Friday, February 18, 2011

Last stuff from Rio

Rio seems a long time ago given the single digit temperatures and foot of snow that dumped on Michigan over the weekend.
On the last afternoon I went to Santa Teresa to see if I could snap some pics of a Samba band in pre-carnival practice mode. Santa Teresa was established circa 1750 and was initially built around a Portuguese convent built on Desterro Hill. 18th and 19th century architecture lines cobbled streets winding up steep hills and gives a more European feel than the rest of Rio. Santa Teresa went into sharp decline from the 1970's and was for a time one of Rio's more dangerous neighborhoods but has since enjoyed a revival of sorts. Its become popular with artists and bohemians and gentrification is exerting its inexorable will. Tourists have discovered the historic tram line running up the steep inclines and boutique hotels and restaurants are springing up along its route.
The practices happen in local parks or squares at events called "Blockos". I'm not sure if this translates as Block party, but assume it does.
If you've never heard this sort of drum music then you've really missed out. The drums manage to convey a melody as well as rhythm.
Everyone within earshot (except this gringo!) was shuffling and dancing without even realising it. Brazilians can't help dancing if there's even the hint of a recognizable rhythm.
Its in their DNA.
Cachaca is a fire water liquor (think grappa) made from fermented sugarcane
Like rum, cachaca has two varieties, un-aged (white) and aged (dark). White is bottled immediately after distillation and is usually cheaper. Its used as the active ingredient in caipirinha and similar drinks.
Dark is aged up to three years ( though ultra premium varieties can be be aged for 15 years) and is meant to be drunk straight up.
I'm guessing the Popsicles above contain the white version.
That's it for today.
I'm in San Francisco sitting in the lobby of the Westin St Francis as I write this and Brazil feels very far away.
There was talk of potential snow here ( the first time in 30 years) though the blue sky above has put paid to that fantasy. I've been giggling at the hysterics the news casters have gone through at such a prospect...."snow flakes reported in the North Bay area!!!!" that sort of thing.
I'm now flying back to a couple of feet of snow.
Stay well everyone.


siter sara said...

Hey Ter need a shave or what ? Nice to see a photo of you looking so smug ! Wonder why !!! Love ya your sister !

sara sister said...

hey ter need a shave ? good to see you are getting a few laughter lines too !xo Sara