Monday March 10, 2014
The 14th Restaurant Week has started in São Paulo. The event, which comprises other cities such as Campinas and Vinhedo, is offering fixed price lunch (R$34,90) and dinner (R$47,90), with R$ 1 from each meal donated to various organizations.
This is a great time to discover restaurants such as Blú Bistrô, where chef Wlisses Reis is featuring his take on Brazilian culinary with appetizers such as Trem Bão, a Minas Gerais combo with corn angu and cheese, pork rib ragu, and taioba crisps; two options of main dishes, one of them the Arretado - sun dried meat with baião de dois, coalho cheese, and farofa; and for dessert, Maracatu - burnt tapioca with peanut farofa, baba de moça and bacuri foam - as one of the options.
www.restaurantweek.com.br (though March 30).
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Baianas greet a newly arrived tourist earlier today. Photo by Tatiana Azeviche/Setur. View full-size
Three cruise ships with 10,000 passengers arrived in Salvador today, part of a total 15,000 tourists arriving for Carnival celebrations at the Salvador port. About 526,000 tourists were expected in Salvador this Carnival season. It is estimated they would spend R$1 billion.
The MSC Orchestra was the first to arrive this morning. Other ships which made Salvador their port of call on Fat Tuesday were the Sovereign of the Seas and the Costa Fascinosa.
The group welcoming tourists included baianas in traditional attire, a band, and even Bahia's newly appointed Tourism Secretary, Pedro Galvão, who succeeded Domingos Leonelli last January 13.
According to Bahia's Tourism Secretariat, 87% of the tourists in Salvador for Carnival are from Brazil, especially from Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Distrito Federal and Sergipe. International visitors come mainly from Argentina, the US, Italy, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
Salvador is still going to host some great events in its post-Carnival season, for example the Ilê Aiyê Ressaca, ("Hangover", or post-Carnival party) this weekend at the world-famous bloco afro's headquarters.
Sunday March 2, 2014
Toca Raul playing tonight. Photo by Walter Mesquita/Riotur. View full-size
Fundição Progresso, one of Rio's top cultural venues, hosts stellar musical events year round, and greatly contributes to the quality of Carnival in Rio with its annual marchinha contest and several shows and parties. Tonight, as a Carnival ball takes place at their headquarters (a former foundry, or fundição), there's free Carnival at the stage they set up for the festivities at Praça Tiradentes in central Rio.
Besides groups formed in their own musical workshops - Tum Tá Que Tá, Afluente do Céu and Bloco d'O Passo na Rua - the stage is featuring some of the top blocos in Rio de Janeiro Carnival. The performances opened yesterday and continue through Fat Tuesday. Rio Maracatu and Casuarina performed after Tum Tá Que Tá last night: tonight, Toca Rauuul, a Carnival bloco which celebrates the music of Raul Seixas, will start, followed by the great singers Teresa Cristina and Moyseis Marques, who many travelers probably know from Lapa nights.
Tomorrow, Afluente do Céu choir will open the stage with their unique take on marchinhas and other Carnival classics. Next, Banda Fundição, created specially for Fundição's first marchinha contest in 2006, will play hits from the constest as well as Carmen Miranda, Braguinha, Emilinha Borba, Chiquinha Gonzaga, João Roberto Kelly, Lamartine Babo and Braguinha classics. Cordão do Boitatá (feat. Luiza Dionísio and Aurea Martins) will close, with a version of their own street Carnival party - a great opportunity if you couldn't be there for it in pre-Carnival or this morning.
On Fat Tuesday, Bloco d'O Passo na Rua will debut in Rio Carnival and get everyone dancing. Orquestra Popular Céu na Terra will be next, bringing their bright costumes, puppets, percussion, acoustic guitars and brass instruments, with vocals by Bianca Leão and Alan Rocha. The stage season's will close with a Banga! If you missed the amazing Bangalafumenga this morning, here's one more chance to party with them before Carnival is over.
Fundição Progresso - Rio Marchinhas
Praça Tiradentes at 5 p.m. through Fat Tuesday
Photo of courtesy of Fundição Progresso
Friday February 28, 2014
You've arrived in Rio for Carnival and suddenly you realize that you really, really want to wear a costume to the bloco parades. You sure didn't plan ahead like these guys in the Suvaco do Cristo pre-Carnival parade a few days ago. If you're with friends or family, you might have decided it would be cool to dress up with a theme.
You might be hoping to buy a cute, fun ready-to-wear something. Some blocos, such as Cordão do Boitatá, which paraded in pre-Carnival and will have its big Carnival party this Sunday at 9 a.m. at Praça XV (Centro), are big on dressing up.
You bet revelers who "went out" (paraded, in bloco lingo) with Desliga da Justiça, which is exclusively pre-Carnival, have saved their costumes for one of the 400+ street parades which will take place this Carnival and post-Carnival in Rio.
Simpatia é Quase Amor will be back in Ipanema this Sunday at 4 p.m. Here's some inspiration from their pre-Carnival parade.
The primal rescue center for last-minute Carnival shopping in Rio is Saara, where stores selling costumes and accessories till about lunch time tomorrow include Buenas Festas (till 1) and Babado da Folia (till 2).
Hopefully Divinas Axilas (www.facebook.com/AtelieDivinasAxilas), Suvaco do Cristo-supported NGO, will open their shop tomorrow in Botafogo. I couldn't call them to confirm early enough today. On their Facebook page, you can see a photo of the Frida Kahlo and mariachi costumes their artists Tiago Luna and Cris Dutra created for Suvaco's pre-Carnival parade. Beautiful!
Face painting is an easy way to change your looks for your street Carnival experience.
No costume? No worries. Go as yourself. Just carry the bare essentials (I recommend leaving your passport and credit cards in the hotel's safe deposit box and bringing just another form of ID, such as your driver's license, and cash). And have a blast!
Find Your Bloco:
All photos courtesy of Riotur/ Rio de Janeiro Tourism Secretariat. View more photos of Rio Carnival 2014, often updated in real time, on their official Flickr.