To decompress after a day of business in Rio, there's nothing like drinking a draft Brahma beer, a "chopp" (pronounced SHOW-pee for those who have never had the pleasure of spending some time in Brazil), and eating a few "bolinhas de bacalhau", cod fish balls, which taste way better than that sounds, particularly with a few drops of homemade malagueta hot pepper sauce.

Leblon is the last urban beach of Rio's string of beaches - Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema, and then you get to Leblon.  São Conrado and Barra de Tijuca follow, but they are no longer urban and as such aren't "really" Rio any longer. Those names themselves are a mélange reflecting the culture, history, ethnicity and race here: conjuring up the Flemish, Tupi-Guarani, French, and Portuguese who have all lived here.

On weekends during the Southern Hemisphere summer, when it's sunny and 90 in the shade, the action is all on the beach. The multitudes arrive at the beach on foot, carrying a tatami-like mat, wearing sun glasses, no wallet, no jewelry, no documents, bringing just enough cash to pay for some drinks -- usually the much-too-sweet and curiously strong chá mate (black tea) or a limonada, for some a  caipirinha.  All the attire is Speedo and bikini at most modest: thong and "dental floss" bikinis are the norm.

On an early evening like this, overcast, occasionally drizzly, 75 F, the action reverts to the main commercial drag, Ataúlfo de Paiva, two blocks in from the beach. Your gustatory choices range from a stand-up "botequim" hole-in-the wall where you can slug back a shot of cachaça, the local harsh sugarcane firewater, and eat a "mixto quente" (grilled cheese sandwich), all the way to deluxe restaurants serving European cuisine or the gold standard -- good old Brazilian "churrasco a rodizio" barbeque.

At this hour most people will choose a bar like Jobi (Avenida Ataúlfo de Paiva, 1166, loja B, Leblon, phone 2274-0547) and sip their chopp "estúpidamente gelada," stupidly cold. No Brazilian would emulate the European approach of a quaffing beer anywhere near room temperature! 

Jobi in the evening