Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia

February 19, 2015, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Carnival is over but in Salvador it ends later than in Rio, and Salvador claims it throws a bigger party than Rio, which bills its carnival as “The biggest party in the world.” In Salvador the carnival, according to the books I have read, revolves around blocos, or block parties, that have become movable feasts.  Bands played on stages, … Continue reading Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia

What Would St. Francis Do?

February 19, 2015 Salvador, Bahia, Brazil St. Francis would be appalled but would probably recognize it.  I wonder what Pope Francis thinks.  In an ironic statement the Franciscan church and monastery in Salvador, Bahia is laden with gold. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures … Continue reading What Would St. Francis Do?

The Chrysler Building Gets Religion

February 16, 2015 Sailing out of Rio “The Chrysler Building Gets Religion.”  At least that what the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the top of Corcovado reminds me of, although I think this art deco “wonder of the modern world” predates the Chrysler Building. On Monday morning we wanted to sleep in after our evening at the Sambodormo.  Holland America had other ideas.  Some … Continue reading The Chrysler Building Gets Religion

Joyful Apocalypse,

February 16, 2015 Carnival in Rio. We were on our feet dancing for the entire performance of the Mocidade Samba School at the Sambodormo in Rio for Carnival.  This group was clearly a crowd favorite.  When they were announced thousands of people with the school’s flag started waving them and chanting in the stands across from us.  It was magic. It helped that we could … Continue reading Joyful Apocalypse,

Carnival in Rio!

February 16, 2015 Rio Sambodormo is the epicenter of Carnival.  It is a street lined by concrete bleachers, 13 grandstands plus reviewing stands, holding 90,000, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, who designed the city of Brasilia and major soccer stadiums.  The 12 major samba schools perform on the Sunday and Monday of Carnival in a completion to see which school is the champion.  (On Friday and … Continue reading Carnival in Rio!

The Girl in Ipanema

February 15, 2015 Rio Dear Friends, Anyone who has traveled in India, North Africa or the Middle East knows the ritual of a visit to Uncle Tonoose’s carpet shop.  In South America there is a VERY upscale version of that trip.  H. Stern Jewelers is based in Rio with stores internationally.  In Latin America a favorite of many tourists is the H Stern Shuttle.  It … Continue reading The Girl in Ipanema

Manha de Carnaval

February 15, 2015 Rio I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.  Therefore I was rewarded as we sailed past sugar loaf just before sunrise watching the pilot boat drop off the harbor pilot on Prinsendam.  We watched the sun behind us reflect on the water and mountains.  The statue of Christ the Redeemer’s lights went out when the light reached a certain level.  Then we … Continue reading Manha de Carnaval

Clang, Screech, Ding, Ding, Ding

February 14, 2015 Santos Brazil, We’re sailing out of Santos for a rendezvous with Carnival in Rio.  I wrote about Santos Coffee Museum, football and beaches in my last post (click here).  But because we couldn’t get to Sao Paulo due to Carnival traffic we decided to take an historic street car tour around Santos’ old town. Santos had its own streetcar system but now … Continue reading Clang, Screech, Ding, Ding, Ding

The Planters down in Santos all say…

February 14, 2015 Santos Brazil I knew three things about Santos, Brazil, they have a beach, Santos FC was the home club of Pele, arguably the greatest football player, and they “got a lot of coffee.”  I know the last because Frank Sinatra, in a 1946 recording that he covered again and again sang; “No tea, or tomato juice, you’ll see no potato juice Cause … Continue reading The Planters down in Santos all say…

Just a Beach Day, With a Giant Hand and a Totem Pole

February 11, 2015 Punta del Este, Uruguay Dear Friends, It was going to be a beach day.  I had gone through my guide books and decided the highest and best use of this day would be sitting on the beach with a book and some swimming.  With us it’s not always that easy.  We got off the boat and there were some fishing boats.  Since … Continue reading Just a Beach Day, With a Giant Hand and a Totem Pole

Four Icons in Buenos Aires

February 9, 2015 Buenos Aires, Argentina Today seemed to be a battle of icons and it fought itself out in many different visual images and in discussions.  There are four icons in Buenos Aires, two are almost universally loved, and two are passionately loved and hated.  The four are Eva Peron, Che, Diego Maradona and Pope Francis.  Maradona and the Pope are loved, Eva and … Continue reading Four Icons in Buenos Aires

Recycled Carnival

February 8, 2015 Montevideo, Uruguay A week from tonight we plan to be at the Sunday night carnival parade in Rio.  Today we are in Montevideo, Uruguay.  Montevideo’s carnival lasts for 40 days, starting the 40 days before Ash Wednesday.  Instead of parades stages are set up in neighborhoods with performances rotating around the city.  I wish the ship were not sailing at 5 PM … Continue reading Recycled Carnival

Surrounded by Acres of … Penguins!

Bertha Beach is the home of Gentoo Penguins.  Some look a little rough, they are in the middle of their annual molt.  They have finished fledging their chicks, took a swim out to feed and now have to sit very still, conserving energy for three weeks when they will have enough insulation to again go out and feed. These Gentoo Penguins are surfing. This tall … Continue reading Surrounded by Acres of … Penguins!

Antarctic Coda

It’s a day at sea after the Falklands and the Captain, the Expedition Leader (A professor from New Zealand), the Ice Pilot (a retired USCG admiral with 16 years’ experience on heavy icebreakers) and the Chief Engineering Officer are giving their post Antarctic lectures and findings.  We were in Wilhelmina Bay with the whales for 4 ½ hours.  The plan had been for an hour … Continue reading Antarctic Coda

Antarctic Metropolis and Teflon Rocks

February 3, 2015 King George Island, Antarctica. I was startled when I got an SMS message sailing into Admiralty Bay on King George Island.  King George is the largest of the South Shetland Islands off the coast of Antarctica and is one of the northernmost points of land in what is internationally considered Antarctica.   The SMS message was from ATT welcoming me “abroad,” inviting me … Continue reading Antarctic Metropolis and Teflon Rocks

Ice Bergs, History and Politics

February 3, 2015 Antarctic Sound, Antarctica. Dear Friends, Antarctic Sound, at the very northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, is packed with history and ice.  The ice is the reason for the history.  It’s named for a whaler turned research vessel, the Antarctic, that was crushed in the ice here in the winter of 1903.  The ship was part of the Swedish Antarctic expedition which, … Continue reading Ice Bergs, History and Politics

Paradise to a Whaling Captain

February 2, 2008 Andvord Bay, Paradise Harbor and Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctica, During the Alaska summer I get little sleep.  I don’t sleep with curtains drawn so generally wake up early and go to bed late.  I figure I will make it up in the winter when I sleep a lot more.  This trip is messing with my annual sleep cycle, because the sun is up … Continue reading Paradise to a Whaling Captain

Feathered Dolphins.

February 2, 2008 Paradise Harbor, Antarctica. They look like dolphins swimming alongside the boat, but very small dolphins.  But looking closely they are penguins, Gentoo Penguins.  They move quickly thought the water, up for breath, down to swim.  These penguins do not migrate; they stay close to their rookeries, the females feeding mostly on krill, the males on fish and krill.  Both catch food and … Continue reading Feathered Dolphins.