Way back when I was going to highschool in Vladivostok (and when I would never have imagined that I would be spending so much time in Rio de Janeiro later in my life), there was an article in the local newspaper about Rio. I don’t remember much of what it said, it must have been something generic about Rio being of-so-beautiful. What I did remember, however, was a “joke” at the end. It was June or July and the article explained that while June and July is summer in Russia, it’s winter in Brazil. It’s thus relatively cold, continued the article, and the temperature of the water have dropped to 23 degrees. “Because of this, Rio’s beautiful beaches are now empty,” it concluded, “after all, who would want to swim in such icy water.” I remember thinking this was a joke – since it seemed quite obviously that nobody would consider 23 degree water “icy”, or too cold to swim in. 23C is about 75F and it’s roughly the temperature of cold tap water in summer. Sure, 23 degree water will turn your lips blue after about 15 minutes, but doesn’t swimming always do that? And 23 degrees is hell of a lot warmer than 19 or 20, which I remember being the number that indicated to us that the swimming season was starting – this typically happened in mid July. I also remember crazy friends that started swimming in June, when the water was around 17 degrees. And anyway, 23 degrees is about as warm as it ever got in Vladivostok!
Last year I discover that this wasn’t exactly a joke: Rio beaches are empty in winter, even when the water is a lot warmer than 23C. This year I made another step in my carioquization: I now myself think that entering Rio ocean in June is a pretty strange idea.