Tag: Brazil

Most of our trip to Rio was an endurance exercise. The temperatures are hotter than Houston and New Orleans (really!), the elusive wind resulted in a fair amount of motoring instead of sailing. There was too much fabulous and food and, of course, Carnaval (which is much like Mardi Gras on steriods). Top of the list, though, was enduring the four nights in the Marina de Gloria in Rio. We arrived in port around 8 pm after a 12 hour open ocean tour. Around 10 pm, we noticed colorful lights flickering in the venue across the marina from us.

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For the next three nights, the routine was the same. Test the lights around 9, fire up the sound system at 10 pm, then crank it up at 12 pm. And the real “cool” thing was that the concert lasted until the sun came up (around 5:30 am) with everyone under the vibrating tent structure actually cheering! No joke! I recalled Amber telling me about these concerts in Europe. Her boyfriend, Germain has taken her to several in Paris during the past two years. Once I realized what we were in for, I knew my job was to educate our crew that we were in for a great deal: three more all night concerts with the driving beat of techno – a retail value of $500 per person!

Surprisingly, all of us joked about our new bedtime/wake up music throughout our time in Rio. I proudly told Amber that we’ve attended four all-night techno concerts when we got home. She quickly dashed my/our achievement when she asked me if we stood the whole time. “That’s what everyone does at these concerts”, she proudly tells me on the phone. No, we tried to sleep in our fiberglass cabins with the sound and vibrations traveling through the water.

It’s amazing how much creativity in differences in style one can hear in a constant 130 beats per minute. Every morning at breakfast, we all discussed what we liked or disliked the DJ like we were veterans in the genre. We all seemed to liked the same DJ that the popular poll at the website shows.

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Germain told Amber that this DJ is one of his favorites, too.

We should have known something was up when we docked. There was no activity in any of the boats already there. Even the marina personnel disappeared, except for the unlucky (or lucky) security.

Fun Stuff

I’m am fascinated with what children know and do in other countries. One incident left a lasting impression on me regarding two girls about 10-12 years old. Several of us jumped into the dingy to go ashore after anchoring for the evening in a beautiful little harbor south of Angra des Reis in Brazil. We went in to check out the bar and restaurant. My husband, Dave, and Diane decided to stay on the Empty Nest.

It is fairly common that the locals come out to each boat to drop off menus or offer to help. As our small group made our way back to the boat, we saw there was a small, wooden colorful canoe tied in front of the Empty Nest. Turns out there were two girls on board talking with Diane, who had the most linguistic skills with Portuguese out of all of us. It appeared to be an animated discussion. We arrived just as the girls were climbing into their canoe, which almost turned over, the bigger girl righting it quickly and expertly. They’ve done this before. Both started paddling on with no preamble or discussion to the next boat in their harbor.

Dave and Diane recounted their time on our boat with us. The girls (or their mothers) had made single strands of beads with a small handmade stuffed dolphin or star about every 3 inches and they were selling them to the visitors in their harbor. Diane said she tried to negotiate the price of their work but the girls wouldn’t budge. Dave told us that the girls were actually quite animated and fun to deal with. By the time they left, they had sold six of their creations at their set price.

Two strong messages came out of this exchange for me as a teacher: children are capable of much more than we think. These girls functioned in their environment with ease, no one telling them what to do, no testing to standards, no adult looking over their shoulder. The second message that I got from this exchange is how the girls stuck to their original objective. Even though both girls were probably illiterate, they knew what their work was worth. They were not willing to take any less for it but at the same time, they made the exchange friendly. Everyone was happy as the girls left for their next business deal.

Several times during our trip, we saw children selling things on the side of the road. Two memorable times were at a construction site on the road and in the historical neighborhood of Rio. One child was selling a local popcorn like snack, the other was selling beer to our open jeep tour stuck on the road because of a local parade. These children are doing what they have to do to survive. Many, many more around the world are doing the same. Our children sit in classrooms feasting on whatever the state says they must learn to be successful. Then they go home to feast on the internet, tv and music. We, as a culture, need to insure that our children can function expertly in whatever situation they find themselves in. Real-life situations and real-life problems are much more effective teachers than any worksheet or test.

Random 'Munchings"