Double date with a couple from South Africa: Ride the Iditarod, or party at Carnival in Rio?

Time to let go. Literally. You and Leah, your wife, dressed for a party at Carnival in Rio. You went to your 10-foot wall-size teleportal, set its video to saturated colors with special effects, switched the surround speakers to concert and dimmed the room’s lights.


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In a second you and Leah connect with your South African double date. You exchange a long look. Tanya is petite, small boned with a pixie haircut, wearing all black — shiny leggings, a skinny camisole and high heels.

Your wife, Leah, is an elegant brunette who matched her style with an ultra-short and low-cut black dress and stiletto heels. She glanced at you and whispered, “Told you she’d dress hot. Glad I went there.”

Rick, Tanya’s husband, and you both dressed well too, ready to take out these two beautiful girls. You exchanged looks. “We’re very lucky guys,” you said. Rick agreed, admiring both girls as much as you did.

Leah overheard you. “And you’re so very good at making me happy,” she said. Rick and Tanya laughed knowingly.

Tanya and Rick were new and well traveled friends. You just met them recently on a night you and Leah went out dancing, to check out some of the world’s best clubs and meet interesting people. You’d found them at club Pacha Ibiza, then retreated to talk at the Aktaion cafe on the Greek Island of Corfu, with its stunning view of the old fortress and the moonlit sea.

Now Rio’s Carnival was a perfect first date. You had suggested spending the evening on sleds in Alaska’s Iditarod race, but they’d been going to Carnival for years and promised a great time.

When Tanya and Rick connected their teleportal, its background was already set in Rio at a Carnival parade with thousands of Brazilians dancing in the street. Its music instantly started pulsing through your speakers. They beckoned you to join them and started dancing Brazilian style in the digital street, surrounded by those already dancing there. The music was irresistible and you moved with it, copying the style of dancing all around you.

Since it was your first time at Carnival, Tanya filled you in.

“The heart of Carnival is the parades. Most first-time tourists head for the Sambodromo where there’s seating to watch the samba schools parade through, do their performances and compete to win. But we love to dance in the street parades — that’s where the fun is.”

“How’d you pick this one?” Leah asked.

“It’s easy. We bought tickets to a bloco, a large group of people who dance in a roped off area around a trio electrico. That’s the large truck there with a stage on top, with the band that’s makes the music we’re dancing to. There’s hundreds of them but we picked this one because it’s one of Brazil’s most popular bands with singles and young couples. We’ll stay in its bloco for as long as you want, near its truck. Outside the ropes are the people who watch and dance on the sidelines. Most of them are Cariocas, the people who live in Rio.”

Around you, the people in the bloco are dressed in street clothes perfect for dancing and walking. Tank tops, shorts or loose slacks and t-shirts are everywhere.

“Does this band use mobile teleportals so we can stay with them?”

“Oh yeah.” Rick displayed a stats panel and there were almost 200,000 digital people in its bloco right now. “That number is how I picked it. It’s near the top for attracting the most digital people from around the world.”

He turned on its digital view. The street was instantly jammed with thousands of digital dancers, most of them overlays on each other.

The carnival music pounded them with incredible beats so they danced along with the street and digital gatherings as they talked. The digital dancers were all ages but mostly in their 20’s and 30’s, women with tight clothes and great hair, men dressed equally well. Even the older digital couples were dressed up and people-watching, radiating the same excitement as those who were younger.

Then Rick popped up a teleportal selector to show over a dozen views they could join, and switched them to the band. Suddenly they were on top of the truck, dancing alongside the band, looking out at the bloco surrounding it. “This band is making millions of dollars right now from digital tickets to be in their bloco.”

“Where is everyone?” you joked. “With an audience of 200,000 attending digitally, this looks too light.”

Tanya and Rick brightened and smiled. “Brazil’s one of the sexiest countries on Earth, and Carnival is one of its sexiest events. They’re here, but they’re in other shared spaces, having fun.”

That sounded interesting. “Public or private spaces?” you asked.

“Both. Our tickets come with a party list.” Rick popped up a scrolling list with thumbnails, so you could see each type of party at a glance. “At least half the digital people in this bloco are at one of these parties. Another quarter are at private parties not on this list. They don’t come just to dance in the bloco.”

“There’s all kinds of parties,” Tanya said, “and being Brazil, everyone comes here because they start sexy and get sexier.”

Leah looked at you and winked. “You ready?” she asked.

“You two are fun,” you said, “but our kids are here so we have to pass on any nudity. If you want to go, don’t let us stop you.”

“That eliminates most of the parties,” Rick laughed, “but at most of those nothing happens anyway, just people dancing and partying. At some parties they go as far as you want, but that’s less common. What usually happens is people meet and vanish together into a private shared space.”

“Let’s dance in the bloco for a while,” you said, “Brazil’s a fantastic country. I love the people and want to enjoy them first.”

“There’s some incredible digital dancers here,” Leah said. “Can we focus just them on screen, so we can dance with them?”

“Sure. With or without them knowing we’re dancing with them?” Rick asked.

“Why don’t you have it flicker us on and off for a minute.” Leah suggested. “That’ll get their attention. Then it will be easy to meet and dance together.”

Rick brought up the selector and moved them back on the street. Leah danced over to an amazing digital dancer and started moving sinuously next to him, her hands over her head, copying his sexy dance style…


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