Feliz Ano Novo!

January 1, 2010 - 3:29 pm 1 Comment

As the last light of 2009 faded on Ipanema Beach, Gog and I braced ourselves for another walk to Copacabana. Everyone says that we’re likely to get mugged or pickpocketed there, so we’ve stripped down the bare essentials: white shirts, a bit of cash, and Gog’s small camera.

Ipanema Beach at Night

The rain finally stopped, and the crowd at the beach was starting to thicken. Gog and I sipped on coconuts and walked around a bit.

Me and Doug on Copacabana Beach

Copacabana Beach is about four times larger than the beach in Thailand where we celebrated New Year’s last year. And there were definitely more people here. More families and old people and kids, and police were everywhere. The only thing there weren’t enough of were portable toilets. It didn’t take long for guys to start peeing onto the BACKS of the portable toilets and into the ocean.

As it got darker, the bands got louder, the DJs cranked it up, and lasers lit up the crowd. But at midnight, the bands stopped playing, and right in front of us, the biggest fireworks show I have ever seen lit up the sky. Gog even got some video.

People all around us started singing songs in Portuguese, and champagne sprayed everywhere.

After the show ended, I jumped my seven waves and made my wish. Won’t tell you what it is, but I will tell you that I’ve never made this wish before.

People slowly began to disperse, leaving behind a beach littered with trampled flowers, beer cans, and empty champagne bottles. One by one, the drink stands started to run out of beer. While waiting in line, a fat and friendly Brazilian girl struck up a conversation with us. Her English was pretty good, good enough to explain that it is a Brazilian tradition to kiss a girl for New Year’s. She asked us if we’d kissed a girl yet, and I said no, so she kissed us both. I was first.

We walked by Help, the local nightclub famous for its hookers. I was tempted to go inside, but they had a R$70 cover charge for New Year’s. Presumably, sex would cost more on top of that, so I decided it was a bit out of my range.

Help Discoteca

Surrounded by police and tourists all night, Gog and I felt reasonably safe. No sketchy characters, and we didn’t witness any muggings or thefts. People were comfortably walking around with big-ass cameras and videocameras. I’m beginning to think that the reputation that Rio has for being dangerous is crap.

On the way back to the apartment, we stopped for some caramel-filled churros. Finally went to bed at about 4am.

This morning, we had brunch with Tati and took a last walk around Ipanema Beach. Local papers confirmed that there were two million people on the beach last night, likely making it the largest New Year’s party in the world. I’m glad we were there.

Frolicking on Ipanema Beach

Waves on Ipanema Beach

We’re off to the airport in a few minutes. Next stop: Salvador!

Christ the Redeemer

    One Response to “Feliz Ano Novo!”

  1. Gog Says:

    Sloppy seconds for me on that New Year’s kiss!

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