Friday, December 24, 2010


We started at Praça General Osório, on the eastern edge of Ipanema, and made our way west along Rua Visconde de Pirajá, the central thoroughfare running through the neighborhood.

Street scene

Three blocks later, we arrived at Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz:

Praça NS da Paz
Monument to Pinheiro Machado, an important figure who fought for the
establishment and consolidation of the Republic
Cariocas playing bocce

On the street, água de coco (the second best-selling juice in Brazil after orange juice):

Fresh coconut water: R$2

Continuing west:

Galeria de Arte Ipanema

We then crossed the Jardim de Alah, the dividing line between Ipanema and Leblon, for dinner at Espaço Brasa Leblon, a spacious churrascaria on Av. Afrânio de Melo Franco.

Canal do Jardim de Alah
Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped by a nearby supermarket to pick up some snacks. Some of you may know that I have a minor obsession with grocery stores, especially in foreign countries. Honestly, I believe that one can learn a lot of interesting things—how different and, simultaneously, how similar we all are—by observing the food-purchasing priorities of different cultures. (I may or may not have once spent five hours in a Carrefour in Barcelona reading/translating the labels on every type of olive oil in the store.)

The Zona Sul supermarket we visited in Leblon was no exception: particularly outstanding was an entire half-aisle shrine to bacalhau, the dried, salted codfish popular in Portugal and many of her former colonies. And, of course, the enormous fruit section:

Below, an entire aisle dedicated to several varieties of my favorite fruit, the mango:

They continued further in a second aisle. I didn't even know this many varieties existed.