see that Bode could play with anyone so easily and that an American kid and a ‘favela kid’ could hit off.
The skill required to get one of these kites up high should not be underestimated. It requires keen coordination, yanking the line at exactly the right moment to gain altitude, then letting line out while the body drifts and spins out of control. Repeated hundreds of times.
After the line on our Union Jack was sufficiently out, Bode’s new friend handed over the reigns. Naturally, it spiraled down into the sand in the hands of a novice.
Bode’s new friend was quick to help. When Bode ran towards the kite, his buddy stopped him and turned him around to reel in the line. Bode’s back turned, his new friend snapped the line and took off in a flash with the kite.
By the time Bode reeled in the line enough to realize there was no longer a kite at the frayed end, he looked up at us helplessly.
“Did that kid steal my kite?”
Our friends were quick to offer a fake explanation. “Oh, no… you lost your kite in battle and your line was cut. ”
There was no battle. Nor, any other kites nearby. It was just a simple misdirection scam perfectly executed by a ten year old.
We looked around briefly, but the kid had simply vanished.
We’ve had great experiences in Rio de Janeiro with everyone we’ve encountered, despite all the warnings. That is, until we met this little prick.
We’ll accept our $2 USD lesson. If this is our worst experience in Rio de Janeiro, then so be it.