Monday, January 23, 2012

21Jan Formal night under Copacabana theme

Tan man Geoff posing with us

With Spa manager Rene

Cruise Specialist in Seattle threw fabulous party for loyal passengers who booked this cruise through them.

Greg, Eloise, Jane, Donna, me and Barbie

John, Diane, Ellen, Maryanne and Greg

Our dear dinner table mates in Boa feathers



20Jan Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

On our second day in Rio, we decided to check out Rio’s famous beaches for ourselves.
Copacabana and Ipanema!
They are both famous for songs, too!
From the pier, we took a courtesy shuttle bus provided by giant jewelry chain H. Stern.
After short courtesy of tour in their shop with finest South American gemstone collections, we were on the street of Ipanema beach.
After short heavy rain last night, today is even better with clearer air and brighter sunlight.
We planned to walk from Ipanema to Copacabana beach.
But we spent nearly 2 hours on Ipanema beach with our leisurely stroll along the promenade.
We also need time to go back to the shop for the shuttle bus to return.
Ship was due to leave the port at 4pm.
We were so exhausted by the heat and humidity, we could not go any further.
By midday, the beach was so packed being a public holiday.
It was close to a million people on the beaches.
Full of colorful parasols and beautiful people were parading on the beach.
Sand on this big beach is no more visible!!
Thanks to the public holiday in Rio, everyone is out to the beach.
People must love hanging out on the beaches in this wonderful city.
We took a side street of this chic and upscale area of Rio hoping for some shopping.
Instead we came across a local weekend-style market full of local fresh tropical fruits and flowers.
Sample watermelon, guava and lychee handed out from a generous market stole were so fresh and sweet!
We tried but we were told that it is too early to buy any official 2014 World cup soccer souvenirs.
What a clean, beautiful and wonderful city Rio is!!!
I love Rio!!!

Ipanema Beach.
Road is car free today, public holiday only in Rio.

Ipanema is uptown and very safe. Actually, I was told that the whole city is safer and better for the World cup soccer and Olympic Games.

One of stole selling all kinds of chilies below

19Jan Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Excitement woke me up at 6 in the morning before entering Rio de Janeiro harbor.
Ship’s announcement was saying sun rise will be in 20 minutes.
Last time when I enjoyed the sun rising would have been more than 30 years ago.
It started with misty and foggy in the harbor and Sugar loaf.
Weather soon turned to sunny hot and humid day as I wished and expected for.
We took a ship’s tour of Rio’s Top spots.
It includes cable car to Sugar Loaf Mountain, Brisilian BBQ lunch, Corcovado Mountain for the Christ the Redeemer by tram and Copacabana and Ipanema beach.
What a city with breathtaking view of beautiful harbor!
Surely, Rio deserves to be the number one harbor in the world with its beauty.
Overall traffic was quite bad and the tour guide said that the traffic is worse than usual because tomorrow is a public holiday in Rio.
We returned to the cruise around 6 pm for quick change before we joined another ship’s tour ‘Dinner and Samba show’.
It gave us a little taste of how Samba Carnival Festival parade would be like in Rio.
What a costume and performance!

Doc Severinsen with the San Miguel Five was the entertainer last night.
He is famous trumpets and used to be a musical director for Johnny Carson show.
The theatre Queen’s Lounge was packed even if lot of people signed up for early tour next morning.
He and his crew threw two-thumbs-up absolutely fantastic performance and they received standing ovation from everyone.

City center – modern and vibrant commercial district

Cable car to top of Sugar Loaf Mountain – twice of 3 minutes ride each

Magnificent view from Sugar Loaf Mountain

Another view of Sugar Loaf from the 3rd cable car station

@ 2nd cable car station

Tram station to the top of mountain Corcovado (hunchback) to see the Christ the redeemer
Tram took us all the way to the top of mountain Corcovado and it took about 25 minutes through the tropical forest with full of jackfruit trees

To the top - Escalator after short elevator trip

What a view of harbor, Sugar Loaf Mt. and Copacabana beach on right


Ah! Rio’s beach bodies in bikini!

@Copacababa Beach

Sand castle - thank you for donations ^^

On our second tour of the day, we came to Fogo de Chao restaurant for dinner. I wasn’t hungry from big lunch at all, yet they were serving another all-you-can-eat Rodizio style bbq! Mama mia!
A waiter is posing for my camera.

A collection from beautiful salad bar – delicious, too.

Plataforma is near Leblon beach area and the Samba show starts at 10pm

Authentic Afro-Brasilian songs and dances along with their unique folklore and culture
Dazzling color and costumes are most impressive!

16Jan Recife & Olinda, Brasil

Recife is the second port in Brasil and we took a ship’s tour.
4 hour tour of Recife and historic colonial town of Olinda.
Tour started at 8.30 with luxury motor coach.
After driving around Recife, first stop was beautiful reef beach Boa Viagem which translated in Portuguese for Bon Voyage.
Swim in water is not recommended as there are few sharks around the reef but long white sandy beach is beautiful.
And it is decorated with parasols and deck chairs.
Miles long beach promenade was well paved and clean with tall new modern apartment blocks.
Next stop was colonial city of Olinda 5 miles away from Recife.
Unlike modern city of Recife with over 60 bridges, Olinda was founded by the Portuguese in 1537 and listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site on 1982.
Bright orange, pink, lime, apricot, green pastel colors as well as blue and red are added to stucco buildings and small terrace style houses on narrow steep streets.
There are 22 churches in this pretty town.
One of them is found on top of the hill overlooking beautiful town with coastal view of both Recife and Olinda.
There are lot of souvenir shops and galleries adjacent of the church.
It is really a fun place with their bright colored handicrafts and carnival float statues.
There were also few groups of kids and teenagers who wear samba festival costume and performed for tourist on the street.
Heading back to Recife, we visited interesting handicraft market Casa da Cultura that once was a prison.
Ship’s entertainment last night was production show performed by Amsterdam cast again. They are fantastic.
And, British singer Paul Fredericks was the tonight’s entertainer.
He sang famous romantic songs with amazing voice and is the most popular so far.

Boa Viagem beach, Recife

Historic town of Olinda - Pastel colored houses are everywhere in narrow hilly streets

A church on top of the hill of Olinda with big plaza full of shops and interesting handicraft shops

One of views from the church

What a contrast!
Olinda with modern Recife as background

A street with shops on hilltop of Olinda

Local handicraft

Coastal view.
Mango trees are street tree in Brasil

Another church nearby

Street performers in bright colored samba costume

Fun town

Casa da Cultura - prison turn to handicraft market in Recife

One of the prison cells now is a shop

Fun, fun fun!
Getting ready for Rio!