First, it is hard to blog remotely; neither the iPad or iPhone can use flash, and so I am limited in layout. That is why pictures sent always show at a single size AND there isn't really text with it. But enough whinging.
So, I find Rio is all about the beach culture, even for those far from the ocean. The water, wether beach or harbor or views of both, are omnipresent. On the weekends or holidays families from across the city come to promenade along one of the many different beaches. Don't get me wrong, they are NUTS for futbol, but that isn't the overwhelming vibe of the city.
The only thing I can compare it to are small surfing towns. It looks a little like Honolulu, but many fewer tourist compared to locals. Honolulu is like a vacation city. Rio has the relaxed vibe as a real CITY city. The people are really nice here and it is much safer than 3years ago and scads safer than the first time we were here (9years?).