Today the road in front of my hotel was blocked for traffic and a sense of a festival was in the air. I first started noticing the occasional transvestite strolling along the beach, and increasing number of same-sex couples. “Eh, is this the non-organized version of a Gay Parade?”, I disappointingly noted to my date. (Yes, today I had a blind date with a girl! I found her on ASmallWorld, and she also just moved to Rio, so we just arranged to hang out and explore the city). Later on, when I was in my hotel room, trying to concentrate on something, I kept being distracted by very loud music outside. I walked out to the street and encountered what I would call a carnival version of the gay parade. It was incredible!! Moving trucks with stages on top of them, blasting Lady Gaga and such. Thousands and thousands of people dancing on the streets. Those were people of all ages, backgrounds and orientations. Many people in crazy costumes everywhere. After a while, I was confused who was a man and who was a woman and what did gender or sexual preference mean, which, I guess, is one of the points that parade was making – it doesn’t matter since we are people regardless.
This was by far the best gay parade I had the pleasure to attend. To many more! By the way, gay marriages are legal in Brazil (I think as of recently). Not bad for a catholic country!
Walking from Copacabana to Ipanema with my new friend, we discovered the Aproador Beach, next to post 7. A quiet and relaxing piece of the beach, with such contrast to overcrowded and commercial Copacabana beach. No more tourists and crazy amounts of vendors. There were some cute hippies with their guitars, playing music for themselves and enjoying the nice summer night. People were walking their dogs and the prices of coconut water(which is sold everywhere on the beach) were reflecting the increase in the quality of atmosphere. Perhaps this price of coconut water should serve as an indicator of the cost of living (like the Big Mac Index).
Today another taxi driver was asking me about Israel and if it had a beach, I said it does. Then he was saying that they probably don’t wear bikinis there (implied – since it’s so conservative…). I said, “no, they wear tents to go to the beach”. It’s good I knew how to say the word “tent” in Portuguese.