A rainy day in Rio de Janeiro is like the Grand Prix with obstacles.
There is the foot traffic. All Cariocas are out with their umbrellas, even if it not technically raining in the opinion of us foreigners. If it had rained at one point in the day and no sun is out, there is a Carioca with an umbrella.
There are also sects of umbrella people. You have the group that are willing to spend more than R$10 for rain protection and the group that only buy from the carmelo (illegal stands) for R$10 or R$5 depending on durability and design. The tackier the umbrella the more expensive it is, don't even ask about the ones with the hooked handles. It's all about fashion in this city.
The thing is that the cheap ones break. There comes a point in your Rio de Janeiro life where you say "Fuck it" and use the freaking broken Umbrella. It really only rains a fraction of the time here and you just can't be bothered to waste any more coconut water money on another ugly umbrella. That is why you find the broken umbrella people. They are the ones walking around with the metal umbrella frames sticking out, threatening to attack anyone not paying attention .
Seriously, it's like ping pong with the risk of losing an eye. Since I'm about height level with most Brazilians' umbrellas I actually prefer to go out in the rain with my glasses. While raindrops are a put out, I consider protective eyewear a smart choice.
So take any given rainy day in Rio de Janeiro. You come out to go to the store or take your kids to the store and you are faced with many things. For starters there's the incredable traffic. Secondly there's the bad drivers mixed in with the bad drivers who don't normally drive (it's raining so they bust out the car to go tot work). Add in the assholes (about 90% of the above mentioned drivers) and you have yourself a lot of hellish traffic.
Then you add in the umbrella people. They come big and small. Yes, people let their obnoxious children attempt to walk around a busy city with an umbrella that is twice their size. I think it's quite obvious to say I'm not in that group but I would like to point out that their children are normally wearing raincoats anyway as children under 10 yrs old can't seem to use an umbrella for it's actual function. It's more like an annoying kite.
All in all I go out in the rain in Rio ready for war. It's me against the cars, motorcycles, broken umbrellas, and obnoxious toddlers who don't belong to me. With this comes an understanding of time. When in Rio de Janeiro, leave a half an hour early when it's raining people.
Oh and for all of you who think that you'll just call a cab, yeah like I'm that stupid! Good luck. If it is actually raining, instead of spit style spinkles, there will not be a taxi in sight. You may get lucky but I prefer to be realistic. Glasses, wellies (for the Brits), and my good umbrella. With the kids it's wellies and raincoats.
If you can, just stay at home with a good book and some Brazilian coffee.
You'd think a tropical country would be more prepared for rain, wouldn't you.