Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monkey Faces Here There and Everywhere

The Portuguese pavement wave pattern at Copacabana beach
On a gorgeous day just after Ash Wednesday, the streets of Rio de Janeiro were rather quiet.  The frenetic activity of Carnival and the samba contests was over.  The city and the beaches of Copacabana had returned to some sort of normalcy.  The height of the tourist season was over as the seriousness of Lent replaced the frivolity of Carnival.

This is the Rio I experienced--a quieter, more laid back visit to Copacabana where local families and tourists mingled along the long paths following the curves and sweep of the ocean beaches; where, with the bulk of tourists gone, those of us remaining, had the pleasure of visiting the city's famous landmarks and fabulous seafood restaurants less impeded.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer
It is on one of these explorations of the city of Rio that I realized there were little furry faces peering out from palm fronds and the jungle vegetation everywhere.  Riding the slow cog railway up Corcovado Mountain through the Tijuca Rain Forest to eventually arrive at the statue of Christ the Redeemer afforded many close-up encounters with these lithe, curious, quick little creatures:  the capuchin monkeys. 

Capuchin Monkey
What was most amazing about that experience?  The awesome size and presence of the Christ statue?  The incredible views from the top of Corcovado Mountain of Copacabana Beach and the Sambadome?  or those dozens and dozens of curious monkey little faces looking at all the equally curious tourists?

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