Destination Rio de Janeiro, second travel to the former capital of Brazil.
Mysterious smoke circles over Itacoatiara Beach
We finally had reached the small Itacoatiara Beach. IT was already one-thirty. Information signs told us that this beach is highly protected, when considering nature protection. The nature park next to the beach had a sign with stricter rules. Visitors shouldn’t hunt or run after wild animals, pick flowers or plants, make open fires. The tiny beach was not visible from the road, but it was protected by a long, green screen of shrubs. Small openings in the shrubs allowed us glimpses on the beach. This beach was flanked by high hills, whose bases ended in the water. These hills were almost bare at seaside, except for some green spots. More landward, these hills were grown by plants and trees.
The sun shone exuberantly. Because of the reflection of the warm sun rays, the sand appeared whiter. We descended an improvised stone stairs. It gave us a real good feeling to have our bare feet on the soft sand, after having spent two hours in the bus. Numerous pale red umbrellas were placed in neat rows, parallel to the shoreline. Many beach goers sat under these umbrellas: teenagers, entire families. The umbrellas bore trademarks of sponsors: Itaipava, a beer brand that is very popular in Rio. At that time, I hadn’t noticed this brand in Minas Gerais. According to the beer experts, this brand is not really tasteful, but because of its low price it had gained popularity. Beer cans of Itaipava were covered with aluminum foil: the drinker only needs to remove this cover before opening the can. In this way, the beer can was kept clean.
The sky was blue, except for some low clouds at the horizon. At large distance, some groups of clouds floated over the ocean. Suddenly, my eye caught something weird in the sky. And I was not the only one who fixed my attention to the sky. More people stared in the sky and gesticulated excitedly to each other and towards the sky. There was a giant white ring, which was in sharp contrast with the blue sky. This was neither a smoke circle of an experienced smoker, nor a smoke signal. I was asking myself what it could be. I heard people mumbling the same big question: “What was this?” The answer appeared quickly. Next to the giant white circle, a long white ribbon appeared. A cloud ribbon.
Not much later, more signs appeared in the sky. A semicircle on top of another semicircle. And another long cloud ribbon. What meaning should they have? Were they letters? Numbers? In Arabic? Or in Chinese? I didn’t have to think for a long time. The symbols were upside down. A zero or a ‘O‘. A one or an ‘i’. Following this logic, the two semicircles must represent a ‘3’. Followed by an ‘1’. Now it was clear to me. The first two symbols were noting else than the name of a Brazilian telecommunication company: ‘Oi’ . This company is also the provider of my mobile phone. The ‘31’ is the number that you need to digit to make a call or send a SMS through this company. According to the size of the text, and the fact that it was written upside down, it meant that people in Niterói and even in Rio must have read it clearly, in the correct way. This advertisement had effect: it drew attention of many people on Itacoatiara Beach.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (42). Bus Travel Through Niterói (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- A Foreigner in Brazil (38): DEC 2006 (IV). Rio de Janeiro and Niterói: Beaches, Gardens and Rocks (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (39). Sunset At Ipanema Beach (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- A Foreigner in Brazil (35): DEC 2006, part one. Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- COLORFUL BRAZIL: Apartment Block, Rio de Janeiro (RJ) (adrianoantoine.wordpress.com)