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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve in Rio

After months of clouds and rain, December 22 dawned with crystal clear, bright blue skies.

Oh joy to the season.

And with the sun came heat and humidity, snarled traffic and bad tempers.

I have to ask WHERE"S the joy? 

Yesterday on the December 23, the streets surrounding our Ipanema apartment were so clogged they were at a complete 'horn blowing' stop. The streets were clogged with busses, trucks, tourists (cars) and shoppers (cars). Yes, in the height of this joyful season large delivery trucks double parked along the streets further testing the tempers, the goodwill (?) of all the holiday shoppers and beach goers competing for parking space. (The free one of course, the parking lots below ground and in the shopping centers are so expensive everyone drives around and around looking for 'just the right' free space on the street). I don't really know of other areas in Rio but in Ipanema the 'lojas' are not big on holiday decorations. The local association of business people line the sidewalks with what is meant to be a cheerful and welcoming carpet. In past years it was red, 'rolling out the red carpet'. This year is was a faded green and after so much rain and muddy footprints it looks a little worse for wear. There are a few stores with glass balls, some with poinsettias, and some with a Santa or an Angel in their front window, but compared with Gramado the frantic aura of noise, pushing and shoving of Ipanema I have to ask WHERES THE JOY?

Christmas Eve - today the number of cars has dropped to a manageable number, fewer busses, only an occasional delivery truck and what seems to be more taxis. Today the taxis are blowing their horns, but everyone else seems to have lowered their 'rush, rush' mode to holiday mode. Camillo and I walked around the corner and had a Caiprinha to get into the mood. There are still a lot of shoppers, but maybe they are only tourists - the Cariocas have gone home to cook dinner and begin enjoying the time with their families and the remaining tourists are out to enjoy their hot and sunny Christmas in RIO.



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