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TWO GIRLS IN IPANEMA ON NEW YEAR'S EVE
By Melinda Kalac
Copacabana beach in Rio De Janiero has to be one of the most popular
places in the world to celebrate New Year┬┤s Eve, and for me and my
friend Danielle it was a dream come true. As we watched the sunset
after our first day in Rio, admiring all the holiday makers pass us by, I
tried to imagine what Antonio Carlos Jobim was thinking when he wrote
`A Girl From Ipanema┬┤ in 1962.
Rio must have been spectacular back
then, when all the retro inspired hotels were sparkling and the black
and white mosaic footpaths were new. Even though they are slightly
rundown now, other things never change, like the skimpy bikini, muscley
men, volley ball on the beach, caipirinha cocktails, the steep hills and
the constant rolling waves of the Atlantic ocean.
My New Year┬┤s Eve
began the night before in Lapa, a bohemian area of Rio, a little
dangerous by day, but also well known for its nightlife. Still on
Buenos Aires time we arrived by taxi at midnight, which gave us only an
hour to walk the alley ways and order cocktails from the street stalls,
as most of the licensed bars playing live samba were about to close.
The atmosphere was a hot sizzling street party with the locals in
holiday mode and preparing for the new year. As for Danielle and I, we
headed to Rio Scenarium `one of the world┬┤s top 10 nightclubs┬┤,
according to Bernardo from our hostel.
It was a classy looking venue, with plenty of
artwork on the walls, live music and djs on several levels, with no
dress code as the fashion here is very casual. As one would expect on
your first evening in Brazil, it was a late night, so we spent most of
New Year┬┤s Eve recovering on the beach drinking acai, a frozen berry
drink filled with plenty of goodness.
Relaxing on Ipanema beach was
hard, with people selling beers, sarongs, food and sunscreen. I also
discovered that Brazilians love to talk and with an extra 2 million in
town it was hard to keep them quiet. For some solitude the best place
for me was in the ocean, enjoying the breath-taking views of steep
hillsides that Rio is so famous for. I enjoyed my last swim for 2010,
letting go of the past year in the salty sea, ready to contemplate the
new year ahead, Brazilian style.
Like the locals, we wore white and
made an offering of flowers to the sea just before the sunset. Then we
followed the crowd, walking towards Copacabana beach where there were 4
stages along 4 kilometres of beach front. Avenida Atlantica was closed,
all the hotel rooms and rooftops were lit and the local traders made
enough money to last them a year.
Moving from one stage to the other
took over half an hour, and it was especially busy at Copacabana Palace,
where many of the countryÔÇÖs high profile people were celebrating. It
was evident, at this main stage, that the country was ecstatic about
winning the World Cup and the Olympic Game bids.
Throughout the night,
there was plenty of music for every age group to enjoy. I managed to
see some local well known artists and bands including Sandra de S├í, Fino
Collectivo, Cord├ío do Bola Preta and Zeco Pagodinho. But there were
many more artists I missed, including the samba dance performance.
Admittedly, a lot of my night was spent walking between stages, talking
to the locals on the street, dancing to Brazilian drum and bass on the
beach and capturing the atmosphere for my photo album.
the rain held off for most of the night, which was particularly rare at
this time of the year, and this was perfect at midnight, when the
fireworks began. The entire sky exploded in colourful light for over 20
minutes, as we watched with an uninterrupted view, right in the middle
of the action. Perhaps the only other better position would be on a
hotel rooftop or one of the many ocean cruise liners out at sea.|
many families went home after the fireworks, most people stayed to
enjoy the rest of the entertainment and dance the night away. This will
certainly be the biggest New Year┬┤s Eve party I have ever experienced
and I can only now imagine what a crazy time Carnaval must be, where the
whole country stops for 7 days. I┬┤ll have to come back and
visit another time to enjoy that party. For now, I will continue
traveling for 2 more weeks, as I learn more about the Brazilian way of
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Useful links to get ready for Brazil !!