Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016



The Opening Ceremonies for South America's FIRST Olympic Games are a mere nine days away! No, we are not worried about Brazil being ready. (Remember, two years ago we reassured the world that Sochi would be ready for the Winter Games...and they went fine.) Rather, we here at the DUNER BLOG are here to give you some basic factoids about the wondrous city of Rio de Janeiro. Impress your pals at the sports bar!

THE NAME. When a ship under the command of Portuguese explorer Pedro Cabral first sailed into the massive bay, the date was January First, 1502. Believing he had discovered the mouth of an enormous river, he named the body of water "River of January." In actuality, there are no big rivers, just a huge bay. Rio Pavuna is the largest at only 10 miles long. Nonetheless, this was the name written on maps and charts. By 1565 it had a couple hundred residents, who officially declared 'Rio de Janeiro' as name of their city. Guanabara Bay is the body of water.

THE PEAKS. Rio lies on a strip of land the juts into the Atlantic Ocean from mainland Brazil. When entering by sea, the first mountain you'll see is Sugarloaf. It looks like a 1,300 foot high thumb. Next, you'll pass by two smaller peaks, Urca and Cara de Cão. Finally, there is the massive, 2,329 foot high Corcovado Mountain. Standing high atop the peak is the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue, which was named to the NEW Seven Wonders of the World List.

THE BEACHES. The combination of these sudden peaks with the swift currents of the Atlantic results in some amazing deposits of sand. Native Tupi names for the beaches are still in use today. Impanema translates to "Bad Lake." Constant swells and nine-foot high waves are bad. Neighboring Copacabana Beach once was covered with colorful Soco birds. This word evolved into the current name. Both beaches  are subjects of famous songs: The Girl From Impanema (Astrud Gilberto) and Copacabana (Barry Manilow).

THE PEOPLE. Residents of Rio de Janeiro are called 'Cariocas.' It too is derived from the Tupi language, meaning 'White Man's House.' The first Portuguese settlers built quaint stucco homes along these two strips of sand. Since then, the city has grown. Today, the seven million residents comprise one of the most diverse cities on earth. 50% of Carioacas are white, 15% are black and 30% are a mix of the two. The remaining 5% are a mix of Asian and Arabs.

THE EVENTS. We are confident that Brazil will be ready next Friday, simply because they have done this before. In fact, Rio is in the Guinness Book of Records for holding the largest public event ever. The City of January is THE PLACE for New Year's Eve. On December 31, 1994, a Rod Stewart concert on Copacabana Beach had three million attendees. Then there's Carnaval...when even more millions of people flood into Rio for the largest FAT TUESDAY party ever.

Congratulations, Rio de Janeiro, it's your time to shine!

No comments:

Post a Comment