In fact, we smelled nothing that brought onto memories of beaches back home. No overflowing sunscreen, seaweed or sand crabs, nor smoky scent of barbeques flowing from mobile vacation homes. The beach belonged to the playful youths, no matter their actual ages. They flunted their sun drenched bodies in barely there bikinis or speedos, playing futvolley, soccer, beach balls or simply turning themselves over every 30 minutes. Age or body types didn't matter, the rainbow arrays of shapes displayed on white sand beaches were a marvelous giant kanga of human dignity and loving acceptance of oneself.
Children who were old enough to swim gathered just before sunrise, when the beaches were still empty, their movements all dark, nimble and shiny against white surfs like seal pups chasing after tasty oceanic treats. The sun would make her first yarn precisely at 6, blushing through layers of clouds and morning fog as you began to think you might have missed it. You were almost ready to settle into simply admire different shades of cotton candies - purple, pink, blue, coral - weaved into an exploding show into the eastern sky. Then that red, round, radiant face would leap up above the horizon line, first only a crescent, but rising and promising the rest glowingly and surely. Your heart would leap then, too, along each step of that glorious morning's ascension.
We spent our days sipping fresh Agua de Coco and beer. Before sunset, we'd climb to the rooftop and watch the sun settle back down beneath the clouds' covers and eventually, behind the horizons' lines. The Favelas would light up all over the hills then, like misshapen pieces of quilting fabrics barely covering mountains' sides. Tall, oppressing darkened shapes receded into the backgrounds then, an elusive and faint reminder of past misfortunes and violence, or perhaps so we wished.
Of all these sights pressed into our minds rich in colors and sounds, I searched for that scent and found none. Or perhaps Rio simply has its own signature scent of freshness, of youth and of rising hopes.
|Sunrise over Copacabana Beach|
|Sunset on Ipanema|