Tag Archives: Travel

A special Beach Party

The new year has begun in Brazil. Carnival is over, but the summer isn’t quite yet. Honestly, it never really is in large parts of the country, which is so huge and in its Northern part touches the Equator. If  summer is the season of  parties, music and festivals, the season does not need to ever be over, either, right?

In Brazil, you do not need a reason to party, you might rather need one for not being in the mood for a party, should that ever happen some day. To me it does sometimes, usually for no specific reason whatsoever. It does also happen to most of my really close Brazilian friends – but it simplyfies your life if you adapt to the local habit of inventing a reason why unfortunately you will miss this party instead of trying to explain you prefer to do something else… the latter is a time-consuming project and unlikely to receive much understanding.

When you are in the mood for a party, though, there is plenty of choice. Yesterday, there was a special one in Salvador, Bahia: a beach party with a marathon of music shows from a stage floating between the fisherman’s boats in front of the Porto da Barra – one of the most picturesque city beaches. From 12 noon until 2 am, several bands played giving examples of the huge variety of rhythms and melodies, from modern Axé to typical samba and traditional songs performed by regional bands and orchestras from the smaller villages in the interior rural areas of the state. The audience was sunbathing on the deckchairs, swimming or just drifting in the slow waves, in watching the performance on the stage in front of the panorama of the sea and the distant island while the sun was setting behind it. Later on, when the darkness took away the heat of the cloudless day and the almost full moon spread its white light over the scene coloured in yellow, pink and blue by the lights coming from the stage, they started to dance. Some on the sand, others in the crystal clear, warm water of the sea.

Well, maybe you do need a reason for not being in the mood for a party like this!

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A happy new year from Brazil!

Well, you may say, the year 2010 is not all that new any more, except in China, where they celebrated the new Year, the year of the tiger, just on February 14th, while in large parts of the Western world, couples exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts and swore each other eternal love during a romantic candlelight dinner behind windows covered in snow.

In Brazil, none of these customs have been given much importance during those days: it was Carnival. Samba dancers with coffee brown skin in colorful costumes were to be admired in the Sambodromo stadim in Rio de Janeiro and on television screens in Brazil and all over the world. Giant caricature statues of politicians and celebrities were carried through Olinda’s Baroque streets.

In Salvador on Brazil’s North-East coast, popular bands played Axé music and percussion rhythms from giant trucks, so called “Trio Eletricos”, completely covered in loudspeakers, and made millions of people from all over the world dance along the palm-tree lined beach promenade. From Thursday to Tuesday, from noon till dawn, the city gets carried away in a non stop celebration. And even on Ash Wednesday the party is not over yet. Whoever can still stand on his own legs takes part in the “Arrastao”, in which the best bands play this year’s most poplar songs over and over, mixed with songs dealing specifically with the yearning for the next Carnival. Simultaneously, in Rio, the winner’s parade features the best of the best of this year’s samba school contest and the shows com to a dazzling climax.

Only the next day, on Thursday, all is over: the carnival, and with it the Brazilian summer, the time of festivals, shows, travel and vacation, which began for many in the Christmas days. And only when the carnival is over, when all of the costumes shown, all new songs are played and all festivals are celebrated, only then is the time for life to go back to its normal rhythm. This is when schools and universities, shops and offices get busy and lively again. Therefore, Brazilians say: the new year begins after the carnival – regardless of religions and calendars.

A happy new year from Brazil!

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