- The bikinis are tiny.
- The skin is tan.
- The bodies are perfect.
You hear a lot of hype about Rio de Janeiro. So much so, that I have been nervous this entire trip about exposing my "I'm From SF" pale, "I (Used To) Sit At A Desk All Day" flabby body on the beach. I hoped that the month of travel leading up to Rio would help me shed the excess holiday pounds and be bikini ready. No such luck.
However, I am delighted to report the following:
The bikinis are in fact TINY. From the shockingly young to the startlingly old, men, women, pregnant women, entire happy families. Everybody wears very, very little on the beach. There is no such thing as a one piece. Certainly no board shorts. Thongs and speedos are definitely the norm. Brazilians are proud to show off as much as they can. This helps them achieve the next fact...
The skin is remarkably tan. There is no question that Cariocas live and breath the beach. I have never seen so many, SO TAN people in one place in my life. It's incredible.
As you've probably gathered by now, the next fact I feel it is my duty to report is that the bodies, my friend, are NOT perfect. Far from it in fact. A walk down Copacabana or Ipanema beach reveals far more "imperfect" bodies than you would find on any beach in Southern California. At the risk of sounding rude, we're talking like, "I can't find your bikini" imperfect.
The beautiful thing about it, is that they are proud and unashamed. Teeny tiny bikinis, deep dark skin, letting it ALL hang out. You don't see woman sucking it in here, or trying to disguise it with a sarong. There is not an ounce of self-consciousness to be found in this entire city.
It's pretty liberating, even for a sarong-wearer like myself. Between the caipirinhas, the churrascurias and the long lazy days on the beach, I am heavier now than when we left. But I've never felt more at ease in a bikini. Then tan doesn't hurt either :)