26 November 2012

Armação Beach

Armação Beach might be the most unusual beach in Búzios for being the only one with a street dividing the water & sand from the mortar & brick. At least the street is just one-way, so it's not too heavily trafficked. I think in ten years here I've never seen anything but a handful of people use Armação as a beach, with Búzios residents staring at them in amusement. Really, nobody goes into the water here, nobody even walks on the sand. Why do that, with such a lovely walkway set along the entire length of the beach? No, it's the view that people go to this beach for, the view and the commerce on the other side of the street, with its bars, restaurants, discothèques, hotels, shops of all kinds, and even a mini-golf.

The waters of Armação Beach lap onto what's called the Orla Bardot, Búzios's version of la promenade of St. Tropez. Stroll the orla (or waterfront) and you'll come upon a series of statues, the famous one of la Bardot herself . . .

. . . and the slightly less known statue of three fishermen (all sculpted by Christina Motta) . . .

. . . plus a newer statue of Juscelino Kubitschek, the president who built Brasília, sitting in front of the house he borrowed to enjoy weekends in Búzios with any number of mistresses.

There are still some charming old fishermen's cottages along the orla which may or may not be landmarked, no one seems to be particularly concerned.

Lots of small boats anchor off the entire length of Armação Beach and, during high season, monumentally huge transatlantic cruise ships join them, looming over both the smaller vessels and the tiny downtown buildings as if they were characters in a sci-fi film.

You won't go hungry on Armação Beach. Restaurants both up and down the scale line the Orla Bardot . . .

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