AUSTRALIANA

THE REST OF THE WORLD

ANECDOTES AND REFLECTIONS

        

THE REST OF THE WORLD




River of January

It has been weeks since the sailors left the Iberian Peninsula, but now, land is in sight. The Portuguese captain does not have any modern navigation instruments; Galileo and his magic tube which caused him so much trouble with the Vatican – the telescope – is still a long way away; he imagines that there is a bay ahead and where there is a bay there must be a river and after consulting his calendar and discovering that this was January, why not call it The River of January. Being a Portuguese he named the place Rio de Janeiro.

 A pity that there was no river, only beaches and no bay, but the name stays. When the ship got a bit closer the sailors noticed some irregular shaped hills, which were later named Corcovado Mountain (Christ the redeemer) and Sugar Loaf Mountain. On the first one a huge statue of Christ was erected, which, till recently was the tallest in the world (The Poles beat it lately). There were also some magnificent beaches, later named Copacabana and Ipanema. The summits of both mountains are accessible by cog train and cable car. The panoramic view from them is incredibly beautiful.

Copacabana (a word probably of Bolivian native origin meaning “the view of the lake”)is a large expanse of sand and sea lined by a Portuguese pavement and dotted by kiosks –right by the beach – selling drinks, hard and soft and the unusual one being a fresh coconut with its top cut off and a straw inserted for instant use.