I recently spent 3 months in Brazil, first living in Rio de Janeiro for 2 months and then spending another month traveling along the coast. What can I say? I fell in love with everything about Brazil. The music, the food, the weather, the people. . . . For me, everything was perfect. In particular, I developed a strong attachment to living an urban life on the edge of a beautiful beach. Yes, there are other cities in the world on the edge of beaches, but none quite like Rio.
On Sundays I would always head to Ipanema Beach and Arpoador Rock. Ipanema, a beach often characterized as sexy and Arpoador, one of the best metropolitan surf spots in Rio. The road along the beach is a four-lane road, two lanes going in one direction and two going in the other with a sidewalk in between. On Sundays the two lanes closest to the beach are closed to traffic and open to pedestrians, bikers, skaters, men and women in tiny bathing suits, etc. It is easily one of the best places for people watching in the entire city. As the sun would start to set, I would make our way over to Arpoador, a large rock jutting out into the ocean at the end of Ipanema Beach. There is always an array of entertainment going on at the foot of the rock—coco water for sale, acrobats on the beach, musicians playing a little tune, surfers running in and out of the water, bodies seeking attention, bikinis for sale, kissing—lots of kissing, kids excited to conquer the rock, tourists with all sorts of cameras, girls bouncing soccer balls high off of their knees and lifeguards making sure no one got in trouble. The highlight is always finding a comfortable spot to sit and watch the sun go down as the city lights come up, the brightest light being the surfers’ light. The Sunday afternoons I spent on Arpoador, amongst many different types of people all gathered to end the day in a breathtaking location, always brought me comfort and happiness.