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

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

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

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

Carnival Lisbon, Apres Carnival, Belgrade

Carnival is over.  In some places it continues into Lent with the funeral of Vaal (Carnival) which starts penitently enough but becomes a second bacchanal.  We experienced something different in Belgrade.  As an excerpt from this letter from May 2009 shows.   Saturday morning Suzi and I were having a late breakfast in the outdoor café Via del Gusto.  This Saturday the café music seems … Continue reading Carnival Lisbon, Apres Carnival, Belgrade

Carnival in Dubrovnik

This is Fat Tuesday: Carnival.  I went back through my files for stories about Carnival and came on this letter from Dubrovnik written in March 2000. Dear Friends, Polka, not samba, not calypso, not second line, not even “Carnival in Venice,” but polka.  The carnival in Dubrovnik is about polka, punk polka, polka rock, Mexican polka and even traditional polka, played by a young band … Continue reading Carnival in Dubrovnik