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 all.day.long. (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.)