Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – January 17, 2015
We are here and par for the course, we are exhausted, our brains are foggy, and our internal clocks are way off. We had a 10:19 pm flight out of Atlanta. At that hour any reasonable person would think that sleeping at least some part of the 9 hour flight would be easy, and it was for most passengers, but no, not for Stan and me. Except for a few moments of dozing, we just sat there.
We were met by a driver in Rio and delivered to our hotel around noon time. We settled in and immediately struck out to find a market for bottled water and wine for our room and to have some lunch. The street on which our hotel sits is only two blocks from the famous Copacabana Beach, so it was fun having lunch alfresco and watching people walking past us going toward the beach. Some were going there to relax and enjoy their Saturday on the beach and others were going to work hawking bottled water, beer, cotton candy or huge bags of some food stuff I haven't quite figured out yet. After lunch, we could not allow ourselves to indulge in a nap, so we explored the area, walked the beach, took pictures and browsed a local outdoor market selling tourist-wares, i.e., bikinis, jewelry, fabric purses, flowing wraps, hair accessories and a never-ending supply of refrigerator magnets and personalized woven bracelets. We did not buy anything. . . yet.
We have only had a glimpse of Rio so far and I am hoping our impression is improved in the next four days. While the geography is breath-taking with the city sitting seaside and the gloriously green Sugarloaf sitting just off shore, most of the city we have seen so far appears tired. It could use an infusion of money. Perhap hosting the next Summer Olympics will do that?? And it is hot. The locals tell us that this is the hottest summer anyone can remember. And to be sure, it is hot! The outdoor temperature is totally draining.
The beach is long, wide and has very walkable, tan-colored sand. The beach was very crowded this summer Saturday. In fact, I have not seen a beach so packed with people since Stan and I visited Waikiki Beach in 1984. The sky was sunny and the waves coming to shore were tremendous. For as far as we could see in either direction, the water was full of people 40 to 50 feet out from shore waiting for each wave to roar in and lift them high off the sea's floor. Though the powerful waves came over and over again as God naturally intended, the people screamed in delight with each and every one! It was great to watch and I hope we get the chance to join those people and do a little wave riding and screaming ourselves in the next few days.
At this moment it is only 5:45 pm here, but I think we are in for the evening. We are truly exhausted and are in need of getting on track with the local clock-time since our driver is picking us up at 8 am tomorrow morning for our first excursion. After all, with the three-hour time change, 8 am here is still 5 am according to our bodies. There is much more to tell. I want to talk about it not being safe to drink the water nor eat fresh raw vegetables. How will I survive?? I want to tell you how kind and gracious people are so far. And I want to talk candidly a bit about the beach bodies and swimwear. Remember Brazil invented the bikini wax and the Brazilian backside enhancement. But I'll push those topics to a later date.
One more thought. The agonizing Passport & Brazilain Visa ordeal we experienced must have created some good karma for us. We breezed through Imigration and Customs. Happily.