Beaches and Art – Our last Morning in Rio.

Oh, you’re still here? Great, in case you were worried that we just stayed in Brazil after the last post, we didn’t. Though another week or two would have been a very welcome alternative to returning to work. Our last day in Rio was a quick one, but fruitful nonetheless. We had a 4:30 pm flight from Rio to Sao Paulo where we would catch the overnight direct flight home. This left us with about half a day to spend in Rio.

Kiosk bar on Ipanema Beach
Kiosk bar on Ipanema Beach.

Our plan was simple: stroll along the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema while I hummed The Girl From Ipanema over and over again…ok, the last part wasn’t really a plan as much as something I couldn’t help from doing. (Odd sidebar, why does the spell check on my computer know how to spell “Copacabana”, but not “Ipanema”? It certainly isn’t because Barry Manilow singing  Copacabana is better than Stan Getz & João Gilberto singing The Girl From Ipanema. We’ll leave my rendition out of it.

Copacabana is actually the name of one of Rio’s neighbourhoods, not just the beach. It’s the beach that makes it famous, and for good reason. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the beach also explains why there are 63 hotels and 10 hostels in Copacabana. Yes, I counted. The fact that you can find this information on wikipedia is purely coincidental.

We had a quick breakfast at a cafe along the beach and it looked like our luck with the weather, or lack thereof, was going to continue with overcast skies. It was nice and warm though and as we walked along, some Cariocas were already out on the beach playing volleyball and futevolei (foot-volley). Foot Volley is exactly what it sounds like and it looks impossibly difficult. I’m pretty sure it’s not a game you take up as a 30-something gangly white kid from North America, so we settled for watching from the sidelines.

Footvolley on Copacabana beach

As we were walking along a crazy thing happened, the sun came out. It was like a switch because seemingly at the same time, the population of the beach exploded and suddenly it was more like I expected. Some stereotypes that were confirmed, not all pleasantly so:

  • Portable bikini sales stands
  • Women in tiny bikinis
  • Men in equally tiny banana hammocks
  • Bikes with surfboard holsters. Ok that’s not a stereotype, but they were pretty cool.
surfboard with bike holster
Now that's commuting

Copacabana was nice, but Ipanema was even better. It’s hard to say why, but we agreed that if we were suddenly millionaires with money for an extra home in Rio, it would be in Ipanema.

Ipanema Beach

We also stopped by the “hippie fair” in Ipanema. What differentiates this market from every other arts and crafts market you find in cities all over the world? You’d think hippies, but you’d be wrong. As far as I could tell, it was three things:

One, this guy:

Two, you can buy stuff from a fake Carmen Miranda

And three, the art was amazingly affordable. After going back and forth on a couple of things, we decided on this painting.

We went for the top left one.

While we were excited about getting the painting, it also marked the end of our trip. So, with painting in tow, we headed back to the hotel and got a ride to the airport with Rio’s only English taxi driver, or so he said, and started the long trip home.

Time to go home and plan the next trip. In the meantime, check out the gallery.

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