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.

05 Olinda church with scaffolding 83 Olinda cathedral

There were colorful streets & marching bands.

47 Lawyer's office in Olinda 47 Olinda street

08 Olinda 14 Olinda street

75 Olinda 14 Olinda street

71 Olinda marching band 76 Olinda marching band

A variety of people were dressed in costume, some of whom did performances (like the weird boxing pastiche in pictures 4 & 5).

07 Most beautiful man in Olinda  13 Olinda Cow people

57 Olinda windows fake boxer 09 Olinda boxing spoof

   85 Olinda man with big hair 36 Olinda devil girls

35 4 girls in costume 55 Woman in costume

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.

20 Olinda anonymous men 82 Olinda anonymous man

Houses were decorated in a variety of colorful ways & people watched the passing show from their windows.

08 Olinda painted wall65 Olinda decorated house  63 Olinda people in windows

84 Olinda people in window  77 Olinda people in windows

15 Olinda person in window  16 Olinda family in window

We saw some nice views of Olinda & Recife from the top of the hill near the Cathedral.

23 Olinda view from hill 30 Olinda view from hill

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.

10 donning giant puppet outfit 09 Giant puppets at house entrance

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).

79 Olinda Rick & Mary bottom rt 28 Olinda street at night from above

02 Olinda 25 Olinda bldg statue

33 Olinda bldg with decoration 34 Olinda boy in vendor's cart

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.

40 Rick & Mary (farthest away) & others eating at Boa Viagem beach 41 Boa Viagem Beach on Itamaraca Island

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.

43 Parade near Itamaraca Island 45 Parade near Itamaraca Island

26 street parade near Isla Itamaraca 24 street parade near Isla Itamaraca

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):

22 Recife Biblioteca 20 Mary by Recife Biblioteca

Here is the main Carnaval stage, with a show going on.

12 Main Carnival stage at Marco Zero in Recife  18 crowd at Main Carnival stage at Marco Zero in Recife

16 Main Carnival stage at Marco Zero in Recife 17 Main Carnival stage at Marco Zero in Recife

Here is the secondary stage at the Recife Carnaval & the square in front of it.

03 Secondary Carnaval stage in Recife 02 Square in front of secondary Carnaval stage in Recife

There was a marching band & crowds, often in costume, everywhere.

08 marching band near Marco Zero in Recife 09 marching band near Marco Zero in Recife

06 street crowd near Marco Zero in Recife 25 Street crowd in Recife

23 Street crowd in Recife  10 Giant street decorations in Recife

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.

28 Belle de jour decoration in Recife 27 Anonymous man in Recife

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.

34  Frevo show on Prinsendam 33  Frevo show on Prinsendam

35 Cruise Director Linda in Carnaval dress 36 Mary dressed for Carnaval

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.

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