Monday, April 20, 2009

Garota de Ipanema

Remember those early travel experiences that left you light-headed and hopelessly enamored with a new locale? For me this was walking the rainy streets of Florence with a friendly young Florentine suitor who held an umbrella and chatted amiably in Italian that I didn't understand. Or, an illicit cocktail and cigarette at the rooftop bar of some swish Hong Kong hotel when I was 17.

This is how I feel about Rio de Janeiro. From the moment I arrived I've been swoony for Rio.  Rio has provided enough memorable travel moments to more than make up for the past few jaded and underwhelming travel experiences.  During my beachy jaunts around Copacabana and Leblon, I've been unable to quit one song from my mental soundtrack.  Yes, The Girl from Ipanema haunts all of my Brazilian travel impressions. Today I spent the day at Ipanema beaches with Jobim's lyrics sing-songing in my ear.

Curious, I Google 'Girl from Ipanema.' Turns out, said girl is real! Heloìsa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto was an Ipanema teenager who would stroll by a bar frequented by lyricist Vinícius de Moraes, on her way to the beach.

In an unromantic turn-of-events, 'Helô ' later became a Playmate in the 80's, in a team effort with her daughter, Ticiane.

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