My Little Carioca cooling off with an ice cream
Summer is approaching here in Rio de Janeiro and I am going to tell all you non-Cariocas how to do the Rio de Janeiro beach the right way. Don't worry, follow my 10 easy steps and you'll blend right in... kind of.
1. Be Non-Committal when initially approached by the guys working at the barracas (tents) on the beach. Play it cool. Find where you want to sit and then get your chair. That will save you the unwanted drama of territories and tents. Trust me, even I fall into this one occasionally.
2. No Towels! Actually this should be no towels and buy at least one Brazilian canga BEFORE getting to the beach. You can buy this sheet like items all over the place. That way you don't scream "I'm a Gringo with hotel towels please overcharge me." Of course they are going to overcharge you anyway but at least it will be reasonably. Also the cangas do not collect sand like towels. Trust me.
3. SUNSCREEN! Cariocas use sunscreen, at least some degree of it. I was taught by Mr. Rants family to put sunscreen on before I left the apartment. Of course they all put it on there but let's just say that my skin is a tad bit more likely to burn...
4. Early Morning or Late afternoon. If you are not a seasoned beach goer with a strong tan and religious sunscreen use, do not try to sit in the sun at noon during Rio de Janeiro's summer. It's not going to turn out well. If you are there take advantage of the cheap sun umbrellas rented by the barracas. Hide out until the peak passes. My Mother-in-law used to send me under the umbrella around 1130am, kind of like a sun time out. I will thank her for it when I don't get skin cancer.
5. Remember Raccoon Eyes. We all look good in sunglasses but not when it still looks like we are wearing them when we take them off. Sunscreen, hat, and remove them at some point to even out your tan.
6. Beach food: Don't eat the shrimp. They look pretty but they have been cruising around in the sun for hours. Go for something a little safer like an esfiha, biscuito globos, or a hot dog.
7. Pick up your trash! It's our beach so please take care of it. There are trash cans by the guys renting chairs. There's no reason why everyone can't put their trash in a baggie and throw it away in a trash can on their way out. While you are at it please tell a Carioca. They are horrible at keeping their own beaches clean!
8. Buy a bikini in Rio de Janeiro. I don't care about your size or shape, you will only stick out if you wear one of those saggie butt British or American bikinis. Do yourself a favor and suck up your pride. Buy the bikini! Trust me, the moment you get to the beach you will realize you actually blend in more and your butt looks 300 times better! And you curvy girls please remember that Brazilian LOVE that! Show it off!
9. Be careful going into the ocean. Cariocas make swimming in the rough Rio de Janeiro waters look easy. It isn't. This goes double when you are kind of drunk off of Brazilian beer and have to pee. Don't let the urgency make you do something stupid. Nobody wants to be that guy that has to be rescued by the helicopter with ocean basket.
10. Have fun! Cariocas have a saying: There's nothing a good day at the beach can't cure. It's true! They know how to do the beach in Rio de Janeiro and if you have a chance to go with some natives please do!