In a city best known for fashionable beaches and world-class surf, bathers at one local watering hole take pride in the exact opposite – the no-fuss atmosphere of a giant, artificial pond.
Known as the "piscinao," or big pool, the swimming hole brims daily with locals from the surrounding neighbourhood of Mare and other working class districts nearby, especially on steamy days of the ongoing Brazilian summer.
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Whereas Rio's wealthier beaches are often targets of petty thieves and so-called "arrastoes," or fast sweeps by pickpockets working in groups, locals are largely left alone at the piscinao.
"I was once left with nothing but my bikini in Copacabana," says a 52-year-old vendor who rents chairs and parasols and identified herself only by her nickname – Madonna. "That doesn't happen here."