Destination Rio de Janeiro, the first travel to the former capital of Brazil.
About the statue of Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade at Copacabana, and a walk through the ‘Garota de Ipanema’ park.
We had enjoyed the first moments on Copacabana Beach. We decided to walk further. We left the beach, and continued our journey along the broad boulevard, parallel to Avenida Atlântica. We passed numerous kiosks; many hawkers along the beach boulevard tried to sell their ware to passers-by. Sunglasses, cangas, henna tattoos, T-shirts. On the left there was a bench. An older person was sitting on it. Sitting in a position that I do not often meet in Brazil: the legs not crossed, what is most common for Brazilian men, but one leg over the other. An example of macho Brazil. But also women sometimes may sit with crossed legs, when they wear shorts or pants. When they wear a skirt, they have their legs elegantly crossed, the feet slid under the body. This old man with the legs over each other therefore attracted the attention of the passers-by.
The man did not move. When we approached him, we discovered that it was a statue. The statue of Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade. A Mineiro, born in Itabira. A famous quote of Drummond was engraved on the bench:
“No mar estava escrita uma cidade”.
Loosely translated as: “The city was named in the sea”.
Ricardo, who walked with us, is an avid Drummond fan, and he did not resist sitting next to the immortalized Drummond. He acted like having a serious conversation with the famous poet. His act caught attention of passers-by, who were amazed that he only was performing a monologue at the bronze statue….
For 2 reais it is allowed to take a picture of it….
Street vendors are trying to receive money from apparently rich (foreign) tourist, in various ways. Suddenly, vendors appear to be able to speak and write some English, since some cardboards show their messages in both Portuguese and English. And what is more important the amount of money they are asking for their ware. They are then very able to count in English. For a moment, I was thinking to be back in The Netherlands, in Scheveningen. During spring and early summer, I have seen many sand sculptures on the beaches there. I’ve often wondered how they manage to create stable sand sculptures, which can resist storms, rain and the unavoidable touches by the hands of tourists. Their secret is based upon the composition of the sand mixture, which provides certain stability to the sculpture. Back in Copacabana, and later also in Ipanema. Sand sculptures are also found here. They spend a lot of time to finish their creation, as is written on the accompanying cardboard. They hope that their creation may withstand erosion for about one year, and to receive money from the tourists. When they are not busy (apparently) refining their sculpture, they are sitting on beach chairs, closely watching the tourists. They praise the paying tourists, and curse those who do not pay when they take a picture of the creation. They may even run after these non-paying tourists. That happened to me once. I had overlooked that stupid cardboard and quickly took a picture when passing by. The owner of that sand heap launched himself from the beach chair and started to curse and to demand money from me: no less than two reais for the photo. His creation was not the best that I had seen on the beach that day, far from the best to be honest. I tried to ignore him as if I did not understand him. He tried to catch up with me for another two hundred meters before he gave up his attempt to get money from me. Poor guy. But I could also request money from him, much more money. Because I am able to post his art in a blog, and show it to a large audience. He may try to do the same by putting sand grains through the optic internet fiber.
The ‘forbidden’ picture.
The (re)action of cursing castle builder aroused great hilarity among the group. They considered it as entertainment. And I had my picture. Later that day, I made more pictures of creative sand heaps, at a safe distance, to zoom in at a later time. Because it is not mentioned on their cardboard from what distance you should pay, when taking a picture. You cannot ask for money when a tourist takes a picture of his friends, at a distance of thirty meters, and with the sand heap as the background. Creativity of the poor student, I should say… We were approaching the end of Copacabana. The Copacabana Fortress, now a museum, marks the end. Opposite the beach, there is an expensive hotel complex situated in an equally expensive-looking shopping center. At a later time, I entered this shopping center, and I felt quite uncomfortable there, when wearing a sleeveless shirt, shorts, and flip flops. I consider this shopping as one of the most luxurious that I have seen. A pianist was playing his routine music; he was announced as ‘live music while you dine’. The menu listed quite a number of French-sounding dishes; the prices were not that different from the prices that are common in European restaurants. This shopping is apparently designed for rich foreign tourists. We continued our walk along Rua Francisco Otaviano. A busy street, which connects the Avenida Atlântica with Avenida Vieira Souto, the avenue parallel to Ipanema Beach. We had to be careful not to be hit by inexperienced cyclists.
Igreja da Ressurreição
Garota de Ipanema
A small church was located on the left. Igreja da Ressurreicão. For me it was striking that the church itself was shielded by glass walls. A degree of openness that I have not previously observed. There was a Mass going on, the church was crowded. A corridor was located parallel to this church. I entered the corridor and observed a group of statues. Statues of angels. Chickens were roaming around these statues. A weird combination, I must admit.
Less than fifty meters further, we entered a park: The Girl from Ipanema. This park gives access to Arpoador Beach and neighboring Ipanema Beach. The park is not that unique, with some lawns and a gazebo. The walls were sprayed with graffiti art. Here I did not observe any cardboard telling that you need to pay when taking a picture. There was an image of cats outwitting a fish. Another graffiti showed Garota da Ipanema, the girl from Ipanema. Rather, a successful parody. An enormous chubby and fat lady. The accompanying text informed us that she was quite heavy, weighing 900 pounds! She merely looked like a sperm whale, though a whale has a tighter skin. We left the park and entered the boulevard flanking the famous beaches: Arpoador, Ipanema, Leblon. The view was more than worth it!
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom © 2007, 2015