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Summer heat packs out Rio's beaches

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016

Rio de Janeiro has welcomed the start of summer with bright sunshine and a heat index of up to 49 degrees Celsius, drawing thousands of Brazilians and tourists to the city's main beaches.

In the middle of Christmas week, and with actual temperatures of up to 36 degrees, Brazil's National Weather Institute predicts that clear skies will continue to prevail in the coming days along with thermometer readings above 30.

Just a little more than a week from when Copacabana beach will host about two million people to celebrate the new year, Rio's most famous beach is already drawing thousands of people eager to enjoy the first days of their holiday.

On Ipanema beach, students on their holiday break have turned out with families from all over Brazil, as well as Argentine, European and Asian tourists.

Naira, 18, came with her family to Rio from the Amazonas region.

"This sun is marvellous, perfect for getting a tan," she says, while her younger brothers builds a sand castle nearby.

Several young people with surfboards hang out together by one of the many stands along the beach where people can rent beach chairs or umbrellas, as well as buy drinks or snacks.

The owner of one of those stands is Edmilson, who has run his business for 16 years and says that he is starting to notice a rise in sales and hopes to do well, "despite Rio's economic crisis".

His main customers are "Brazilians from other cities and Argentines," he says. He's happy with the start of summer and hopes the season is "hot and with no rain".

Edmilson encourages everyone to come to the beach, saying "We're here with open arms for the tourists," adding that he expects "to sell a lot of caipirinhas, beer and coconut water".

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