People who’ve never been to Rio often have quite extreme notions of what life here must be like. Some assume it’s a never-ending beach holiday, others think we are constantly ducking bullets and running from armed thieves. The reality for most is more prosaic – bad traffic on the way to the office, work 10am-7pm, bad traffic on the way home. No beaches, no samba, no guns and no fatalities.
Of course that’s not to say that good and bad things don’t happen here. Yesterday on Ipanema beach something quite shocking occurred. As is often the case, there are various versions of exactly what happened, but it seems to go something like this: A large group of Guardas Municipais (Municipal Guards) moved onto the beach. Some reports say that they were there to remove a pitbull dog that had been brought onto the beach – other reports say that they were there to stop a group of kids playing Altinha (in England we call this keepy-uppy) which apparently is not permitted on the beach before 5pm.
Whatever the exact reason for their presence, the atmosphere quickly turned sour.