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essays | places | Brazil

Rio de Janeiro / No Hard Feelings

distinguishing between place and experience


   Seen from Corcovado hill with the eyes of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro might easily be the most beautiful city this side of the universe – myriad sandy bays, cozy hills, and cheeky islets say so.

From up close, however, the beauty was a bit of a beast. I felt dazzled by an optical illusion of sorts: standing on the rocks between Ipanema and Copacabana, looking at one of these distinguished shorelines as a whole, the man-made structures would add something to that caipirinha of mountain, beach and sea. But walking along those slab monsters, the concrete would take away from the sweetness.