Mirante Dona Marta
I finally go for an actual swim at Copa. Last time we were here, the water was so cold that I could hardly go in. It was winter, so I thought the water was cold just because it was winter. No, it’s cold in summer too. The water in Fernando was 29 degrees, here, it is not. But, it is more refreshing. We spend some time walking along the sand, watching people dive in and out of the surf and squeal as the water hits them. It’s been so hot that the cold water dripping down my back is hardly helping to keep me cool, but at home, it’s around -20 so I am definitely in the right place! I often wonder if people who live in these climates are just so used to it that they don’t sweat. We are constantly sweating, look like we are about to faint from the heat and there are women walking around with full faces of makeup and they don’t even have a bead of sweat anywhere. I still shiver when it’s -20, why aren’t they bedraggled, sweaty drowned rats like us?
The next part of the city we explore is Mirante Dona Marta and I am surprised that this is not a more popular spot. It is a viewpoint over the city, and maybe it’s because it’s 37 degrees, but it’s practically deserted. Sugarloaf is undoubtedly the most famous lookout over Rio, but this place is breathtaking as well. I can see Sugarloaf in the distance, with Botafogo underneath it, the bay dotted with sailing masts. A giant jet flies in to land at Santo Dumont, the domestic airport, and it dwarfs the two hills that make up Sugarloaf. It also looks like it’s going to hit it, but it doesn’t. To the right of Sugarloaf are the white buildings and blue water that make up Copacabana, with the fort jutting out at the far east end. Past that there are glimpses of Ipanema and upper scale Leblon. And behind us, on the tall promontory of rock stands Christ The Redeemer. He’s facing us, and every time I see him, one of the Wonders of the World and the biggest Art Deco statue anywhere, my heart skips a beat. It is one of the most magnificent things on the planet. It’s powerful, beautiful, and it gives me a sense of well being somehow.
On our way down we stop to take photos at another, less formal viewpoint. A favela (slum) covers the hill to our left, and although I know they are a sad part of Rio's story, they are beautiful in their own way. We make a quick stop in Cosmo Velho to see Largo do Boticario. The rundown remnant of the colonial house was used in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker. There’s not much to see, but the building is a photographer’s dream. Yellow, blue, pink and turquoise peek through the browning that comes with age. It’s only two stories high, and I can see through most of the doors and windows. A few have shutters, but the rest must have disappeared years ago. Usually decrepit buildings like this have a creepy air to them, but this one is beautiful. Maybe it’s the Atlantic rainforest that surrounds it or the colours that hint of its interesting history. In the 1800’s, Boticario was a hangout for the political elite and famous artists.
Afterwards we wander along Botafogo Beach, where it is too polluted to go swimming, but is beautiful nonetheless. I snap some photos of some men playing football (soccer) on the beach. How much more Rio can you get?