What Exactly Do You Mean by Remote?

March 3, 2014 Cruising the Amazon “If I mailed a postcard from here who knows how long it would take to get home?”  That’s what one of my fellow passengers said when we sailed into Santarem last week.  “This is so remote.”  We crossed the Amazon Bar about 47 hours earlier so I can see how he would think this is remote.  But depending on … Continue reading What Exactly Do You Mean by Remote?

“Wildlife, Science, History, Adventure.” and Joy

March 3, 2015, 7 AM Cruising past Santarem This is our last day on the Amazon. We reach the bar at the entrance of the river at 1:30 tomorrow morning.  We are traveling fast, faster than twenty knots.  We need to be faster than the river current to maintain steerage. Five days ago we called at Santarem at the juncture of the Tapajos and Amazon … Continue reading “Wildlife, Science, History, Adventure.” and Joy

In the Shadow of the City

March 1, 2014 Manaus, Brazil Manaus is the starting point for treks into the Amazon rainforest.  It sits were Rio Negro flows into Rio Amazon.  The Amazon is swift, muddy, coffee colored, and cooler than the Negro.  Rio Negro is slower, warmer, clearer, looking almost black but often reflecting blue sky and it is acidic.  The Amazon fosters wildlife, has lots of fish, and deposits … Continue reading In the Shadow of the City

Jungle Metropolis

March 1, 2014 Manaus, Brazil We’ve just finished two days in Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon basin.  Manaus started as a mission station and a military base to reinforce Portugal’s and then Brazil’s claim on the region.  I didn’t really take off until the second half of the 19th century when rubber barons created a jungle metropolis dedicated to the export of rubber … Continue reading Jungle Metropolis

A Pleasant Anachronism or Nintindo in the Jungle.

February 28, Manaus, Brazil It’s a pleasant anachronism.  The Manaus Opera House (Theater of the Amazon) was built by the Rubber Barons at the end of the 19th century.  The house is decadent; angels, theatrical masks, a painted curtain and a ceiling mural with a Murano glass chandelier hanging from its center.   It was designed for grand opera and grand drama.  Enrico Caruso was scheduled … Continue reading A Pleasant Anachronism or Nintindo in the Jungle.

Missed the Giant Cashew Tree, Got the Chocolate Pizza

February 22, 2015 Natal, Brazil Poor Natal.  This is the fifth port day in a row and we were low on energy.  Natal has huge sand dunes.  Some took dune buggy trips.  We watched the dunes as we sailed by on the ship.  Natal has a star shaped fort built by the Dutch. (Natal was New Amsterdam before New York was.)  Some went to visit … Continue reading Missed the Giant Cashew Tree, Got the Chocolate Pizza

Asparagus and the Birth of New York’s Jewish Community

February 21, 2015 Recife Brazil What you notice first in sailing into Recife (which means “reef’ in Portuguese, it’s surrounded by them) is what looks like a giant asparagus.  It sits there looking, I think, kind of silly.  When I asked about it a local told me it was a sculpture that represents humanity.  He paused, no he doesn’t get it either. We didn’t spend … Continue reading Asparagus and the Birth of New York’s Jewish Community

Oh Linda! It’s Not a Doo Wop Song

February 21, 2015 Olinda, Brazil Olinda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site six kilometers from Recife.  It was on high ground and so would be easier to defend than Reciefe, so the Portuguese thought.  They were wrong.   The Dutch took it and stripped the churches of their fine baroque fittings and made them into proper plain Dutch Reformed Churches.  Some two decades later the Portuguese … Continue reading Oh Linda! It’s Not a Doo Wop Song

Chocolate Colonels

February 18, 2015 Ilheus, Brazil Ash Wednesday, the churches are open and workers are taking down the bleachers and stages from Carnival and sweeping up the streamers and confetti.  The Prinsendam seems to be doing a little penance itself.  The shore crew told us that the port was walking distance from downtown.  The ship docked a little after 9, a little before 9:30 we got … Continue reading Chocolate Colonels

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?

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!

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