Recife & Olinda (day 2)
Tuesday, February 21, was the final day of Carnaval 2012. It was also the one day we were originally scheduled to be in Recife, and we had signed up for an excursion to Olinda, which is right next to Recife. While Recife is a large city of several million people Olinda is a small city with brightly painted buildings only a few stories high. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage sight.
We spent several hours walking around Olinda and although it was still late morning, already there were crowds in the street and the city was filled with costumed revelers. We saw several buildings of interest, but mostly we took in the city scenery & the people. Remember you can call up a label for a picture by moving your mouse over it; some labels are descriptive & some aren’t. Of course, there were churches.
There were colorful streets & marching bands.
A variety of people were dressed in costume, some of whom did performances (like the weird boxing pastiche in pictures 4 & 5).
We were told that in a neighboring town inland all the men wear costumes like the ones below so that the women of the town can’t tell who is who. It sounded pretty strange to us – obviously an opportunity for hanky panky – but then most of this stuff is at least a little strange to us.
Houses were decorated in a variety of colorful ways & people watched the passing show from their windows.
We saw some nice views of Olinda & Recife from the top of the hill near the Cathedral.
The Olinda Carnaval is known for its giant puppets, some of which are worn by people & some of which are used as decorations. I’m not sure what the story is behind them, but they are different. The first picture shows a person putting on the puppet costume of a popular Brazilian singer, and there is another puppet sitting in the window.
Now some miscellaneous pictures of Olinda for which I am too tired to think of categories. But the first one is here because Mary & I happened to be in it (just a little bit, on the lower right), & the second one is of an Olinda street the night before taken from the hill (we weren’t there, but its a nice picture).
Around noon we left Olinda & drove to Itamaraca Island where we were to have lunch near a beach. It took forever to get there because of snarled Carnaval traffic and it turned out that neither the lunch nor the visit was worth the lengthy bus ride. Anyway, here we are eating lunch (we are the last ones at the table, so look closely) & a view of the beach.
On the way back we passed through the fateful town where my camera was stolen. Here are a few pictures of the parade there, which I could have done without.
When we got back from the ill-fated trip we decided to walk over to the Recife Carnaval before dinner so that we would at least have a few pictures of Recife (we didn’t know yet that generous friends Patrice & Jeff would supply many more pictures). So the rest of the pictures here were taken by us; most are a little blurry because they were taken at night but it gives you an idea of what Carnaval in Recife was like. First we wanted to be sure to replace our pictures of the synagogue in the first blog posting and the Biblioteca in Recife (which were, of course, a little different because they are taken at night with a swirling Carnaval crowd):
Here is the main Carnaval stage, with a show going on.
Here is the secondary stage at the Recife Carnaval & the square in front of it.
There was a marching band & crowds, often in costume, everywhere.
One of the giant street decorations that we particularly liked was called Belle de Jour, and there was also one of the anonymous men like we saw in Olinda.
That evening there was a Carnaval celebration in the ship’s restaurant, in which all the waiters and other ship personnel dressed in special costumes (they do this often, for a variety of special & not-so-special occasions), as did some of the passengers. Then there was a show about Frevo, the local dance tradition (you may have seen the multicolored parasols used in this dance in several of the pictures). It wasn’t as good as the Samba shows (not even close), but it was interesting nonetheless. While I don’t have a picture of the waiters, there is a picture here of the cruise director in the Carnaval costume acting as host for the show.
And so ended a memorable visit to Recife & Olinda – it was the best of times and the worst of times. But we have gotten over the bad part by now and are just relieved that we still have all the pre-Recife pictures & movies and still have a camera with which to finish out the trip.