to Brazilians as "Cidade
Maravilhosa" (The Wonderful City), Rio de Janeiro is always
brimming with color, sound, rhythm, and joy, which make it synonymous
with Carnival, happiness, and beautiful people. Very few places in the
world match the hospitality and natural charm in which Rio is
Squeezed into a narrow, astonishingly lovely zone between
rainforest-clad cliffs and the sea, in what many have called the world's
most beautiful city setting, Rio de Janeiro pulses like an artery. The
famed emeralds, amethysts, and rubies of Rio shops are just the
beginning; all the colors of the world are here. The thousand shades of
Amazon green, the deep black of a businessman's London- made suit, the
lucid gold of afternoon sunlight, the gray of granite monoliths, the
blue of a tropical sea, the hundred shades of tanned flesh. The primeval
splendor of Rio's environs lends the city an eternal youth-the arrogant
flamboyance that lets one dance too late and too seductively, talk to a
stranger when you don't really speak the language, and wander the
streets knowing you will end up some- where exciting.
That somewhere is usually near the beach: Rio's 45 miles of white sand
beach encompass neighbor- hoods familiar the world over. Copacabana,
Ipanema, and Leblon cuddle together like a clique of celebrities, each
brilliantly different. Rio de Janeiro's diverse personalities often
delight and astound, and never fail to fascinate, from the impeccable,
beach-scarved Avenida Atlantica to the favelas which blanket the
hillsides, to the cobblestone streets and artist-inhabited Victorian
mansions of Santa Theresa. During the day, the beach-and-cafe culture
nonchalantly transform the shoreline into the center of the city. At
night, the clubs, restaurants, and dance halls, called forros, dominate.
Part of the nightlife's charm is its spontaneity. Be prepared to
Rio is indisputably a city--with all the attendant traffic and bustle.
But the life that inspires the Rio driver to make three lanes where
there were only meant to be two also coaxes an impromptu samba from
tired legs and drives that most renowned of all Rio events, Carnival.
What color mother nature hasn't already supplied, the local Cariocas
will invent. Nothing is spared for this festival of senses.
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