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Monday, October 24, 2011

RIO: THE HAPPIEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY IN THE WORLD

The residents call this the Wonderful City.  Indeed, a case can be made that Rio de Janeiro is the happiest and most beautiful city in the world.  The natural beauty, beaches, buildings, churches, greenery and vibrancy might well be unmatched.  Should you want to experience at maximum intensity, the next Rio Carnival begins on 18February2012, and they party all night for several nights;


There is that matter, though, of safety and security, for our guide told us he wouldn't recommend anyone walking around downtown, even at noon...unless you want to encounter a pickpocket.  The beaches themselves appear to be okay in daylight.

Let me start with the Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, the most fascinating Catholic church I've ever seen.  From the road it merely looks large, but you'd never guess this was a church:


Inside, wow:


The architect is Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer, who also designed Brasilia and the United Nations building in New York City.  At the age of 103, he is still active.  At one point about half a century ago, he was selected to become the dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Design, but because he was president of the Communist Party in Brazil, was denied a visa.  What a life!

Next, we must move on to the city symbol, Christ the Redeemer:



I'll explain later, but I had a personal ceremony next to this statue:


Right close by were two yellow flowers:


The view from this site is startling, looking towards Ipanema Beach:


We then were taken through downtown, and I decided to walk from Ipanema Beach (can you believe that the Girl from Ipanema was just about half a century ago?):


Sorry, this was a narrow spot, but the Quicksilver Brazilian Open Surfing competition was just occurring.  Then on to Copacabana Beach (both are around 2.5 miles long, and I would guess that Ipanema has 100 times more sand than Waikiki Beach--but China Beach or Danang in Vietnam is 20 miles long and, well...)...


...where I had french fries and a Brazilian beer.  I have a gigantic dinner tonight, and I figured that anything french fried would kill all the germs.  Unfortunately, at most of these beachside bars there is an overpowering odor of urine.  My hotel is about a mile up the beach.

The group was bused to Urca and Sugarloaf, two spectacular view sites.  This is Sugarloaf:


from which you can get a hazy view of Copacabana Beach:



and Ipanema Beach:



However, the highlight vision from the top of Sugarloaf was this sunset scene with the Christ Our Redeemer statue a tiny blip to the extreme left;


Tomorrow, dining, drinking and dancing in Rio.

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Hurricane Rina just appeared and is already at 105 MPH.  Strengthening into a Category 3 is expected before skirting Cancun, then on to Florida.



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2 comments:

Super Earth said...

Now, if you have some proof of the super earth influence (beyond simply saying "it is a fact" or "it did this"), I am sure everyone here (including you) would love to see it. If the proof is strong enough, we will be among the most vocal super earth proponents. (Not that I would hold my breath that we will be making a Super Earth is real banner anytime soon!)

PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY said...

Super Earth? Can you be a bit more specific?