This is an Ipanema sunset. It's redder than it was when I was growing up. We all know pollution causes spetacular sunsets. In back of the Dois Irmãos (Two Bros.) is the Pedra da Gávea, which was in a book of weirdo theories, "Were the Gods Astronauts?" Pedra da Gávea is about 2,400 feet high. My school friends and I climbed up there five times, between 1975-1981. Even from up there you can hear the city roar; more so today, I believe, as the city has developed beyond Dois Irmãos.
When I was growing up in Rio, Ipanema was a partyhood, especially in the late sixties and early seventies. There were no locks to keep doors shut. I remember reading about Tom Jobim's house, which was always filled with musicians and Vinicius de Moraes, the poet-diplomat, and a young Edu Lobo arriving there, just like that to see what gives. Vinicius asked him for a song for the lyrics of Canto Triste. Click for video with subtitles. Edu said he had one. He didn't, but wrote one in a flash.
Vinicius was uncertain about the song; "It's too sad." In the end it went on to win in festivals. Edu Lobo is a fenomenal artist, and I wouldn't kick him out on a rainy night, either.
After bossa, there were the "hippie" days of Ipanema. Girls stopped shaving armpits. The bikinis were small, some took off their bikini tops. I used to feel very uncomfortable to see hair sprouting out of the bikini bottoms as if a new Amazon forest was growing everywhere I looked. Some Brazilan chicks can be really hairy. Those were the days of what we called "The Pier." That was a segment of the beach where a structure was being built to dump human waste a few miles away from the sand. In other words, we were bathing in a huge Atlantic of cacadoodoo. That was hip, so we did it. At the same time the late sixties and 1970 brought a change in clothing, hippie wannabes, and drugs, they were the option for a youth who were not fighting the military in the jungle.
We were happy Brazil won for the third time and kept the Jules Rimet World Cup. Nobody really knew about the people who disappeared in the wetlands of the Araguaia River. This was known many years later, when we could protest quite moderately. By then, innocence was lost, Ipanema was still fundamental, holding free concerts on the beach, and a new era would begin.
We would walk from Arpoador to Leblon, and back. We were indefatigable.
You may ask if I miss being young like that? No, I don't. I miss walking long distances, but I think I will be able to do it again. If I can walk only a little, I must be content with that. A friend wrote me on Daddy's passing, "We have our memories left." I don't think he was the greatest; I knew he was dying when I left Brazil in 1986, after my summer visit. I miss both my parents, especially hearing their voices. Oh, well, this post is becoming a tear-jerker. Just go here, where things are jollier. You know there are many spices to life. With you, Samba da Benção, click for lyrics in English, by Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes. See you in a few!