My desktop icons are floating in this deep green sea, while my reminders and sticky notes are swimming in bright umbrellas. I have set this image as the desktop background on my oversized photo-editing monitor and it makes me feel like I’m at the beach and not home in my office. I get a little spark of joy each time I close a window and think about plunging into that cool water.
I’ll let you in on a secret. This isn’t a summer scene. This is a beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the middle of the winter. But any day is a beach day in Rio.
I used to think that Australians invented the beach lifestyle. Growing up on the Sunshine Coast all my friends would compare tanlines, salt hairstyles and surfing injuries each Monday after spending as much time as possible at the beach on the weekend.
But even Sunny Coast locals are no comparison to the residents of Rio. They treat the beach like a backyard. Its a playground full of volleyball nets, soccer games, street food vendors and flying frisbees. The beach is a free for all. Soaking up sun in a skimpy bikini, drinking, relaxing, playing sport, swimming, eating – Brazilians take beach life to a whole new level.
Wandering among the ping pong tables, sweaty skin, flying soccer balls and frolicking teenagers is a memory I’ll never forget. But I enjoyed Ipanema in a laid back Australian way. After a busy day of sightseeing, I bought a fresh hot churros pumped full of chocolate sauce, sat on the sand and watched the sunset over the mountains. Rio won me over.
Right now the ocean is angry. Whipped by fierce winds and dirtied by the muddy rivers spewing into it. It’s summer: rainy season. We’ve had vicious tropical storms, floods, king tides and angry waves that have swallowed all the sand exposing ancient lava rocks. Too dangerous to swim most days I stay in looking over images from seasons past. Those visiting the glorious Sunshine Coast during the peak holiday season might find it hard to believe how this same ocean behaves in winter. See for yourself.
Wandering through my archive recently my eyes dove into these vibrant memories of my beach last August: crystal clear, clean and impossibly calm. The ocean was like an enormous lake with just one small wave gently greeting the shore. Children delighted in the soft winter sun and everyone marvelled at the deep aqua reflection of the wave at the moment it folded in on itself. These images make me long for winter.