Rio de Janeiro – up close and personal with the “beautiful people”
After yesterday’s long, and exceptionally bumpy, flight, I promised myself a gentle and relaxing day today. That meant I was having breakfast at 06.00 (8 am UK time) and getting myself organised for a big trip of the Rio sights tomorrow. How lucky that I did this early as, apparently, I grabbed the last available place on the tour.
That left me with the prospect of a visit to the beach – and why go to one when there are two famous and fabulous beaches here. By the time I had walked from my hotel to Ipanema Beach, I was ready for a drink and noticed that at the numerous bars a coconut seemed to be the favourite. Oh my! These huge coconuts are kept in ice cream freezers and, when you order, they hack off the top and serve it to you with just a straw on the side. Ice cold coconut milk is definitely one to enjoy. They do offer a rather savage looking knife if you want to attack it and get at the flesh but I was heading down to Copacabana Beach. I have to say that this is a long walk and, by late morning, the temperature was way up in the 30’s, but I was having such a great time wandering along the water’s edge, avoiding the pounding surf (most of the time), ‘people watching’ and more than entertained along the way. There were all kinds of sports going on – beach volleyball, beach tennis and…hugging! It seemed to be the thing to do… to stand at the water’s edge in a very long hug before rushing off to an open air gym, stretching exercises, press-ups or just looking glamorous. (There was a vast amount of that.) I was so relieved at times to see ‘normal’ bodies lining up with the ripped, honed, toned and those that were merely “incredible”, that I made a point of ensuring they featured in my photos.
This long beach has zones all along the way. Each appears to be significant but I couldn’t work them all out. I did know that one was for the wealthy and beautiful, one might be for the available, and one is certainly very sports orientated. I thought I had a personal welcome party going on at another with lots of ‘Rainbow’ flags but this zone was distinctly “gay pride”.
By the time I got to the point where I knew I could get a shuttle bus back to the hotel, I was much in need of another drink. I don’t know more than a couple of words in Portuguese but, after lots of fun with the waiters trying to order things like sparkling water with lime (which they pretended not to understand), I managed to convey, “You choose a drink for me”. And that, members of the jury, is how I came to be drinking a ‘caipirinha’ Brazil’s national cocktail.
Absolutely fabulous (it certainly contained lime) but is somewhat powerful and I was, therefore, grateful to be going back on the shuttle bus. The remainder of the afternoon was then truly lazy with a swim in the pool and reading in the shade. Now gearing up for tomorrow’s eight hour tour of this truly spectacular place.