Photography: Exploring the mangrove biome on Itamaraca Island, Brazil.

Our family went on a day trip to the Itamaraca Island, located in northern coast of Pernambuco. There, we had the opportunity to go an boat expedition through the the mud flats (mangue) area. The name of the island, Itamaraca, comes from the Tupy-Guarany language, and means “rock that sings”. The tropical holiday Island of Itamaracá is connected to the main land by a 400 meter long road bridge and is situated just 45 minute drive from the city of Recife and it’s international airport. It has an area of round 65 km² and rises to an altitude of about 20 meters.

The island was annexed for the Portuguese crown in 1526 by Francisco Garcia and in that year the first settler was Duarte Coelho from Portuguese Pernambuco. In 1631 the large fortification Forte Orange was built by the Dutch under Frederico Henrique de Orange, who at one time lived on Mauritius Island. In 1866 a lighthouse was erected on the island. Nature in abundance, cultural and historical sites are to be found on this island which is separated from the mainland by the “Canal de Santa Cruz”.

The “mangue” is a type of vegetation found in areas where the waters from the sea and from rivers are mixed, adapted to the high salinity and to the muddy soil – an unique experience to a biologist mom, a passionate photographer dad and, for our delighted and curious children… See below some of the images taken during the the “Miranda Family expedition” – hope you all enjoy them, as much as we have!

Our family went on a day trip to the Itamaraca Island, located in northern coast of Pernambuco. There, we had the opportunity to go an boat expedition through the the mud flats (mangue) area. The name of the island, Itamaraca, comes from the Tupi-Guarany language, and means “rock that sings“. The tropical holiday Island of Itamaracá is connected to the main land by a 400 meter long road bridge and is situated just 45-minute drive from the city of Recife and the international airport. It has an area of round 65 km² and rises to an altitude of about 20 meters.

The island was annexed for the Portuguese crown in 1526 by Francisco Garcia and in that year the first settler was Duarte Coelho from Portuguese Pernambuco. In 1631 the large fortification Forte Orange was built by the Dutch under Frederico Henrique de Orange, who at one time lived on Mauritius Island. In 1866 a lighthouse was erected on the island. Nature in abundance, cultural and historical sites are to be found on this island which is separated from the mainland by the “Canal de Santa Cruz“. The “mangue” or mangrove is a type of vegetation found in areas where the waters from the sea and from rivers are mixed, adapted to the high salinity and to the muddy soil – an unique experience to a biologist mom, a passionate photographer dad and, our delighted and curious children… See below some of the images taken during the the “Miranda Family expedition” – hope you all enjoy them, as much as we have!

View from the island

Getting ready for some good shots

Entering the “mangue jungle”

oyster colonies growing along the tree branches
deeper into the 'mangue'
'aquatic jungle'
closer look at the populations of oysters and mangrove crabs
tree roots make the best shelter for mangrove crabs

Getting “stuck”… our boat got trapped!

nowhere to go... 😮
We're stuck! Great opportunity for pictures!
intriguing roots and branches...
budding oysters all over the place!

Thrilled “explorers”

family back from 'manguetown'
lots of green on our way back to the island
a fantastic experience!
one happy explorer!

Photography: Escaping from the urban madness…

… a good way to spend the Thanksgiving Weekend with family and close friends. Left the “concrete jungle” behind us. instead, traded the car rides for horseback experiences; went from taking elevators to climbing trees; completely forgetting the crowded streets, instantly replaced by the white sanded coastline…

… a good way to spend the Thanksgiving Weekend with family and close friends. Left the “concrete jungle” behind us. instead, traded the car rides for horseback experiences; went from taking elevators to climbing trees; completely forgetting the crowded streets, instantly replaced by the white sanded coastline…

Table Mountain a New 7 Wonders of Nature

The birth place of our middle daughter. Congratulations, South Africa!

Table Mountain has been confirmed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature after the first count of the global vote was announced.

Below the news link, you will find some images from our personal collection, honoring the Table Top Mountain… Enjoy the slideshow and Baie Dankie!

via Table Mountain a New7Wonder of Nature.

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Ren Taiko: Japanese drums in Recife

 

Getting ready for this year’s Japanese Fair in Recife: (text in Portuguese)

Tendo como tema os tradicionais tambores japoneses, conhecidos como Taiko, no próximo dia 27 de novembro, o Recife Antigo irá sediar a 15ª edição da Feira Japonesa do Recife.

Aberta ao público e com atrações culturais que envolvem desde apresentações de corais e danças típicas a perfomances de cosplays e karaokê, o último domingo de novembro dará um gosto mais oriental à capital do frevo. Então, marque na sua agenda e aproveite a feira para conhecer um pouco mais da cultura nipônica.

What we see at a typical Town Fair: Milton, Delaware

Going through our pictures from the family’s recent vacation in the US, discovered we’ve got way more than we thought… Here are some images from our visit to a Fall Fair in historic Milton, DE:

History & HeritageTown of Milton

MILTON, only 7 miles from the Delaware Bay in a direct line but many more by the convoluted Broadkill, is one of the little old Delaware towns that prospered through shipbuilding and shipping in the 19 century. The shipyards have long ago disappeared from the foot of Union and Federal Streets… The business section displays a rare lot of the permanent store awnings, wood or metal roofed, that was used to shade the sidewalk in front of nearly every store in lower Delaware, but have disappeared from main streets. The old part of the town contains many old cypress-shingled houses characteristic of eastern Sussex County.” – From Delaware – A Guide to the First State, American Guide

Going through our pictures from the family’s recent vacation in the US, discovered we’ve got way more than we thought… Here are some images from our visit to a Fall Fair in historic Milton, DE:

History & HeritageTown of Milton

MILTON, only 7 miles from the Delaware Bay in a direct line but many more by the convoluted Broadkill, is one of the little old Delaware towns that prospered through shipbuilding and shipping in the 19 century. The shipyards have long ago disappeared from the foot of Union and Federal Streets… The business section displays a rare lot of the permanent store awnings, wood or metal roofed, that was used to shade the sidewalk in front of nearly every store in lower Delaware, but have disappeared from main streets. The old part of the town contains many old cypress-shingled houses characteristic of eastern Sussex County.” – From Delaware – A Guide to the First State, American Guide Series, 1938

 

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Feijoada, friends, fun, fairly relaxing Sunday…

Spending Sunday surrounded by energetic kids. Lots of fun, good food, great conversation. That’s how Sundays should always be!

Spending Sunday surrounded by energetic kids. Lots of fun, good food, great conversation. That’s how Sundays should always be! 

“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!) 😮

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

[caption id="attachment_6701" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="presenting the contestants for best costume!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6702" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="a happy witch!"][/caption]

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! 😮

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! 😮

[caption id="attachment_6713" align="aligncenter" width="645" caption="gotta give them candy.. whatever you have!"][/caption]

Good bye, Joker!

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!) 😮

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! 😮

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! 😮

gotta give them candy.. whatever you have!

Good bye, Joker!

Snapshots at the Beach Museum: “skimming the surface”

I recently took the girls to visit the Beach Museum, while my two boys (husband and son) would enjoy some quality time at a nearby Park.

Surf Postcard
(Photo Credit: Rehoboth Beach Museum: archive)

Currently, the Museum‘s exhibit is called: “Skimming the Surface: Surfing, Skimboarding, and Floating off the Delaware Coast” – intriguing and exciting for a curious pair of toddler’s eyes…

Pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayride and pre-halloween events

Leaving our tropical city in Brazil wasn’t easy, but the possibility to enjoy a cool, real Autumn experience, was priceless!

Pumpkins, pick-your-own apples, pumpkin patch-pick in the field, pumpkin patch, already gathered from the field, corn maze, hay bale maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, wagon rides… Humm, and we’re just starting! All art of our R&R time back in the East Coast (more precisely, the calming and relaxing Delaware)…

Still going: Cider mill (fresh apple cider made on the premises), prepicked produce, gift shop, snacks and refreshment stand, restrooms, picnic area, petting zoo… Phew! Lots to do, keeping the Little Mirandas quite busy!


[Photography] Quality time with the American Grandparents…

Snapshots from recent Fall vacation, having a great time with the grandparents back in the USA. 

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“Cooking traditions from the heart”: great-grandma’s New England squash pie

During our time with family in the USA, one of the things I was being very attentive about, was learning from my mother-in-law some of her “secrets“, “cooking tricks” and delicacies, mainly from her dear New England origins…

Among the experiences, which included a 2-day process for making spaghetti sauce with meatballs and italian spicy sausages, stuffed shells, meatball subs, for the scope of this blogpost, I’ll restrict myself to my favorite desert for the Fall season: (New Englandsquash pie!

I keep following my mother-in-law around, trying not to miss a second from her teachings…

A quick snapshot of one of her well-cared “secrets”:

Once the recipe folder is open, she grabs a hand-written recipe from her own mother, and the rest, is just history! To make things easier, here is a simplified scheme for this delicious pie:

the golden beauties: pumpkin & squash

Ingredients

1 can ONE-PIE Squash
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 cups Milk or 1 can 12 oz. Evaporated Milk

Directions

Mix sugar, salt, & spices. Blend well into squash. Beat 2 eggs separately, add milk, stir well & blend into squash mixture.

Pour into 9″ pie plate lined with crust. Prehead oven. Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees F.

Then bake for additional 45 minutes at 375 degrees F.

It looks pretty simple, right? Not really! 😮 I’ve got a lot of respect for this great-grandma’s recipe, and maybe, one day, I’ll be able to bake it as well as my kids’ grandma does!

For now, just cheers from our current tropical setting, longing for the flavors and tastes we were able to enjoy back home!

We also said “I do”… Some 2,922 days ago!

October has become a great month for celebrations among the Miranda Family. Today, the Lima Miranda couple celebrates eight years of married life.

It took me a little while to find my “Mr Right“… in fact, I had almost given up trying, when suddenly, he showed up – the perfect balance for my “high-demanding” – “need-to-be-in-control” – “almost-annoying” personality… And he was the right one. I felt like he’d been “designed” to be my partner for life:

It’s been an amazing journey, filled with love, joy, easy and difficult times, challenges, victories and children – more precisely, three of them – our little treasures: Cesar, Marcela and Maria Cecilia.

Marriage, for the ones who’re experiencing, is definitely not an easy road. It’s bumpy. It’s curvy. It’s risky. No married life is picture-perfect, but ours is worth every second.

Every discussion or argument is a reason for reconciliation. And an opportunity to get to know the other person, a bit more, a bit deeper. One never stops learning. You learn as you go. You learn with your mistakes. You learn by watching, observing, remaining silent, and by letting your thoughts out… [sometimes, not as nicely as you’d expect to do, but, hey, that’s real life, right? :o]

We’ve enjoyed life together… we’ve already accumulated a decade of Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations:

Eight years ago, we said: “I Do“… It was during a beautiful Autumn day in New Mexico, surrounded by close friends and family, gifted by the harmonious mountains in the background, and obviously, greeted by the happy tune of Mariachis… 😮

The Lazo Ceremony
[just for fun] Displaying the Mariachis Parade to the world!
"will you marry me?" and the answer: "always"... 😮


Fun with the Brazilian grandparents!

Nothing better than a holiday in the middle of the week. This year, Brazil’s National Day fell on a Wednesday, allowing the pair of Brazilian grandparents to fly in, and spend a few days with their favorite American kids!

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Photography: sunset over church in Juazeiro do Norte, Ceara, Brazil

celebrating the 2000th Christian Year Jubilee

9 Mountains in 4 continents

Brazil
Table Top Mountain, South Africa
East-Timor, with ongoing construction of a smaller version of the Christ the Redeemer
East-Timor
Along the West Coast of Brazil
Burgundy Mountains in Brazil
view from the top of Table Top Mountain, Africa
Cape Town, South Africa
Mid-West of USA

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“The World That We Live In” has called: places we’ve discovered…

Life’s been busy – kids are back in school, which helps a lot, but also requires new planning, on a daily basis. Back to work. Already tired, believe it or not! In order to temporarily stop the madness, found Brooke‘s  (The World That We Live In) request for the State Dept Blog RoundUp. Theme:  “Favorite Places” – and in Brooke’s words: places you have discovered on your travels that you have loved or that have kept you sane in some way or another.

My favorite places? I hold Southern Africa in a very special place, really close to my heart, for several reasons: our first overseas experience as a family, the first encounter with a reality that I never assumed existed, in good and not so good ways; and my first experience as a single full-time working parent… All in all, great moments, which I’m sharing now:

We moved from Washington, DC to Maputo, Mozambique in October 2006, for a 2-yr hard-to-fill assignment. Our only child then, had just turned 1. Little did we know, I’d end up staying until Oct 2009 with our two children, honoring a work commitment – while husband had to return to DC – but this is probably a too long of a story, and I’ll leave it to another opportunity…

We were very fortunate to meet many different and attractive personalties, each one with an unique life story, with whom we share work experiences, concerns, happy moments. We did travel quite a bit throughout the country: for work and leisure. Visited all the ten provinces, bringing back home material mementos, as well as pictures we could have taken only with our hearts.

Catembe, Maputo

During our time in Southern Africa we also visited the neighboring Swaziland, a couple of times. Calming, relaxing, intriguing country. We got to attend the internationally famous Reed Dance, and were quite moved by it.

I couldn’t forget to mention another neighboring country, South Africa, birth place of our middle child, who’s now 3,5. Between safaris at Kruger Park, visits to the wine country and the cosmopolitan Cape Town, caravan trips with friends to Richard’s Bay, visits to avocado farms (and also med-evac flights!), South Africa was a sure choice for a delightful getaway…

A view of the tip of the continent
Kruger Park

Some people say that the sunset over African waters is almost like a poem… it might very well be!

But the best part of traveling and visiting places, is getting to know people, making true friends. I’m very grateful to the ones we met during our time in Africa, and the many more who’ll come along…

 

 

Friends are, in fact, the most special gift one could bring from any new place… Khanimambo!

Adding more to the collection: the warm state of Piauí

From São Luiz, Maranhão

To Teresina, Piauí

Distance: 205 Miles or ~ 330 Km

state of Piauí, northeast of Brazil

Teresina, the capital of Piauí, is the only capital in the Northeastern Brazil, not located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Although the state carries the unfair lable of being warm and not as attractive as the other northeastern states of Brazil, Teresina, as well as all the other major cities, are surrounded by interesting natural attractions, like several river paths.

several rivers cross the state of Piaui

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Collecting states: a visit to São Luis, capital of Maranhão

From Recife, Pernambuco
To São Luis, Maranhão
Distance: ~ 1,600 km (1,000 miles)

São Luís do Maranhão is the only Brazilian state capital founded and ruled by the French, later being defeated by the Portuguese.

Founded in 1612, the city is named after French King Louis XIII. After the French left, São Luis was also occupied by the Dutch, until the Portuguese colonizers took over.

Unfortunately, not a lot of material evidence remains from the French and Dutch periods, but the historic downtown buildings (+ 3,500), mainly covered with tiles in the manner of Portuguese architecture, respond for naming São Luis a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1997. Brazilian folkloric traditions, cultural expressions, and a resemblance with the “caribbean reggae” are well alive in São Luís. The most important among them is the bumba-meu-boi, a festive pantomime which takes place during June Festivals.

São Luís is known as Brazil’s Reggae Capital. Cultural affinities between São Luís and the not-so-distant Caribbean turned reggae into a local passion with unique traits such as “cheek-to-cheek” dancing and distinct lingo.

 

 

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Watching the sunset from the top of the Duna do Por-do-Sol

One of the few places in the world where the sand dune has its colors changed from beige to golden yellow and gradually to pink, in an emotional spectacle to the visitors.

Before this trip, the last time I’d enjoyed the sun set from the top of the Dune was in June 2001. Without knowing, I was sharing the moment with the one who would become my partner for life. Ten years later, the two of us went back to rescue that sunset we left behind. We succeeded… 😮

“Talk to me, Goose”. Flying from Pernambuco to Alagoas after flooding season

This year’s rainy season is almost over for most northeastern states in Brazil. Heavy rains tend to cause extensive flooding. A good way to visit the sites is by air, since roads are taken by the floods.
Here are images from a visit to the state of Alagoas, after the relief actions.

landing in Alagoas
tents distributed to the misplaced population
overview of the flooding damage (city's outskirts)
a typical resident of the city's outskirts
aerial view of the state capital
aerial view of the coastline

Lazing in hammocks dipped in water: where Paradise and Blue meet…

Now comes the climax of any trip to a fresh water paradise in the middle of sand dunes, along the Northeast coast of Brazil: the Paradise Lagoon (“Lagoa do Paraíso”), the Heart Lagoon (“Lagoa do Coração”) and the Blue Lagoon (“Lagoa Azul”). Just relax at a kiosk and let your concerns melt away in this paradise in the middle of the Brazilian “desert.” Have lunch with your feet in water or a cold beverage in this national park – you choose!  These lagoons never dry, even with the high temperatures of the hottest summer months…

At the Paradise Lagoon, where Paradise and Blue meet, one of our all-time favorite sites:

Now, enjoying life at the Lagoa do Coração (Heart Lagoon, due to its unique shape, inserted between a world of sand dunes)

Calmly dipping into the fresh water, while husband went out exploring the sand dunes..

Eleven months of folklore in Brazil: dressing accordingly…

Eleven months of folklore in brazil. Children, culture

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!!

Ten years ago, the first date. Two became five. The love, remained strong…

Today my husband and I celebrate the 10th anniversary of our first date. Here we are, again at a beach town in Brazil, remembering the first moments. Now we’re joined by a lovely army: our 3 children.

The Miranda Family got to spend the Brazilian Valentine’s weekend at the Love Beach (Praia do Amor), in Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte. Kids had a  great time and the most deserving mom and dad got to enjoy each other’s company. Life has taught us a lot: we’ve been learning how to be more understanding, especially regarding little things, which in the beginning, used to upset us. Now, they just seem so small in the large scheme of things… We’re still learning…

{Note: the children’s nanny also came! (smart, right?)}

More details – about our relaxing weekend, the nearby beaches we got to visit – coming soon… 

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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The Baptism of Maria Cecília – O Batismo de Maria Cecília

Our youngest daughter, Maria Cecília, was baptized on June 5th 2011, at the Igreja Nossa Senhora de Boa Viagem, Recife, PE. It was a very important moment of our lives, and I’m glad to see it happening here in Brazil. We wish our baby girl all the possible happiness…
We’ll be sharing pictures with family and friends, very soon.

Nossa filha mais nova, Maria Cecília, com seus 6 meses completos neste último dia 30 de Maio, foi batizada na Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (vide link no parágrafo anterior), nesse domingo, dia 5 de Junho de 2011. Foi uma experiência muito bonita para toda a família: para os irmãos mais velhos, César e Marcela, e para nós como pais, uma vez que, como a mãe, Maria Cecília veio a ser baptizada no Brasil. Devido ao fato dos padrinhos – avó materna, Regina Céli e avô paterno, Leonel Miranda – não puderem estar presentes no dia, um casal de amigos gentilmente representou os padrinhos. Durante a Consagração à Nossa Senhora, Maria Cecília foi levada ao altar acompanhada da representante, dos pais e do irmão mais velho, César. Seguem algumas fotos deste dia tão importante para nós…

 

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??


 

2011 largest open air theater in the world.

The “Passion of the Christ” enactment is a major celebration in Brazil, and marks the end of Lent in the Country. This is my first bilingual post, or, at least, the first attempt! This is a way to honor our host Country, its people and my roots, especially the one who taught me to understand, respect and appreciate traditions – my mother, who turns 71 today…

The beginning - Início do espetáculo

Enjoy the short movies showing The Last Temptation, The Last Supper and The Crucifixion.

(Português) Veja texto em Português logo a seguir, após o texto em Inglês! Aproveitem as imagens e vídeos sobre a Tentação, Última Ceia e Crucificação“…

April 14, 2011. Husband and I left Recife and went to Nova Jerusalem, Pernambuco. Guests for the official pre-opening for the reenactment of the Passion of Christ that takes place every Easter Week (Semana Santa, or Holy Week) in Nova Jerusalém, an open air theater-town in Fazenda Nova, a district of Brejo da Madre de Deus, in Pernambuco.

Guard at the entrance - À entrada da Cidade-Teatro

The rock walls of Nova Jerusalém (New Jerusalem) enclose an area of about 38 square miles and nine sets. Nova Jerusalém is the largest open air theater in the world. The Passion of the Christ is performed every year at Easter in a purpose-built 100.000m2 theatre-city in the arid backlands of Pernambuco, in Northeastern Brazil.

guest passes - convites oficiais

Thousands of visitors arrive every year to watch the performance. New Jerusalem is a theater-city, surrounded by a stone wall, with 7 doors and 70 towers, spread in an area of about seventy thousand square meters, which is equivalent to one-third of the encircled area of Jerusalem in Jesus Christ’s days.
Scattered throughout this area, it’s possible to find the 9 stages, which are in fact, buildings made of granite, corresponding to the acting & make up scenery, route that public and actors must follow. In Nova Jerusalém during every night of Holy Week, and on Easter Saturday evening, the story of Christ’s Passion and Death is presented.

State Governor & First Lady - Eduardo Campos e Renata

We left Recife on a tour bus provided by the State government around 2:30pm and arrived at the Theater Site at almost 6pm. All the official guests headed out to the open air theater/built city. The enactment began a little past 6pm, with the actors and spectators  moving from one Station to another, as the play went on. All in all, great acting, very emotional moments, and indescribable experiences – hope the images help to explain the magnificence of the event.

Background: The object of the Stations (of the Cross) is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating upon the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death. It has become one of the most popular devotions for Roman Catholics, as well as featuring other Christian artifacts of the local area.

Feel free to share and/or use the images, just making sure you mention the source. The 2 “photographers” over here will be happy to see their “work” shared away….

THE PLAY:

(Port)
 Os Profetas Moisés e Elias anunciam a vinda do Filho de Deus. Jesus aparece transfigurado entre os dois profetas.

First appearance - Jesus aparece ao fiéis entre anjos

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

The Sermon 

(Port) Sermão da Montanha:
Jesus prega à multidão, acolhe as criancinhas, cura e ensina o Pai Nosso. Ao saber da prisão de João, o Batista, decide seguir para Jerusalém.

Jesus speaks to the crowd in the desert - A pregação
Jesus and the faithful - Pregação aos fiéis

Discussion at the Temple 

(Port) Discussões no Templo: 
Jesus entra triunfalmente em Jerusalém, aclamado pelo povo. Expulsa os vendilhões do Templo e discute com fariseus, escribas e doutores da lei.


Jesus says goodbye to the apostles - A despedida dos apóstolos

The Last Supper 

(Port) A última ceia:
 Jesus reúne os seus discípulos para a Última Ceia e deles se despede, dando-lhes o pão (o seu corpo) e o vinho (o seu sangue).

"The body and the blood"- "Eu sou o Corpo e o Sangue"
Last Supper - Consagração
The Last Supper - a Ceia com os Apóstolos

Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested – A Traição de Judas e a Prisão de Jesus

Judas betrayed Jesus
Preparation for the arrest - Jesus prepara-se para a prisão

The Temptation

A tormented Jesus - Jesus atormentado busca auxílio do céu

(Port) Agonia no Horto: 
Jesus sofre antevendo sua Paixão e Morte.

Herode’s Feast (Port) O Bacanal de Herodes

Herodes and his guests - Convidados do bacanal de Herodes
Herodes Feast - O Bacanal de Herodes

Jesus is judged by Pilate, Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
O Julgamento de Jesus, a Condenação

The Palace – Ao Palácio para Julgamento
Jesus is questioned – Pilatos questiona a Jesus
Jesus is asked to perform a miracle – Pilatos pede a Jesus um milagre

(Port) Jesus perante Herodes e Pilatos:

Herodes pede a Jesus um milagre e não é atendido. Irritado, o rei manda-o de volta a Pilatos. 
O Pretório Romano é invadido pela multidão e pelos que querem a morte de Jesus. Pilatos, o Procurador de Roma, chega ao Pretório numa biga romana e saúda os seus legionários.

Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns, Jesus takes up His cross and is helped by Simon to carry His cross – (Port) Humilhação e Coroação de Jesus, Jesus leva sua Cruz

Jesus is brought out to judgement - Jesus é trazido a julgamento

Jesus suffers


Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem – (Port) O Encontro com as Mulheres de Jerusalém

O perdão à Maria Madalena


Mary and John - à espera de Jesus

Jesus is crucified, Jesus promises His kingdom to the repentant thief, entrusts Mary and John to each other – Crucificação

Jesus dies on the cross

Jesus arrives at the Crucifixion site – A chegada à Gólgota
Preparing the criminals for the death penalty – Preparação
Last words to His Mother – Últimas palavras à Nossa Senhora

Jesus dies – A morte de Jesus.

It started raining torrentially after Christ’s Crucifixion (?), making impossible to take photographs from the Ascension to Heaven… Fortunately, we brought home “heart pictures” and emotional memories…

Photographer #1
Photographer #2

myspace layout codes

in Portuguese/em Português:

Das ruas para o maior teatro ao ar livre do mundo, assim começou a ser encenado o espetáculo da Paixão de Cristo de Nova Jerusalém.

 Era 1951 e o comerciante Epaminondas Mendonça teve a ideia de realizar pelas ruas da pequena vila de Fazenda Nova, no período da Semana Santa, a encenação da vida, morte e ressurreição de Jesus Cristo. 

A inspiração partiu após ler em uma revista como os alemães da cidade de Oberammergau realizavam uma apresentação semelhante.

 Enquanto Epaminondas atraia hóspedes para o hotel da família e movimentava o comércio local, Sebastiana, sua esposa, de veia artística cultural e teatral, cuidava da direção do espectáculo.
De maneira simples, porém criativa, as apresentações contavam ainda com a participação de familiares, na maioria mulheres, e amigos que juntos contracenavam nas ruas utilizando-se do cenário local. 

No ano de 1956, Plínio Pacheco chega a Fazenda Nova e encanta-se pela bela atriz Diva Pacheco, filha de Epaminondas. 

Desde então são 42 anos de representações ininterruptas dentro das muralhas, atraindo espectadores do Brasil e do mundo. O espetáculo, que chega a sua 44ª edição, será encenado entre 15 e 23 de abril. Neste ano, Lacerda, que completa 33 anos, representará Jesus Cristo pela terceira vez. Já Fafá estreia no papel de Maria, mãe de Jesus. O elenco conta ainda com a atriz Vanessa Lóes, mulher de Lacerda, como Madalena; Sidney Sampaio, como Pôncio Pilatos; e Carlos Reis, Herodes.

Também na primeira apresentação deste ano foi usado, pela primeira vez, o recurso de áudio-descrição para deficientes visuais. De acordo com a organização, o sistema permitirá que o público, com um fone de ouvido, escute uma narrativa sobreposta ao som original da peça descrevendo imagens, sons e textos. A encenação da “Paixão de Cristo” é dublada. Em 2010, 80 mil pessoas vindas de 22 estados brasileiros e 12 países assistiram ao espectáculo. De acordo com a organização do evento, a ideia de construir uma réplica da cidade de Jerusalém para as encenações da “Paixão” foi de Plínio Pacheco, que chegou a Fazenda Nova em 1956. O fascínio que o espetáculo da Paixão de Cristo de Nova Jerusalém exerce no público não está apenas na grandiosidade das construções, na atmosfera que ali se respira e na beleza da história de Jesus. Reside também na participação ativa do público, diante da mobilidade das cenas. Entre um ato e outro, uma multidão movida pela emoção passada pela boa interpretação dos atores, caminha entre os cenários, transportando-se por algumas horas à época de Cristo e revivendo sua saga.

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Far East: work trip to Indonesia & East Timor

The year: 2009. Raquel and kids in Mozambique. Leonel back in DC. Everyone working. Before the family got together again that year, Leonel had a couple of work trips. In the itinerary: East Timor – Dilli (former Portuguese Colony) and Indonesia (visiting Jakarta and Bali). Enjoy the beautiful images he brought back home – and it’s okay to be jealous… I was!

Dili-Timor




Indonesia




Asante Sana, Swaziland

This is the third post on our time in Southern Africa, while posted in Mozambique with the State Dept (2006-2009). Swaziland is a living wildlife sanctuary, a great place for a restful weekend, and is covered with tradition, history and excitement. We had the opportunity to witness the Annual Reed Dance, a unique spectacle, only described by images – no words would do justice to the exotic beauty!

Swaziland is home to glass (Ngwenya Glass Factory), batik and candle factories and Swazi candles (Ezulwini Valley) are handmade using the age-old trade bead technique perfected in the glass making city of Murano, Italy. This technique is called Millefiore and it was adapted and utilized in the African candle making craft. Millefiore means “thousand flowers” and was first used in ancient Alexandria and perfected in Venice and Murano and it is now a major attraction in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Find here wonderful images of the Candle Factory in Swazi! The website owners did a much better job than I could’ve ever done!

Baie Dankie (“thank you”!), South Africa – Animals and Memories.

Continue reading “Baie Dankie (“thank you”!), South Africa – Animals and Memories.”

Khanimambo, Moçambique

This post is the first one of a series. Here a few images from places we got to discover because of work… Travel & work sometimes, surprise us with very positive results!

As you may know by now, being together as a family is the most important thing for us…
This post is dedicated to our daughter Marcela, born in Pretoria, RSA, while we were posted in Mozambique.

During those 3 very intense years, we had the opportunity to visit South Africa several times, go on Safaris at the Kruger Park, walk by the Waterfront in Cape Town, visit the wine country (Stellenbosch), enjoy the Reed Dance in Swaziland…

Struggled for the first time as a single-mom, when husband left to Rwanda for the PEPFAR conference, and exercised the same single-motherhood skills for almost a year when he was back in DC, for work.

And we all survived. And we all learntlots of fun stuff! We also had a few med-evacs to RSA (FS families know exactly how intense med-evacs could be!), but hey, it is all part of the package!

Enjoy the images! Khanimambo, Moçambique!

Mozambique, Southern Africa, 2006 – 2009. Visiting all the 10 provinces & Capital Maputo

Golfing for Japan: expats in Recife (Brazil), united for Japan

Living overseas brings you countless opportunities. Today, my family enjoyed a wonderful morning with other diplomatic and expat families. Helping is fun and rewarding.

My husband was one of the 36 guest players. The tournament included representatives from the US Consulate, French Consulate and from the host Japanese mission… All players were asked to provide an “entry fee” for the tournament, which would be transferred to the Japanese Red Cross.

I’m proud of my husband, as an amateur player and as an example to other parents, and brought our kids to support the effort in helping the Japanese Consulate in Recife to raise money to help the victims of the recent tsunami…

The participants were greeted with a great luncheon provided by the Japanese Consulate and we all enjoyed a great performance offered by the musical group Ren Taiko, which means “Lotus Opium“.

Event: Fundraising Golf Tournament, coördinated by the expat community in Recife, PE. Including representatives from the Consulates in town, expatriate families, businessmen.

Venue: The Caxanga Country and Golf Club in Recife

Date: April 3, 2011.

 

Pictures to come soon! In the meantime, I’d like to show my gratitude to the Consulate of Japan in Recife, for allowing us to enjoy a very nice Sunday, surrounded by friends.

 

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!

Ending the African Chapter (for now!): Rwanda

Date: June 2007.

Work trip to Kigali, Rwanda, for the PEPFAR Implementing Partners Meeting. Leonel got to visit the Capital, learn about the Country’s history and attend the Conference.
Raquel stayed back in Maputo (Mozambique), recovering from an extended work trip to the province of Zambezia. And it all happened before we learnt that we’d become parents a second time…

 

Mr & Mrs Leo Miranda visit Brazil for the first time!

Nana and Abuelito visited Recife, and Brazil, for the first time (Feb 2011). Met their newest granddaughter, Maria Cecília, toured around the city, experienced the endless beauty of Olinda and enjoyed a restful weekend at a beach resort, in Porto de Galinhas. Life is good…

Click on the images to zoom them out!