On the second day of our Brazilian adventure my family and I headed out to explore our neighbourhood. My parents have the pleasure and the privilege to be living in Ipanema which is just as beautiful as I thought it would be. The whole place is alive with the millions of people who take the beach pilgrimage very seriously indeed. Everybody wears as little as possible and is beyond tanned. I stick out like a pale sore thumb and burn like a crisp. Factor 50 is obligatory here, sun burn just screams 'I'm a tourist steal my DSLR from me'.
You can easily walk for miles here in Rio. We wanted to walk to the famous Copacabana and see Ipanema from a distance, it's the best way for you to get an idea of the sheer number of people that spend their weekend on the beaches. Most people just spend their time sunbathing on the sand or playing volleyball or footvolley. Swimming in the Atlantic is for the brave souls only, and recommended only if you're wearing a wetsuit because it gets pretty cold
The best way to avoid certain dehydration is by taking advantage of the ridiculously cheap and yummy coconuts which are sold every 5 meters at the beach stands. A coconut costs 5 Brazillian Real which is £1.20 ($1.80), coconut water in the UK costs triple that and doesn't compare in the slightest. The stall vendor hacks away at the coconut chopping the bottom flat so you can put the coconut down without it spilling. Seeing them slashing away with a machete is a little worrying in case they loose a finger but these guys are pros. I could drink this stuff all day, it's so fresh and if you're enterprising and want to get your money's worth, break the coconut apart and eat the inside. Exactly what you need in the heat.
We ended up heading towards Copacabana but my poor little European body couldn't handle the 30 degree temperature difference so we headed inside for lunch. To my younger brother's great delight we went to a typical Brazilian 'kilo restaurant'. Basically it's a buffet where you can put as much on your plate, you take it to be weighed and pay by weight. We went to a place called Frontera but there is plenty of choice. It's not for the faint hearted and these places certainly explain why thankfully not everybody has a Giselle Bündchen body.
We've been sight seeing every day so expect some more exciting posts coming up!