Day 2, 14.00
Arpoador Beach is located at the left side from the exit of the Garota de Ipanema Park. There was a rock, were some tourists were wandering around. We followed their example, and climbed over the sometimes uncomfortable stones. No problem for me as a born Capricorn, a Chinese Goat. I felt at home on these rocks; deftly I placed my shod hooves on the stones, and climbed into a fluid motion on the rocks. I bleated at the laggards that they had to hurry; the climb was really not as difficult as it seemed. A few minutes later, the fish, crabs, and water men arrived at the top, too. We all enjoyed the unique view. We overlooked the deep blue of the endless Atlantic Ocean, with a horizon that was only interrupted by rocks near the coast. Transport ships and small boats could be distinguished on the far background. These ships still had to travel many miles before they would arrive in the harbor of Rio. Numerous birds circled over our heads. Black prey birds and giant gulls that made clever use of the available thermals in the upper atmosphere. They kept their wings in the rest position, like a glider. They only flapped the wings to accelerate or to change from direction. It was a fascinating sight, the inspirers of the aircraft in free flight.
Praia do Diabo
I could not resist taking numerous pictures of the breathtaking views. Views of the ocean, but also from the beaches at either side of the rocks. At our right was a deserted beach, which was flanked by the rock were we were standing on, and by the Fortress of Copacabana Praia do Diabo, the Devil’s Beach. From this rock Copacabana Beach, which begins behind the Fort, was invisible for us. Between the Devil’s Beach and the Arpoador Beach, which gradually blends into the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, a narrow strip was paved. Right behind this pavement, there was an open space with fitness equipment. Few fanatics were doing their exercises, especially on the horizontal bars. Only a few prefer to perform exercises instead of an apparently lazy beach life. At the corner of Arpoador Beach, near the exit of Garota de Ipanema Post, there was a post of the military police. The information on the billboards was also written in English. For me it was a big question of whether these police officers are also fluent in English; if they are able to understand, let alone to speak. I have not checked that.
We wandered around on this rock for a while; I took my opportunity to get more shots. More than enough inspiration. Left from the rock appeared the beaches of Arpoador, Ipanema and Lebon, respectively. At the end of these beaches, two large, pointed rocks loomed from the sea. According to the map, the famous as well as notorious favela (slum) Rocinha is located behind these hills. It was very quiet on the beach, it was almost deserted. The holiday season had not yet begun; the traditional peak is around Carnival. One of my dreams had come true: visiting the most famous beaches of Brazil. It was time for us to lie down on the sandy beach of Ipanema. Our group had marked a meeting with another group near Posto 9. Posto 9 was at the other end of Ipanema, a few kilometers away. We walked partly over the sand, partly on the pavement of the boulevard. The boulevard was occupied by a number of vendors, who tried to sell cangas (beach towels), beer and soft drinks, and handicrafts. Fortunately, there was more than enough space on this wide boulevard for all of us. Enough space for them, and enough for us to have five walking in parallel.
The sun shone brightly and gave our skins a warm feeling. What a pleasant relief after weeks of relatively cold weather, dark clouds, and numerous downpours in Belo Horizonte! If we had to believe the weather forecast that week, Belo Horizonte would suffer more downpours, more dark clouds, at a temperature that is lower than average. Not 27 to 30 degrees, but 23 to 26 degrees only. A noticeable difference. I am quite sure that I am gaining laughing readers get on my hand, but believe me, after two years in the tropics time even I feel the difference. For me, a temperature below 25 degrees Celsius is already quite cold for me, and a night temperature below 20 degrees makes me decide to use a light blanket. Twenty degrees in the night: puffing and sweating in The Netherlands, in the isolated houses. The insulation makes the difference. Those who do not believe this, should come to Brazil, and have to lie down in a house that is not isolated. You will feel a light breeze over your body. Initially you will love it, until your body temperature has dropped thanks to prolonged exposure and inactivity. I bet that you will beg for a blanket!
We finally arrived at Posto 9. A rainbow flag was planted on the beach. The flag as a symbol of gays and lesbians. Indeed, a large group of men were grouped together and had fun, as it appeared to us. They drank, talked, laughed, hugged, and kissed. Some members of our group felt uncomfortable. My years in The Netherlands made me tolerant to gays, so I was not shocked to observe gays. But for sure, I really restrict myself to relationships with women. We did not see the other group; maybe they had changed their minds and thus the plans. We were a bit tired because of the walk, and we sat down on the beach. At a respectable distance from the group of men. One of us had noticed a masseur. The others looked to the direction he was indicating. And indeed, a male masseur was busy to comfort his client as much as possible. This form of massage is totally different from my profession as sports masseur. I could start to work was a masseur on a beach, but I would restrict myself to the techniques of a sports masseur. In fact is not a bad combination, to work as a sports masseur on the beach. Every day on the beach, to enjoy beach life, to work with beach goers. Something to think about.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom © 2007, 2015