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Across the Equator

South American Adventures

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Copacabana Beach
losmorris
Well, the honeymoon effect of living in Rio has not worn off yet. It’s been one month since we arrived and I still am so pleased to wake to the sight of the Lagoa, palm trees, Corcovado and sunshine. Granted, it does rain and clouds do appear most every day. But it is the rare day – in my vast experience of one month – that the sun does not come out at some point and kiss this beautiful place. Yes, I am gushing a bit, but it is a really cool place.

Routines are starting to be established to some extent. Among those are my walks on the beach so today I want to share some of the sights and observations about the beach, or rather beaches. We are a few blocks from Ipanema beach and around the point is Copacabana beach. The latter has the biggest hotel selection so the beach is more active and tourist ready. So let’s start there.

Need lodging? The classic selection would be the famous Copacabana Palace hotel where the beautiful and rich stay.



It is lovely in the old world style of class and, if you have $500 a night to spend, I have no doubt that the rooms are lovely. Dining options range from sidewalk cafes across the road from the beach to our favorites, the beach side kiosks. These range from the humble stands selling beer and coconut water (worth it just to see the guy cut the coconut tops with a machete)



to the slightly classier and newer editions carrying food options ranging from McDonalds to crepes to some pretty good mid Eastern dishes and European dining.



What would a beach be without sand castles? In Copacabana this form of art is taken to a higher form. This gentleman is reminding me that his efforts should not go unrewarded – tips are expected in exchange for photos. (I did leave a tip)

But sand can be shaped into all sorts of forms and the human body offers many models for the sand artists.

Since we were last here in Rio 5 years ago, Copacabana has added technology to the beach offerings. This meter tracks the obvious (time and temperature) as well as providing guidance on the level of sunblock recommended for both light skinned and darker skinned visitors (30 and 15 respectively on this day). Sadly, it also monitors the environmental safety of the water – is it clean enough to swim today?

The water is apparently cleaner the farther one gets from the downtown area and I have spoken to Brazilians who will not go in the water in Copacabana but will swim beyond the Arpoador point in Ipanema. On the environmental front, there is my personal favorite tracking devise -the “Lixometro” (lixo being Portuguese for trash).

Rio is very focused on keeping the beach and city clean and uses this to raise public consciousness. This tracks the amount of trash picked up by the city cleaning crew and the goal is to see the number continually decrease as visitors take responsibility for picking up their own trash.

But enough about trash and dirty water – back to the cool, pretty stuff. The beach itself is pretty fantastic in Copacabana,



with the fort in the background



The beach is used for cultural, sporting and other leisure events as well as the expected sunbathing and volleyball. The latter sport is a treat to watch here. The Brazilians have developed (or at least I am attributing the invention to them) of volei-futebol which is volleyball played without hands. As in soccer, no hands are allowed and the athleticism displayed by many of the players is pretty incredible. On the cultural front we were treated to a musical event last Saturday put on by the symphony on the beach. The city spent a week or so constructing a stage on the beach and we enjoyed the music of Bach, Puccini, Mozart, Beethoven and others under a full moon with the sound of waves crashing in the background.



I love this place!

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