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Category Archives: Fashion

Eleven months in Bolivia: “Color me Wonderful!”

In Bolivia there’s always an excuse to bring out colors – by nature, in an incomparable way, or through handmade artwork. Our family of 5 has been at post for exactly 11 months now – enjoying life, watching our kids grow surrounded by new friends, improving their Spanish communication skills, and delighting ourselves with the inherent beauty this country has to offer.  Here’s a small sample of past 11 months in-country:

The majestic sky covering our home, the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz:    

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The fearless colors of a group of bikers cruising the “World’s Most Dangerous Road”

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Despite not having access to the ocean, Bolivia hides some wonderful secrets, like the scenery around the Lake Titicaca

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The unique, multi-color display of beauty… not found in many places like here. Where tradition, religion, faith and pride meet!

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The perfect combination between blues, greens and earth tones!

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The respect and appreciation to others, shown by people from all over the world:

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Our 11th month in Bolivia is ending, sealed with happiness, joy and our warmest greetings to our friends and extended family – wherever they are, please enjoy a bit of our “colorful home“…♥ Now, off to our second year at a great FS Post Assignment - thank you all! :o  

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On your fingertips: stylish mom in a snap… what’s hot in Bolivia for the Carnaval?

Bringing out  fantastic idea, since it’s CARNAVAL weekend all over South America, and Bolivia is no different!

I simply love, love any type of ‘finger nail artwork’. And Bolivia, like any other Latin country, is probably one of the best places to exercise this passion! ♥

How to be a full-time mom of little kids, capable of helping them with homework despite the baby’s high pitch crying, not forgetting to devote some attention to the hubby, and yet trying to look good and stylish according to the ‘Latino’ trends? ? I know, pretty hard, right? We all try to be the “perfect woman-wife-mom”, fully committed with school activities, extra-curricular schedules, reserving some quality time for the growing family, keeping up with friends, being a committed professional…

Sometimes, it’s just too much… And then, you remember: you’re still a girl, and you’d like to (once in a while!) to look good, trendy, fashionable, stylish… not for your friends, your partner, your colleagues at work – but for your OWN SELF. The question: how? You don’t have a whole lot of time for any pampering, and you’re not willing to spend a lot of money. Hummm…

The answer: just give your hands/nails a make-up… a few minutes later and, voilá! The beauty of living in South America is that one is over-exposed to whatever is trendy/hot…. Why not try something new? And, I gotta say, I went for the nails thing… why not a different color a week? Below, a few suggestions from Paloma Cuesta:

Why not go for something different, just for the fun of it? And be a “very trendy & cool busy mom”, even if it’s only for a week! :o Below, a few images, courtesy of the artist Carla Llanos:

Imagen: Uñas Tips con Gel

Imagen: Uñas Acrílicas

Imagen: Uñas Gel con Acrílico

Imagen: Uñas Acrílicas, diseño blanco y negro

Imagen: Uñas, Encapsulado Flores Secas

Imagen: Uñas, Encapsulado Flores Secas

Imagen: Uñas de Gel, Cristales

Imagen: Diseño en Uñas de Pies

What about some stylish toenails? Feet deserve the same amount of TLC… and fashion! :o

 
 
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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in ART, Fashion, photography

 

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2013 arrived in style… 80s Style!

So, 2013 is here… and we got to celebrate it’s first hours surrounded by great music, yummy food, good friends, all of our kids, who joined us for the midnight celebration (yeap, kids were too excited to fall asleep, or even, take a short nap!); while we all watched the fireworks happening throughout the city of La Paz…♥

Earlier, I’d shared that a couple of our expat friends here had decided to put together an 80s party to welcome the New Year! Everyone had a blast, and here are some of the images from the last day of 2012, and the very first hours of 2013.

That’s what the New Year’s Celebration brought out! The best? Definitely the 80s hair styles… look at what people came up with! :o
Someone else who wrote about ‘Style’ for the New Year? Here!

 

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Saying ‘Goodbye 2012′ in style. 80s Style!

Celebrating the arrival of 2013, and bidding farewell to a dear 2012… All with style – 80s style! Could there be a more fun way to do it?

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[A confession, thank you very much, Robert Smith, for not only making my high school/early College years bearable, but also for helping me endure my recent parenting years, as a mother of 3 little ones...

Only another tired mom would understand the calming and motivational power of an 80s song...

 

 

:o Especially if, that same mom is ready to give up on her first-grader's homework on a Saturday morning!

Somehow, the 80s music finds a way to 'reach out to me', and bring me back to reality... Not in high school anymore... the sleepless nights are not due to some term paper or exam...

now, the short nights usually come from a crying kid with fever, or, another one having a nightmare; or simply, missing my well-deserved beauty rest by having a couple of extra 'bodies' in our bed... every single night, since 2005! ♥

But well, that's the path we chose, and the 80s music have always helped me thru 'tough times'... ♥ My favorite, without question, The Cure...

80s Party 06

Wonders that only a blond wig can do! 5 years later, 3 kids, 2 more countries under the belt… the forties have arrived… let’s see what type of hairstyle this mom will bring out! :o

80s Party, 2007Let’s see what the New Year’s Celebration brings!

Now, not only I’ll go to a party with ‘my guy’, but a handful of other ‘accessories’, which will include a 7-year-old boy, who loves 70s & 80s music; an almost 5 year old girl who loves to dress up [like her mother!] and is ‘addicted’ to dance… and a 2-year-old girl, which’s still a bit young to define her style… time will tell…

80shairThat said, getting these bad boys out of the closet [I mean, the leg warmers! mine are pink with white stripes], making sure the hair will be ‘par’ for the celebration, check the clothing colors [lots of them, and they better be bright!], accessories, make-up… and head to the party humming my favorite tunes!

NOW: on my way out to the local market, trying to find some ‘miracle hair products’ for tomorrow night’s bash! :o

 Happy New Year to all of us! 

 

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Happy 237th Anniversary to the Marine Corps! Celebrating in style.

On November 10th, 2012, Marines stationed all over the world will celebrate the 237th Birthday of the Marine Corps. It couldn’t be different here in La Paz, Bolivia. We’re thankful and proud!♥

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in BOLIVIA, Fashion, foreign service

 

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On your fingertips: stylish mom in a snap… and on a very low budget!

How to be a full-time mom of little kids, capable of helping them with homework despite the baby’s high pitch   crying, not forgetting to devote some attention to the hubby, and yet trying to look good and stylish according to the Brazilian trends? ? I know, pretty hard, right? We all try to be the “perfect woman-wife-mom”, fully committed with school activities, extra-curricular schedules, reserving some quality time for the growing family, keeping up with friends, being a committed professional…

Sometimes, it’s just too much… And then, you remember: you’re still a girl, and you’d like to (once in a while!) to look good, trendy, fashionable, stylish… not for your friends, your partner, your colleagues at work – but for your OWN SELF.

The question: how? You don’t have a whole lot of time for any pampering, and you’re not willing to spend a lot of money. Hummm… The answer: just give your hands/nails a make-up… a few minutes later and, voilá! The beauty of living in Brazil is that one is over-exposed to whatever is trendy/hot…. Why not try something new? And, I gotta say, I went for the nails thing… why not a different color a week? Why not try something metallic (see the pictures below, thanks to Lu Tranchesi, and I’m in love with it! Easy, quick, simple, and very, very affordable! Why not go for something different, just for the fun of it? And be a “very trendy & cool busy mom”, even if it’s only for a week! :o

How to do it? Simply get your favorite nail polish (or the one you’ve got handy!), borrow some glitter from your kids, and sprinkle a gentle layer of glitter powder over the freshly coated nail… Just like that! Was it easy? Absolutely! Wanna try it? Let me know how it goes! :o

Nail polishes

 

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The giant dolls parade

Venue & Date: streets of Olinda, Carnaval Monday, February 2012.

The wonderful thing about Brazil is that Rio and Salvador aren’t the only places to experience the Carnival. Smaller towns like Olinda and Recife are as imbibed with the effervescent spirit of the Carnival steeped in strong Afro-Brazilian and Indian traditions. Most tourists head to Rio, but Olinda and Recife are extremely popular among Brazilians, as well as, among tourists.

Visitors and families (like ours) headed this Carnaval Monday for an encounter with the so-called Giant Dolls, an old tradition featuring 9 feet tall wood and fabric dolls, throughout the historic cobblestone streets of Olinda. The most famous doll is the “midnight man” or “homem da meia-noite”‘ coming to life at midnight on carnival Sunday, and officially kicking off the giant dolls party.

Parading bands, under the sound of Frevo and samba, accompany the excited crowd, until it’s finishing line, where all the 50 giant dolls, resembling famous people, celebrities, politicians, meet and dance with the cheering public, for hours!

Heading to the Parade

Where it all begins: waiting for the giant dolls to come!


The Maracatu Dancers, a “former president”, a “current president”, more giant dolls and pure joy!

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in ART, CARNAVAL, Fashion, humor

 

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2012 Street Carnival: Heads with Style

Carnival Heads: Color & Style!

Carnival head decorations, flower arrangements, head pieces, tiaras, hats, colorful hair, any excuse is a good one to come out, taking over the streets, showcasing unique designs when it comes to fun and stylish costumes…

Why not, extend the costumes to “over the head”? :o Too many different styles to choose from: conservative, modern, over-the-top… Pick your favorite, or simply enjoy the endless creativity displayed during the most democratic carnival in the world!

…and of course, as part of this list, our “own” head decoration: when it comes to having fun during carnival, this couple here likes to dare: every day, a different outfit, a different piece of art decorating our heads! :o

"Married Couple", first night of Carnival

Second day of Carnival: Blue Happiness with Galo da Madrugada

 
 

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Having too much fun with Galo da Madrugada! [Camarote Globeleza]

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Galo da Madrugada (Foto: Heudes Régis / JC Imagem / AE)  Chuva não foi problema para brincar o Galo da Madrugada (Foto: Heudes Régis / JC Imagem )

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Fashion, post a day

 

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“Summer Britto” 2012: Galo da Madrugada with art!

“Summer Britto”. Romero Britto is one of the most successful artists of our time. This pop artist uses vibrant colors and bold patterns as a visual language of HOPE and happiness. He has been credited with the largest public art installation in Hyde Park history, and exhibited at the Carrousel du Louvre Museum – an art that appeals to all. what about carnival? The designed outfits for camarote globeleza, as well as tote bags and decoration… All in one place, all during Galo da Madrugada!
É esse o tema do camarote mais disputado do Galo da Madrugada, o Globeleza 2012, na esquina da Dantas Barreto com a Guararapes, na Praça da Independência (Pracinha do Diário). E como o próprio nome diz, é o artista plástico pernambucano, radicado em Miami, Romero Britto, quem inspira e assina toda a identidade visual do espaço, do layout da camisa, com estampa de um Galo, às bolsas do kit-convite, passando por suas típicas ilustrações coloridas e desenhadas exclusivamente a decoração, que terá concepção de Romildo Alves.

E aqui, os “pequenos Globais”… já prontos para a sua festa!

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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in ART, BRASIL, CARNAVAL, Fashion, post a day

 

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Getting ready for Carnaval! {or Esquentando os Tamborins Part II}

So, here we are, a week before the largest celebration this country is capable of displaying: Carnival or, how we say it Brazil, “Carnaval”… Well, not a week from today, but from last Saturday, February 11th, when these pictures were taken from our veranda… People really can’t wait for the real fun to be here…

streets taken by the crowd

The parade moves on, enchanting tourists and beach-goers!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Fashion, Português, post a day

 

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The first 365 days of her life…

“…if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…” ~Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943

For our ‘little rose’, on her first birthday. Thank you for being part of our lives…

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in children, FAMILY, Fashion, LOVE

 

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“Dia de Los Muertos, Halloween Weekend, Snapshots from Scary School and Last Minute Trick-or-Treating”

“Dia de Los Muertos, Halloween Weekend, Snapshots from Scary School and Last Minute Trick-or-Treating”

It’s still Thursday, and we’re already looking forward to the weekend. Our family’s been on a roll since last Friday, with the preparations for Halloween Weekend and all that came with it!

Halloween parties at two different schools, one “scary” birthday party, and a last minute trick-or-treating that caught us by surprise on a Tuesday night (it was Halloween night, so, neighboring kids were just doing their job!) :o

After spending the afternoon at School #1, getting ready for Halloween at School #2

presenting the contestants for best costume!

a happy witch!

The (scary) seniors…

An interesting costume for a teacher/mom…

Coming directly from the Movie to School!

 

And games for the “cyber-kids”:

Weekend event #3, Saturday: Classmate’s birthday party. The theme? Guess! :o

And wrapping it up, husband and I were caught by surprise on Tuesday evening (the 31st), by some neighboring kids, who asked to “borrow” our toddlers for some “last minute trick-or-treating”! We couldn’t say no to that! :o

gotta give them candy.. whatever you have!

Good bye, Joker!

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in children, Fashion, humor, photography, school

 

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Eleven months of folklore in Brazil: dressing accordingly…

In Brazil there’s always an excuse to dress up for parties and/or traditional celebrations. Here’s a small sample of our kids’ past 11 months in-country:

Day of Folklore, honoring a national writer, dressing up as a talking doll, from Sítio do Picapau Amarelo, Ms Emilia, Marquesa de Rabicó:

Dia das Bruxas – Halloween. At school and with the neighbors

Carnaval, as traditional Frevo dancers

Matutinho & Matutinha, ready for the June Celebrations!

and off to School they go!!

 

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Beach, bay dolphins, burgundy rocks, back in a bikini!

As promised earlier, here are some more images from our relaxing-exploratory weekend in Rio Grande do Norte, in the district of Tibau do Sul, a few hours from Recife . We got to spend a very restful weekend at Hotel Pousada Morada dos Ventos, where our incredible host (hotel owner), Tania, made sure every detail would be taken care…

Our favorite part? Hard to say… Somewhere between the hammocks, the short trips to the village, our best Mexican restaurant experience in the NE (so far!), and the peaceful walks along the white sands, searching for dolphins… Kids loved it. Baby napped as much as she could. Mom and dad enjoyed their opportunity to connect with nature, and with themselves…

Feels good to be together. Feels great to be back in a bikini! (Honestly, it was also part of the adventure!)

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Where all the Havaianas in the world come from…

Where all the Havaianas in the world come from…

Paraíba, Brazil

…they come from a single factory, located in a little place called “Campina Grande“, in Paraíba, one of the Northeastern states of Brazil!

Currently, there are more than 40 models of Havaianas and with all the colors available, that adds up to about 350 variations. It makes for any woman’s (or man’s) wildest designing dream!

Finding Havaianas in Brazil isn’t hard – since they’re available at 150,000 points of sale in the country

(I imagine right now my mother-in-law is so jealous…)

However, not every store will have all the models, since a lot of Brazilian retail is based on small stores with a limited inventory. It’s possible to find a pair of the famous flip-flop anywhere you go; even at the most remote beach village in the country – it’s guaranteed that, in the absence of a formal “store” or “market”, somebody would be selling them out of their house! And why? It seems these flip-flops are so much loved that owing one pair, just isn’t enough! It didn’t take long for Brazilians to realize that the frugal design of Traditional Havaianas was great for creative intervention.

Women customized theirs. Surfers started a trend when they removed the straps from Havaianas and put them back on with the sole side up. Tops are currently available in 20 solid colors. They, too, are popular for customizing. Brazilians use them to make Havaianas “bordadas” (embroidered) and “silkadas”, meaning, printed with silk-screen. Images say more than words: take a look at this video!

Even super-models wear them! Luckily Brazil’s got a Brazilian supermodel to showcase the flip-flops – it goes out of the stores like water! Just to top it off, the best reason to have them in your closet: Havaianas give back to the Brazilian  community (and before my husband’s visit to the factory, I had no idea about it!). They’ve done some amazing work through celebrity contributions and donations, and it feels good to buy shoes that help others…

Here are some images from the most recent visit to the Havaianas Factory, in Paraíba, May 2011. And a quick and surprising piece of information: 7 pairs of havaianas are produced per second, and the factory produces 645,000 pairs per day!! Here is where the magic happens:

And guess what my dear husband ended up forgetting to bring from his trip??


 

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Fashion, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Hair Salon for kids in Recife

A place where my kids can get a hair cut, play video games, watch kiddy DVDs, color drawings and play with playdough? A crying-free environment, with colorful walls and inviting atmosphere? Where?

Just across the street from our building! Taking the kiddos to get a hair cut (or, to “color” my daughter’s nails!) couldn’t get any easier… It’s not a task anymore, it’s family fun!

Juba Club Salao infantil, Boa Viagem:

Visit the Hair Salon site: Clique aqui para visitar o lindo site deles!

 

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Will there be life after ‘Carnaval’?

So, here we are!

the popular choice: bright colors & lots of fun!

We’re another foreign service family, posted in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, a place showcasing a magical mix between the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and native Indian cultures. Attractive for its scenery with ocean islands, rivers and bridges, we’re in the middle of a cultural diversity, a place full of history and captivating for its touristic attractions. Somehow, this month I found myself (a working-around-the-clock mom of 3 kids under 6 years old) with enough energy to go out, buy party costumes for the kids’ school carnival festivities, and search for a cute clown outfit for my 3 month old baby. All happening during my scavenge hunts along the neighborhood streets! March has arrived, and we’ve lively experienced the largest street carnival our five pair of eyes have ever witnessed: the so-called Galo da Madrugada (“Rooster of the Dawn”) and the exuberant colors on the streets of Olinda!

This massive parade – The Galo – happens every carnival Saturday, in downtown Recife, capital of Pernambuco. Its creator’s, Mr Enéias Freire came up with the original idea for a street party around the late 70s; and since then, it has never stopped, nor decreased in size!

The Guinness Book of World Records assigns the Galo da Madrugada as the biggest carnival parade in the world, considering the number of participants. This year (2011), my husband and I were invited to watch the official opening (Friday evening), with governmental authorities, as well as the popular parade (Saturday) from the Mayor’s Official Box (“camarote”). At the “camarote”, besides watching the magnificent parade, it was possible to get your make up professionally done, or, if wanted, a relaxing massage while waiting for the brunch buffet!

Observing my American husband’s reactions to the spectacle, it seemed like he’d been blown away by the magnitude of the event, the sheer number of people, the music, the dancing, the party atmosphere… It was simply wonderful just standing up there and looking over the whole thing: the look on people’s painted faces, their smiles, their tears of joy and pride. Indescribable beauty - the number of participants is said to have been over 1,600,000 people!

one of Brazil’s all-time singers, Fafá de Belém, honoring the official ceremony on Friday; special guest for the Galo da Madrugada parade.

 

The Costumes

Yes! Here, you can definitely find and buy anything on the streets; the world is for sale: lots of little “bancas” (street shops) sell everything imaginable, from hula skirts to cowboy hats. From pirate family costumes to Samba Schools full gear. Outfits and suggestions for a 9-week-old baby, to bright appliqué dresses to a ninety year old! You name it, and, if not found right on the spot, believe me, somebody would surely recommend a professional who could tailor it down for you – all before the very first scream from the “Rooster of the Dawn” street parade! Vampires, fairies, columbines, members of the “The Justice League”, kids’ cartoons’ characters, former and current “Country presidents” and “government representatives”… all in one place.

 

Every single possible costume could be found among the party goers. Under one nation – the Brazilian Popular Street Carnival, partying rules are always respected, and everyone enjoys the festivities in peace. Joy surrounds the neighborhoods.

Colors are mixed with the majestic sounds of the African atabaques, the bangôs, guitars, drums, tubas. Cold beverages are sold throughout the path, specifically designed and isolated for the street party. Celebrities from Brazilian television and from the big screen are also present, blowing kisses, to a delirious crowd of frenetic fans.Painted faces, bright from the dripping sweat, reflect the sun light.

The heat does not prevent the people from dancing while following one of the 26 different fully decorated floats on the streets of Recife – this is the first and only “Galo da Madrugada”, a genuine representation of democracy, popular choice and why not say, the pure desire to just be happy, for 4 straight days..

Traditition

Festivities here start around December, just after Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations – as locals begin preparing for the official Carnival, which starts a week (or two, depending where you’re living) before Ash Wednesday. The pre-Carnaval parties usually consist of percussion groups practicing in local clubs, city streets and squares, and even Carnival ball masques. People begin working on the “giant dolls” who will be displayed and gain life during the main parade. The “giant dolls” walk, move their bodies and dance to the contagious sounds of frevo.

There are various rhythms: from native Indian and African Maracatu beats to Frevo and Samba. Carnival officially starts with the Galo da Madrugada, with endless parties in downtown Recife, attracting altogether as many as a million praters and observers, life myself.

There is a queen and there’s a king for Carnaval. They’re both elected by popular choice, during the several “balls”, which precede the Carnaval week. And, to “their countrymen’s honor and glory”, the “royal pair” makes its unique appearance during the main parade. Their exclusive float brings glamour and pride to their “loyal people”, and, why not say, to every other plebe representative, which is watching, mesmerized and enchanted.

manually operated “giant dolls” are brought to life

And, talk about Olinda, with its spectacular scene! Olinda (neighboring city, 15 minutes from Recife) is responsible for many of the pre-Carnaval festivities. Some, actually starting as early as the second week of January! They’re called prévias because they precede Carnival. Extremely vibrant and festive events, offering a sense of the real thing. My family was able to enjoy an array of shows and parades, with many of the city’s best Carnival groups, before and after the “official Carnaval”!

one of the many beautiful & bright streets of Olinda

 

Back to real life, after Carnaval…

Hummm… Ash Wednesday arrived. Officially, Carnaval is over, right? Not here! People just can’t stop partying, and dancing, and singing… Life is more colorful during Carnaval. Life has a different meaning, during Carnaval. For many, the obligation to head back to work and/or school on Wednesday brought a bitter taste to their mouths…. “Is there any way to skip reality and dive back into the glorious sea of people that came to life during the 4 days of Carnaval?” or “How will we survive when all the Aftermath celebrations are finally over?” many ask… Yes, there’s still a trace of comfort for those who are having a hard time facing reality: the weekend has arrived, and with it, the gorgeous sun rays over the Atlantic ocean, right there, by the Avenida Boa Viagem… There’s still hope – let’s enjoy the weekend at the beach, and very patiently, await for next year’s celebration. I, for one, am already thinking about my costume for the 2012 Carnaval… What about you?

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