So this is a bit of a public service announcement. The newspaper Globo was kind enough to take away any shred of doubt I had about the cleanliness of the showers at the beach.
You see, one of my absolute favorite things about the beaches here is that they have showers at the top of the sand where you can cool off, hose off, and let your kids play. Given that the ocean is said to be beyond polluted here, it is a lovely alternative.
Of course I have had more than one friend inform me that the shower water isn't "sweat water" as Cariocas call it. Since they were not making these claims with a research paper in their hand it was easy enough to ignore. Ignorance is bliss and I really like those damn showers.
This morning I read this article in Globo stating that the showers on the beaches in Zona Sul contained not one but many contaminants and were proven to not be coming from the city's clean water source. Awesome.
A presença, em sete pontos de coleta, de coliformes termotolerantes, que se desenvolvem em fezes humanas, indica a possibilidade de contágio por vírus como o da hepatite A, rotavírus e salmonela, que pode provocar diarreia, gastroenterite e febre tifóide — explica Fernanda.
This says that they found fecal coliform in 7 collection points, which are developed in human feces. This means there is a possibility of infection by viruses such as hepatitis A, rotavirus and salmonella, which can cause diarrhea, gastroenteritis and typhoid.
So yes, you are showing in water that was once, and maybe still is, swimming with poop.
And before you say that you live in a "rich" neighborhood in Zona Sul (ie. Ipanema and Leblon) so you should be ok, Baixo Bebe in Leblon had the highest levels.
So rich or poor, those showering on the beach in Zona Sul are surrounded by the same shit. Oh the irony.