Brazilian Michael Bolton

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South America » Brazil
December 25th 2010
Published: September 30th 2017
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The Girl from Ipanema - the girl and the song made the beach famous, and is the stuff of legend. So did any of the girls on the beach today live up to the billing? Well ... no! Though the beach eventually got quite packed in the afternoon, my girl from Ipanema was nowhere to be found - but that's not to say there weren't any beautiful Brazilian women walking around. Perhaps it's because she might be walking around somewhere in Spain!

A bunch of us spent much of the day chilling on the beach, with the odd dip into the water. It's not really a swimming beach as the waves are strong - one time, I got nailed in the stomach as a wave broke, and it felt like somebody had punched me in the gut. It was really only pleasant today for cooling off, because a few minutes of getting bashed by the waves was enough to send you scurrying back to shore. The surfers didn't enjoy the waves either, as they broke too close to shore to be able to surf.

Today was HOT - luckily we sprang for some beach umbrellas, otherwise we would've all
Pasteis ...Pasteis ...Pasteis ...

One was stuffed with shredded chicken and the other was stuffed with cream cheese and sundried tomato. Super filling - inside the pastry, they were basically giant balls of chicken or cheese.
been crispy and toasted. Even with clouds dotting the sky, the UV rays are intense - one of the girls ended up burning herself on the one part of her body that happened to fall outside the shade of the umbrellas. It was a crazy little Christmas Day - lazily sitting on Ipanema beach, girl watching, and drinking out of a coconut. Definitely not a typical Canadian Christmas!

A big concert was planned for Copacabana beach tonight, with expected attendance of 500,000 people (the next day, I heard the number was closer to one million). So who did all the Cariocas (native inhabitants of Rio) turn out in droves to see? Madonna? U2? Lady Gaga? None of the above - Roberto Carlos. Roberto Carlos? Who is he, you might be asking?

When I first heard about this big event down at Copacabana, I thought "Isn't Roberto Carlos a famous Brazilian footballer? Why would anyone go to see him?" Indeed, there is a footballer named Roberto Carlos - turns out he was named after the singer, as his mother was a huge fan. So who exactly is this other Roberto Carlos? Perhaps it was put best by an American girl staying
Avenida Vieira Souto ...Avenida Vieira Souto ...Avenida Vieira Souto ...

On Sundays and holidays like today, the oceanfront avenue is shutdown for bikers and pedestrians.
at Hostel Harmonia - "He looks like the Brazilian Michael Bolton!"

Given that this remark was made as we looked at a picture of him from the 80s, the more appropriate analogy might actually be The Brazilian Neil Diamond, as he's pushing 70 right now. I don't think any of us really wanted to go to the concert to hear the music, but wanted to go just to experience what a beach gathering of 500,000 people would feel like. Given the demographic that his music caters to, I half-expected it to be a crowd of 500,000 old grannies screaming and crying, throwing their Depends up on stage for Roberto Carlos. But shockingly, that wasn't the case ...

Though there were tons of older ladies crying and swaying along with the music, there were many families with young children, and many people in their late teens and early twenties. Even more surprising was the fact that no matter what age, all the locals seemed to know the lyrics and sang along. That was probably the funnest part of the evening - seeing how this aging, past-his-prime artist could bring together so many people and make them happy.

I'm sure it's difficult for
WTF???!?!? ...WTF???!?!? ...WTF???!?!? ...

I've seen these shoes once before ... maybe they're for toning purposes?
any artist, but props to the man for performing nearly two hours. Though he did have a few guest artists and would occasionally disappear back stage for breaks, it's impressive that he was able to entertain for so long. We ended up staying only for maybe 45 minutes of the show, but as we left on Avenida Atlantica there were numerous big screens set up showing the remainder of the performance. We did try and walk around the back of the concert to try and truly comprehend what 500,000 attendees meant, but the streets were so packed that we gave up. Imagine how it'll be during Revillon (what Brazilians call New Year's Eve), when supposedly 2 million people will show up on Copacabana to ring in the New Year. Apparently the main act is a surprise, with the Black Eyed Peas playing a few years ago.

Definitely a different type of Christmas, but a good one - walking along Copacabana beach, and then grabbing some drinks at Rio's ubiquitous beachfront dive bars. That's the interesting thing about Rio ... even though Copacabana and Ipanema are oozing with money, people are more than happy to sit chatting and drinking for hours
Corn, Everywhere You Look ...Corn, Everywhere You Look ...Corn, Everywhere You Look ...

Brazilians love this stuff, they are seemingly vendors on every corner selling it.
on cheap plastic chairs that look like they are from the dollar store. I can't think of a better way to finish off Christmas Day in Rio.

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


Roberto Carlos ... Roberto Carlos ...
Roberto Carlos ...

Is he more like Michael Bolton or Neil Diamond? You decide!
Roberto Carlos, Live and Still Alive ...Roberto Carlos, Live and Still Alive ...
Roberto Carlos, Live and Still Alive ...

This is what one million people on a beach looks like.
The Roberto Carlos Fan Club ...The Roberto Carlos Fan Club ...
The Roberto Carlos Fan Club ...

Left to righ (kind of): Sophie, Richard, Jasmin, Philip, Rianne, Mario, strange dark Spanish/Portuguese-speaking Chinaman.

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