The Whiskey Chronicles (in Buenos Aires)

The Whiskey Chronicles (in Buenos Aires)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

NYE in Rio 2008-09

It was a last-minute decision and one we long wanted to make. A friend in Rio was going back to the U.S. for the holidays and said we could crash at his apartment, one block off Ipanema beach and with its own indoor hammocks. We flew up in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere summer for 96 hours of sitting at the beach, sipping Amazonian fruit drinks, and partying in Copacabana on New Years Eve with 2 million people and 8 cruise ships angling for the best view in the bay.

The dress code for NYE in Rio is all white, and hundreds of people were lighting candles and tossing flowers into the breakers to promote peace for the coming year. I expected the whole scene to be a little out of control, just how I imagine New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Along the road in Copa, you could buy everything from stomach-churning shrimp on a stick to tequila shots. Our favorite stand was a couple who set up with about 20 different kinds of cachaca and made the best caipirinhas we've ever had. We rented a couple chairs on the beach and settled in to listen to samba and watch fireworks.

Rio is bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games, and New Years Eve was clearly a night when they wanted to start promoting themselves for the years to come. We've posted some photos in the column to the right.