Saturday, December 31, 2005

Pre-fireworks: Electricity in the Air

Getting ready to head out to the beach, we first make a stop at the New Year's Eve (NYE) disco party (hence the colored lights) atop the Excelsior hotel. Notice everyone is dressed in the traditional NYE white. The main attraction early in the evening was the view, which is what everyone is looking at.

View from the roof top of our hotel. Cruise ships lined up just offshore for a good view of the NYE fireworks, and the people celebrating on the beach. If you look closely, you can see the long slender explosive-carrying barges BETWEEN the cruise ships and shoreline. That's how close the fireworks were to the beach. Talk about feeling the impact.

Early in the evening, a crowd has gathered along Avenue Atlantica, which runs the length of the beach and has been completely closed to traffic for the evening (right side of photo). They are patronizing the many food and drinks booths temporarily set up on the street. There are white tents set up all over the beach, on the left, place holders for the crowd to come.

View toward Leme, at the north end of Copacabana beach. Avenue Atlantica is quite crowded up this way.

Last view from the Excelsior roof top. There is now a HUGE crowd gathered down below. There are usually around 2 million people here on Copacabana beach for New Year's Eve. On the right are people walking up one side of Avenue Atlantica, moving left there is the median, then another stream of people on the other side of Atlantica. The very thick crowd on the upper far left is the crowd on the beach. The green lighted area towards the top right of the pic is one of the bandstands set up for tonight's celebration.

Here is a closer pic of the green lighted area in the previous shot. It is a huge bandstand set up for one of the many bands playing for the crowd on the beach. The bandstand is on the left, a big screen on the right for the people farther back on the beach. The whole crowd was moving to the beat.

Everyone buys white flowers to toss into the ocean on NYE, an offering to the goddess Lemanja, in the hopes that she will make their wish for the coming year come true.

Along the closed Avenue Atlantica, you can buy anything you would want for the evening: celebratory "Feliz Ano Novo" shirts, grilled cheese on a stick, tapioca creeps, and of course, alcohol, in every shape and form. Lots of Skol (the ubiquitous beer brand here), caipirinhas, and flavored blended drinks, as sold at this stand here. Check out the decorations. This is a TEMPORARY stand, just put up for the night, in the middle of the street.
Crowd gathering on the beach, eagerly awaiting the fireworks show, and the beginning of the New Year. You can see a bit of rain on the camera lens. It sprinkled a bit, but no one seemed to mind because it was so warm.

Front row seat, let the fireworks begin!

New Year's Eve preparation

These locals got a jump on the 2006 Reveillon celebration by performing the ceremony on a less crowded beach Thursday night. I felt lucky to get this glimpse into their long held tradition. There are small blue or white boats that carry offerings to the goddess of the sea. See more on this ceremony farther down this post.
The barges for the midnight fireworks being pulled into place while I am on my morning (noon) run. They are close to shore!
The Cariocas set up camp early on the beach, preparing for the huge Feliz Anos Novo celebration. It was noon when this pic was taken. The early ones get the shade near the road of which there is not much of at all. They set up tents and bring big coolers filled with lots of Skol and other beers, and snacks and sandwich fixin's. Well-prepared for the long day ahead.
Here are the chin-up bars that I go to every other day to work my back. Today there were all these Cariocas watching, and I almost chickened out. It was a choice between being fit and embarrassed or fat and in my comfort zone.
After a short pep talk to myself, I went ahead and did them. This Brasiliero is celebrating the New Year by sporting a creatively styled chest hair trim. Bravo!

Everyone celebrates in their own way. Not all of the Brazilians wear white for Feliz Ano Novo. I saw these two, not from Rio, but from somewhere in Brazil, in front of the grocery store when I went to pick up champagne. These are the first and only goths I have seen in Rio. Vive le difference!
The Cariocas (Brazilians) perform their Ano Novo (New Year) ritual of offering food, champagne, and mainly, white flowers to the goddess of the sea Lemanja, in the hopes of having their prayers answered. Some have done this on Thursday night, and others Friday (last night) night, in an attempt to have a more solemn, less crowded ceremony. They put the offerings in small boats and send them out to sea.
Flowers from the carioca's ritual last night. When they come back in, I think you do not get your wish, because Lemanja has not accepted them.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Beach Fashion

Here is a gringo on Copacabana beach. Note the extensive fabric in her swimsuit bottoms. This is known as "full coverage". This is a faux pas in Rio. Locals wear something entirely different here, to cover their entirely different anatomy.
You may have heard of the Brazilian bikini. Here are a few pictures to illustrate the style. They are uniquely designed to highlight the gluteal area. Because it is the fashion here, almost all the women on the beach wear them.

Most of the Brazilian women who wear these look great in them, butt not all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Corcovado views - SWEET!

Ipanema beach, with Leblon beach just to the right at the end and out of sight. You can se the lagoa (lake in the foreground. Spot the floating Christmas tree in middle of it, the biggest floating tree in the world. Much better at night when lighted. There is a running path around the lake that is 7km.

You can just see Copaabana on the ocean between the hils.

Botofogo and Urca, with with Pao de Acucar in the back ground, rising to a rounded point.

Rio Centro in middle of pictures. You can see the high rises if you click on pic to enlarge.

Christo Redentor on Corcovado

Most people now take the new escalators from the end Trem station to the the base of the statue, but the brave ones take the stairs.

Here is one of the brave ones. Look at the beautiful dense forrest on the back side of Corcovado.
There are several gift shops, a snack shop and a restaurant on the way up. Sitting out on the terrace at the restaurant (yellow umbrellas in background) with a caipirinha and looking out over all of Rio is one of the best things in the world to do.

Here we are with a few of our closest friends. Everyone wants their picture taken on these steps.

Extreme close-up!

A hanglider buzzed us, gliding by silently, catching updrafts that eventually took him higher than us. Crazy fool! It looked very scary from here, but I still want to try it.

Tram ride - front row seat

We rode the bus, very cheap and bumpy transportation, to the Trem station. The Trem station was definitely decorated for Christmas. At the station you can have a car driver take you to the top and, in fact, we were besieged by them. However, you should not miss the slow crawl up (and later down) the very steep, densely forested mountain. It takes about 30 minutes. Well worth the ride.
Only one track for both up and down trains. This was THE passing spot.

Downhill ride, weeeeeeee! We worked hard to get the front seat so we could get these pictures, otherwise, you have a view out the side window.

Paineiras Train Station on the Trem line.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Feliz Natal from Rio

Beautiful, artistic Christmas tree at the Leme turnaround.

It was a rainy but beautiful Christmas day. As proof the sun setting on Copa, as seen from the farthest point, where the beach is called Leme. A beautiful evening.

Christmas Dinner at Marius

The entrance to Marius, a seafood/churrascaria restaurant that we spotted from the bike path on Atlantico. It definitely stood out from the others.

Our view was so beautiful, looking out toward the verdant outdoor dining area in the front of the restaurant. The surrounding fence was created by fronds and flowers. A beautiful spot to dine when it is not raining.

Antiques indoors, including a sewing machine.
Very amazing interior. Lots to look at.
Brazilians think of everything, even fake snow on the floor.

More Christmas pics

Feliz Natal (Merry Christmas) from Rio.

Beauiful christmas tree. This was a piece of art! The photo does not do justice to the bright colors and design.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Scenes from Ipanema

Ipanema advertising its version of NYE Reveillon - a dance party on the beach.

Canal with tidal locks that runs from the Lagoa (lake) to th ocean. Flood protection?

Dog statue in large Ipanema dog park. Lots of dogs there, but none would pose near the statue. Christo Redemptor Statue from Ipanema shopping area.