Copacabana is a happening place. It is probably one of the most happening places in the whole of South America.
It is not as if it is the most chic neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro; in fact the beach in Copacabana has been facing stiff competition from its more uptown counterparts such as Ipanema and Leblon. But while those two beaches are more confines of the elite, Copacabana is the place where you will find people of all races, ethnicities and social classes. Hence the place welcomes revellers from around the world and different regions of this country to the shores of the Atlantic.
With hillocks marking the boundaries at either side, the beach is dotted by a stretch of small cafes which sell both authentic South American and Western food, even if the quality of the food often leaves a lot to be desired. But that does not stop people from coming to these cafes, which serve as a respite from the sun.
Night sets in languidly on these shores. The crowd thins out at the beach as people swarm the upscale restaurants and nightclubs, and the revelling continues unabated.
The Olympics have added a different vibe to this place. Being the birthplace of beach volleyball, Copacabana was chosen as the setting for the event at these Olympics. And that has brought with it swarms of people from the far fetches of the city.
The Beach Volleyball Arena is probably the earliest of risers and latest of sleepers among all the Olympic venues here in Rio de Janeiro. The emcee's loud rendition of running commentary and the accompanying rock music makes the presence of this arena felt from far corners of the Copacabana. The first session of games start early in the morning and the second session ends after midnight when thousands of people swarm out into the sidewalk and beaches, turning the Copacabana into a sea of humanity.