Back in Brazil

By Daniel de la Calle

The sand in Copacabana is light blond and fine from the relentless
beating of the Atlantic. A wall of tall soulless buildings demarcates
the long wide beach, describing a perfect gentle curve, like eyelashes
to an eye.
It takes very little to forget that something was something else not
long ago: a hard look and a hand curls into a fist, three days and
determination dissolves into apathy, putrid is a few hours overripe.
Copacabana looks like it was always meant to be a tourist beach thanks
to its little bars with piles of coconuts on the side, its beach
volley nets and its famous black and white wavy walkway filled with
beautiful tanned bodies that run, cycle, skate towards perfection.
Still, when I arrived here a few days ago I took an early morning walk
in the rain toward the Morro do Arpoador, the rocky area that
separates Copa from Ipanema and all of a sudden I was transported to
another time.  There were ten to fifteen small fishing boats above the
tideline and men were busily mending nets, repainting wood, counting
their small catch and cleaning it to sell on the spot, completely
unaware of the sunscreen lotions, the filo dental bikinis and the
seven million people that eat and sleep right behind. Have our
lifestyles and ideals falsely turned true existence clandestine and


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