Published: May 28th 2012May 28th 2012
And hello beaches of Rio indeed! They really are something else, almost as if they could inspire a song or two! So I arrived in Rio this afternoon after a 2 hour flight from Foz do Iguaçu. It was a smooth enough flight and for someone who continues to suffer from a fear of flying, I have to say that two hours does seem a very short flight nowadays. As we neared our destination, I was even brave enough to look out of the window of the plane and was amazed to see the sprawl that is Rio de Janeiro. It is incredibly crowded but then in between all these pockets of development, there are mountains that appear to have grown up through the city, rather than the opposite that is the natural progression of development. I was also surprised to see that for a city which is well known for its beaches, from the air the beaches look just like a yellow line as been drawn around the coast with a board marker. The beaches appear so small compared to the enormity of Rio itself. From the ground this continues to be true. Although the beaches continue to wrap around
the city for miles, they are a very narrow strip, nowhere near the depth that I was expecting. The city really has claimed much of the land with its skyscrapers and extremely expensive looking apartment blocks and hotels.
I am staying in a hostel in Leblon, which is probably the nicest area in this part of Rio. It is also the last beach in the long stretch. I decided to start my afternoon with an exploration mission. Starting at the end of Leblon, where we back onto the rock of Morro Dois Irmãos, I walked and walked and walked. Along the sea front and through the powdery sounds the length of Leblon Beach, crossing the water way into Ipanema beach and then continuing around the corner to Copacabana. Quite a walk but well worth it for the beauty of the day and the scenery. The sky was beautifully blue with a haze that lifted from the water and settled in the air cooling you down nicely. The sea itself was very cold and so powerful. The waves come crashing down with such force that as the sea meets the soft sand, it is full of bubbles and as white
as my porcelain skin! Further out to sea you can see the water is a transparent but inky green and when the waves rise up there are white veins running through them. It is a spectacular sight, especially when you look to the mountains and islands in the distance.
The beaches were all extremely busy, much more so than even Clacton on a Bank Holiday Monday. Although the Brazilians don't seem to mind, with their more compact version of personal space they are more than happy. There are many people here who are here just to be seen or to work on developing their tan, which is a task that they excel at judging by the depths of the bronze glow that can be found on Cariocas young and old. But outnumbering these sun worshippers are the sporty types. Even the policemen that patrol the sands on foot and riding sand buggies wear a uniform of shorts, t-shirts and baseball caps. Unlike British beaches, the sands here are full of volleyball courts, tennis areas and football pitches complete with goalposts. At the entrances to the beaches there are frames designed to help people stretch before exercise, with posters telling
them how to warm their bodies up properly. This love of exercise is everywhere even reaching into the waters themselves where bat and ball games continue to be played while beyond them the surfers make the most of the huge waves. Sat on the beach, you can look around and find the posers sipping on their coconuts, families playing together and surfers riding through a tunnel of water, it really is quite a mixture and quite a sight.
My afternoon of adventuring culminated on the rock of Arpoador, where you can sit and watch the sun go down over the sandy shores. I sat there awhile daydreaming and watching the sky change from blue to lemon to pink before settling on a purple and indigo blend. It was really beautiful and in spite of the corwds all around, very peaceful. It was then that I bumped into a friend that I had met in Iguaçu, yes that is how rock and roll I have become, I am now bumping into friends on the sunny coast of Rio! It was a lucky meeting in the midst of the crowds and we headed to Copacabana to enjoy dinner on the beach,
with the sparkling sky and the powerful street illuminations to light our meal.
What a great start to my few days in Rio, I can only hope that the rest of my short time here lives up to the impressive start. I will let you know how it goes,
speak to you soon,
There are more photos below