The first couple of days here in Rio de Janeiro have been terrific.   I’ve been spending a good chunk of the day on Ipanema Beach, which is located directly across from the hotel.   It’s regarded as one of the greatest beaches in the world.  It’s quite a scene – so much going on all the time.

First, of course, are the famous swimsuits that people talk about it.  But, what many people don’t realize is that nearly all the ladies – from all ages to all sizes – wears these two piece outfits, which includes the thong.  And, a majority of the guys wear these short trunks, including some that are speedo’s.  And, again, it’s people of all ages and sizes.  Of course, I stick out since I’m wearing knee-length swim trunks I got in Hawaii about 5 years ago.   I’m sticking w/ my hapa-haole look.   LOL.

There are vendors everywhere – hawking so many different products!    These include food, drinks, sun tan lotion, temporary tattoo’s (yes I got conned into one), balloons, beach balls, corn on the cob, frozen ice and much more.  

The top three activities are volleyball, soccer and paddle ball.  But, most of the volleyball games are ones where they don’t use their hands – instead they hit the ball with their head, feet, chest, shoulders, knees, etc.  It’s an incredible display of athleticism.  The soccer is a given in this futbol-mad country.   They form small a circle and constantly kick and head the ball to one another.   The third sport is paddle ball, which they whack hard at one another – even in the strong winds.    

One last item of note – the winds have been strong so they’ve posted danger signs about swimming in the ocean.  But, not everyone seems to listen.   A couple of guys got pushed out to sea.  And, I witnessed a dramatic helicopter rescue.  The chopper came whipping down low and a couple of stud life-guards jumped into the water – they put one guy in a basket, which was whisked up the chopper and dropped off on the beach – and they pulled the other guy onto a floating device and brought him to the sand.    It was a real life “Baywatch at Ipanema!”