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Rio de Janeiro

They might be small but they ain't cheap

We had taken the bus from Leme to Ipanema Beach to get a feel of one of Rio’s favourite pastimes, enjoying the beaches. The residents of Rio, all 12 million of them are known as cariocas and they, both the men and women, are world-renowned for their minuscule beachwear. They have no inhibitions and will wear these tiny garments no matter what condition their bodies are in, some bodies were absolutely gorgeous while others verged on the repulsive.

Ipanema Beach

We arrived at Ipanema, which was more crowded than Copacabana; I was “checking out” the scantily bikinied women while Farida was eying the scantily attired hulks as we slowly ambled along the beach. I digress; we were looking for the Lady from Ipanema, not the person but the bar. We did not find it; admittedly we did not look very hard, as the “action” on the beach was sufficient to occupy our minds. There were families, singles, couples and groups of friends enjoying the beach. Whether they were playing volleyball or having a picnic or just relaxing on the sand reading a book, everyone appeared exuberant. It gave one a feeling of just wanting to strip off and join the action.

Dusk at Copacabana

We ambled the length of Ipanema beach and then crossed over to Copacabana beach. It was a pleasant walk along the beach watching the setting sun, admiring the incredible sandcastles, watching a young girls’ football team practise and stopping at one of the stalls on the beach for caipirinhas. It was a long walk back to the hotel, but the

The sandcastles along Copacabana were a work of art

numerous activities on the beach kept us engrossed and it was not until we got to our room that we realised how tired we were. We had a quick rest before going out to enjoy a “Carnaval Show”, which showed the flamboyancy and sexuality of the carefree cariocas.

I had heard some quite unpleasant experiences that my fellow travellers have had in Rio de Janeiro, but I fell in love with Rio and its people.

A local speciality that I didn't sample.

Cristo Redentor - Rio's iconic landmark

Big Mac or Sexy Rose? The choice is yours in Rio. The similarity of the colours of the signs are what first attracted my attention.

Sao Christovao, one of Rio's suburbs

Copacabana, early morning. The cariocas don't appear until mid-morning

Not only does Rio have fabulous beaches right in the city and a lot of green spaces but also it is incredibly scenic with its mountains and rock formations in and around the city. The locals call Rio a cidade maravilhosa, the marvellous city, I could not agree more.