Feb.20 – Arrived in Rio De Janeiro. The english translation of that is River of January or January River. We stayed at the Copacabana Palace. A fine old hotel undergoing repairs or renovations at the time of our stay.
The hotel was across the street from Copacabana Beach. We walked the beach for quite a distance and soon found our selfs on the beach of Ipanema. The beach made famous by Antonio Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and Eddy Marnay who wrote the lyrics about a pretty young girl walking on the beach. It is a beautiful place with the mountains and Christ the Redeemer in the background.
The people on the beach represent the country of Brazil, with every color and sized person lying there or playing under the warm sun. It is a wonderful place. However, it is like every other place on this small ball floating in space. There are all sorts of people, some good some bad, some rich, and some poor. It is the nature of the world.
Having come back to reality for a moment, I have to say that we had no problems with anyone during the large marches along the beach before the nights festivities or at any other time in Brazil. Let me add here that in all of our travels, and their have been many, we have never been robbed or harmed in any way. I know it happens, but we have just been very lucky I guess.
We have come for our 25th wedding anniversary. We are coming for Carnival and a cruise on the Amazon.
We have some surprises in store for us. We had planned this trip well in advance and actually were having difficulty getting tickets for the cruise. It turned out not to be a problem. With the world economy in a tailspin now there were many cancellations for the cruise.
February 22 My birthday. We were loaded onto our bus and driven away from the hotel. Tonight is the Carnaval parade in the Sambadrome. The word drome means, “a place for running” from the Latin. It looked like a drag strip. There were covered bleachers opposite us which seemed to be open sided apartments looking down on the wide road where the parade would take place. There were drinks and foods being served in them and there was a great party atmosphere.
Many people were well on their way to drunkenness as the night began. There people straddling a wall in front of the upper viewing areas across from us and I feared that someone would eventually fall, but none did, thankfully. This is a very big deal in South America.
We were seated across from those covered rooms and on open bleachers. There were people there from many south American countries and elsewhere. I speak passable Spanish, so I was able to visit with our fellow tourists nearby and some locals. I was able to get a sense of where all of these people had come from. Some that I spoke to had come all the way from Argentina.
Soon enough the parade began. There were floats and bands and loud music throughout the night. And interspersed in this parade were the dancers. Male and females of all hues and shades wearing different amounts of clothing in many beautiful colors. It was a sight to behold. There is nothing like Carnival, and perhaps no Carnival like the one in Rio. The human body is a masterpiece of design and never looks better than when it is moving to the beat of music.
It was a beautiful night. We all had a great time. There was no doubt about that. However, I am sure that many would have little memory of the night for all of the drinks that they had consumed. The parade lasted until six in the morning.
I couldn’t help but wonder about the people who lived nearby in the low foothills that surrounded us and then it occurred to me that they were either here with us or watching from their homes on television or from their yards above.
There is a long cable that runs the length of the wide street that the performers dance and cavort on. On that cable runs a series of television cameras that send the whole affair out to the entire world to see as they rapidly slide back and forth along the cable, turning in different directions at all times under the watchful direction of those who control them.
Next you will hear about our cruise down the Amazon.
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