Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Beach Today

It's the start of Carnaval here in Brazil-the week long party in the streets. I have to admit, the first year was interesting because it was all new and different; last year was fun because my parents were here, but this year I'm just kind of sick of it-too hot, too many people, and too many nasty smells in the streets. I guess I'm just not a lot of fun.

It doesn't help that it's been an oven here and has only rained once since we got back almost a month ago-it's making me pretty grouchy. We have sad little window units that can't nearly keep up with the heat. I sweat (and all night long, too) I'm trying to not be bothered by it because it appears that no matter how annoyed I get about the weather, it doesn't seem to care about what I think.

Anyway, we went to the beach fairly early today. We were lucky enough to get there when another group was just leaving so we got some much sought after water-front property. We had a little ridge in front of us, so now one could muscle their way in front of us. And we got two umbrellas just to ensure a little space:

It was pretty crowded, but nothing like what it was later in the day (after all the revelers awoke sometime in the afternoon):

Here you can get an idea of how close we were to our neighbors even with our little double umbrella trick:

Today's beach topic is how different Brazilian body image is compared to that of Americans. 99% of women here wear a bikini to the beach (the 1% being the freakishly modest Mormon who wears a one piece or a tankini; I've seriously had people say to me, "You're not from here are you? I can tell from your swimsuit"). A bikini is just what you wear. It doesn't matter if you are 200 lbs. overweight. It doesn't matter if you're 90 years old. It doesn't matter if you're 9 1/2 months pregnant. It doesn't matter if you're 2 weeks post-partum. YOU WEAR A BIKINI.

And nobody cares what you look like. There's no snickering or finger pointing. Although they do care about their bodies-they are a very active people, they don't seem to care about other people's bodies or if theirs is not perfect.

I took some photos of different bikini clad women, but I'm not going to post them for a couple of reasons. 1) the pictures of really beautiful women with almost their entire rear-ends showing doesn't seem like something that should be on a family friendly blog and 2) I wouldn't want anyone going, "Gross!" or laughing looking a picture of someone with a less than "perfect" body. That would make me feel like I was being mean.

I think it's really cool that people feel comfortable enough to go out with less than perfect bodies, and that other people don't seem to waste their time caring about what others look like. It's kind of refreshing.

(Mentally and emotionally, not physically. Physically I'm still really, really hot.)


Stephanie said...

UGH, it has been so hot here as well. SO HOT. I hate sweating.

So the whole bikini thing? I am always amazed as well. People always tell me I NEED to wear one. I tell them there are two reasons, one being the LDS modesty thing and two being that my WHITE WHITE skin needs as little exposure as possible. Ha.

Hope you get some relief your way.

Betty said...

And if you´re not getting rain.....we don´t get any either! We´ve been waiting and sweating as well. Luckily our AC´s are really good and able to handle the heat.
Hope you survive carnival week!

Lucy said...

I have noticed that same relaxed attitude about body image here, too. I love it! We are definitely freaks in our one-piece suits. Most people wear bikinis, and the northern European women (probably more than half the beachgoers) go topless. At first it was a little weird but now I don't care. I quickly realized that going to the beach here is not about showing your body off to its best advantage. It's about getting some sun and being comfortable. Women of all shapes and sizes go topless here and I say more power to them. (Not that I ever would!)

Fabiola said...

Well, about the bikini.... if you go down South, people are a little more self conscious, or I was raised this way. But, yes, Brazilian women are know for their "no sense" with bikinis.

As for the heat, in São Paulo has been terribly hot too. We've been having rain almost everyday. We had rain for 46 days in a row. But after the rain, it gets even hotter. It is terrible.

I hope the beach helps ease the heat.

Kari said...

Well! First of all, I think it's awesome that they are all so comfortable with their bodies and they aren't so VAIN that they'll wear bikinis without "perfect" bodies. That said, it is so ingrained in me that bikini bodies ARE perfect, or at least in-shape athletic, that I can't see an overweight person in one without gagging. Sorry.

Otherwise, that was an awesome hairy-leg shot you took of the man next to you on the beach...or was that Guapo? :)

オテモヤン said...


Maine Mom said...

I would be out of place there too on the beach in my tankini.

Ballerina Girl said...

Great well put!
I miss you...daughter and I are cold here in the windy, upper 50 degree weather!!
The off to even colder climes with MORE snow expected?! What was I thinking?

Miss you

txmommy said...

well, I have been complaining about the snow for months now and it doesn't care what I say either. We should trade!

the beach looks lovely.