Red Beach (Praia Vermelha)

Done with the Sugarloaf and dripping with sweat from the relentless heat and humidity, we took a detour to Red Beach. Having seen it from on high we knew it was both close and beautiful. Kind of like every girl I knew in high school once puberty kicked in, expect this place was attainable.

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It’s an illusion. No Brazilian beach is this empty.

We grabbed some ice-cream cups on the beach paying the standard high-heat, on-the-beach markup. I really like it because I like all ice-cream. Marta was not a fan, so I got to have half of hers. 150% ice-cream means a 150% happier Kris.

With a huge smile on my face we made ourselves a little spot on the beach and then I realised I needed to put my swimmers on. Marta had come prepared because she can think more than 30 seconds into the future and was wearing hers under her clothes. So she jumped in and splashed around while I contemplated where to go.

By the time Marta popped back out I was resigned to a quick pants swap between two cars in the parking lot. Yes, it was time to get my junk out in public. I’d been here three days already and it was overdue.

I grabbed my swimmers and scurried spider-like to the car park, looking absolutely suspicious as my alabaster skin fluoresced under the Brazilian sun waving about my neon green swimmers. Halfway to the car park I spotted a small corner mostly out of sight. Jackpot! I whipped off my shorts, dig the one-legged ‘why won’t my legs fit in my pants’ dance with my swimmers for a bit, and then, hey presto, I’m ready for the ocean.

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Man versus ocean

The water was perfect. It reminded me so much of swimming back in Sydney during the summer. Perfectly cool-cold water to counterbalance the incessant heat roaring out of the furnace sky. And waves! I hadn’t been in waves for the longest time. It was a huge surprise to me when travelling how rare really nice beaches are and it really made me appreciate this.

I floated aimlessly over the waves before they broke, drifting on my back and watching Sugarloaf rise and fall over my shiny white, fluffy belly. It was gorgeous. Especially the belly.

Rotating back to shore so Marta could swim (we had too much valuable stuff in our bag to leave it unattended) I started to take note of the people around me. I tell you what, Brazilian beach bodies in real life are far removed from those you will find in film, TV, and travel brochures. I was surprised, pleasantly, to discover that there was a major range of bodies slapped over the sand. Mostly tending towards the larger side of things. Sometimes being unexceptional is the best.

We stayed for around 90 glorious minutes and would have loved to have gone back if we’d had time. Alas it was not to be, but if I’m ever in Rio again I’ll definitely be spending more time here.

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