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Apparently New Year's Eve is a BIG deal down here in Rio de Janiero. There will be about 2 million people gathered on the beach right in front of my hotel. There has been a heavy police presence in the area all day long and Avenida Atlantica--the main drag abutting the beach--has been closed to all traffic since late last night. A number of barges just off Copacabana Beach are poised to launch a humongous fireworks display. There are already four enormous cruise ships anchored not far offshore to watch the evening's festivities. There are bands playing music and groups of families and friends with their spots on the beach staked out all day. I am planning on taking a "Polar Bear" dip once midnight strikes, but with the evening air temperature over 80 degrees tonight, it shouldn't be a hardship!


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