My Painful, Painful International Weekend

On Saturday morning, I finally worked up the nerve to take one of the yoga classes at my gym. I had been hesitant to do so because everything is en espanol, and I am averse to embarrassment. So, it’s much less risky to climb onto an elliptical machine, put on my iPod, and “cross-train” for 45 minutes. But, that’s also a little boring.

The class went fine, except for one thing I failed to clarify beforehand: It was an advanced class. Even at my most skilled yoga moments (about three years ago, after 2 1/2 years of going to yoga twice a week) the most advanced move I could do was this: The Wheel.

But I can’t do this, this, or this. Still, I gave them all my best shot, doing modified poses whenever possible.

…And several hours later, in time for our dinner plans, I was already creaking with pain. I felt like I had the flu and that I had suddenly reached the advanced age of 142. (As of right now, I’m still in “slow moving” phase, and amazed that even at my age, I can still “find muscles I didn’t know existed.” A walker would be really useful right now. Seriously.)

But on to the other painful international experience. Later on, we headed down to lovely Coyoacan and had carnitas with some friends. OK, that was awesome. I love discovering new foods. Then we decided to go see a movie; the four of us had to pick between:

What Happens in Vegas, which none of us would normally see, but it was showing in the VIP theatre, where you can sip cocktails, munch on sushi, and lounge all the way back in your plush leather chair, your feet propped up on leg rests. It was in English with espanol subtitles. (Note that it’s incorrectly and strangely translated here as “Locura de Amor en Las Vegas” (crazy in love in vegas).


Tropa de Elite, “one of the most popular Brazilian movies of all time” about BOPE, Rio’s elite police force, which was showing in the normal (U.S.-like) movie theater. As the New York Times put it, “In particular, torture is presented in the film as a near constant aspect of urban violence in Brazil, with police officers and traffickers competing to outdo each other on the brutality scale.” However, it was in Portuguese and subtitled in espanol. Because Brendan and I need the Spanish practice, we chose this one.

It was: My other bad choice for the day.

For two incredibly long hours, I was blasted with the almost constant sounds of gunshots, people moaning and writhing in pain while being murdered or tortured (like the college student who was burned alive while imprisoned in car tires), and angry men policemen shrieking in Portuguese, all set to the backdrop of ferocious techno music.

Not only could I barely stand up after the movie, I could barely breathe, hear or think.

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