London, United Kingdom
November 13, 2004
They must start at a very young age. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, drives like the possessed as they take the corners in Rio de Janeiro. Rua Francisco Otaviano connects the two most famous beaches in Rio -- Copacabana and Ipanema -- and traffic races like the Brazilian Grand Prix to get between the two. The location in Aproador, however, is excellent, and with spectacular beaches at either end of the road, those staying at the Residencia Apartments are spoilt for choice.
Residencia Apartments are an absolute bargain. They work out at $50 a night, and for that, you get your own apartment. There is dining table, a couch of sorts, a kitchen with cutlery, and a utility room with a washing machine overlooking a shaft. The wardrobe contains a safety deposit box, and the ubiquitous cable television is at hand. Each morning, breakfast, which is included in the price, is served by a Biaiana woman in your room. She brings you bananas, coffee, cake, rolls, and orange juice. The fridge is restocked each day with fizzy orange, coke, or Brahma beer, which will, of course, be added to your bill.
To be frank, I cannot think of a better location. It is right in the middle of wealthy, fashionable Aproador, with "H Stern", the diamond jewelers, to one side. All around it are five-star, expensive Othons, Hiltons, and Meridians. This tiny gem of an apartment block is in the location of the "big boys", but at a fraction of their price. And the location was the main attraction -- right between Ipanema and Copacabana. Incidentally, this is where the main drag of Copacabana ends and where the buses turn. It is a good place to catch a bus into Centro, and seeing the buses take corners with their over-eager drivers is quite an experience. I swear, one morning I saw one bus tilt and go on two wheels.
The owner is an elderly gentleman who is exceptionally friendly and likes to practice his English. Any advice about what to take to the beaches, where to go, etc, is generously given. And the beaches are the main attraction. Wandering down Rua Francisco Otaviano are surfers clutching boards. A quick walk through the tiny park takes you to the Aproador headland, where waves crash onto the beach and rocks. The waves here are very good, and there are always heads bobbing in the surf.
This is where the beach starts its great sweep of Ipanema. Take off your shoes, let the sand between your toes, and let the cool Atlantic wash over your hot feet.
It doesn't get any better than this...
From journal And on the eighth day god created Rio - returning to the Cidade Marvelosa