Originally called Sacopenap√£ (a sort of bird), it was renamed in the 18th century after a chapel. These days it's the spiritual centre of Rio. With a beach stretching for 4km, such events as the New Year's Eve fireworks take place here, along with huge concerts and rallies. Rod Stewart holds the record attendance with 3.5 million people, which beats the likes of the Rolling Stones and the Pope ! Unfortunately, the most annoying thing is to have the Barry Manilow song in your head as you walk around ! The fashion for women removing all or most of their pubes began on the beaches of Rio as the thong became increasingly popular. Brazilian women didn't call it a "Brazilian" though. It was first called that by a salon in New York. By the way, if it's completely shaved off it's called a Hollywood apparently !

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