If you have been following this blog, you must have heard about the amazing trip to Brazil my friends and I recently took. You must have heard me remark more than once about how incredibly lucky we got. We are back home in Cebu already, but I am still in that wide-eyed, jawdrop, headshaking mode, believe it or not, and I hope I never recover.
See, one thing I learned in Brazil is to live a life in constant total amazement. To always be awake and look at life as if you only have eight days of it to live. Havaianas Philippines certainly knew something we didn’t when they launched the Happy Soles Will Travel video contest. Now I’m a believer, eight days in Brazil can change you.
Where do I begin?
Perhaps, I should take you back to where this amazing journey began. One dreary Monday morning at the office, as dreary as Monday mornings go, I received a chat message from Chico.
“How would you like to go to Brazil?”
“Hm? How?”, I asked.
He then shared a link to a web article on “Havaianas Happy Soles Will Travel To Brazil,” and having read the mechanics, and discussed with Chico the concept of our would-be video, I thought: Hm, this is actually doable. And winnable. Thus the single step to a thousand-mile journey has been taken.
Two days later, we were in a coffee shop with Chico, Audie and other friends discussing the storyboard. You would think we were competing for a Palm d’Or at Cannes with the mountain of ideas we were churning out for a video that will last all of 60 seconds.
And so we trooped to the shoot’s location in Audie’s neighborhood one Saturday afternoon, armed only with two iPhone 3GS cameras and a few makeshift drums made out of tin cans from my mother’s garden. While we were secure with our own concept for a story, we had no idea what to expect since we have yet to assemble our unwitting cast on the spot.
Turns out we needn’t have worried. A group of street kids were nearby playing patintero. A neighbor readily agreed to drive his car and play the grumpy driver, no script needed. Audie’s sister Brax was game for a cameo. And lady luck was really on our side that day, as a drum-and-bugle group just happened to be rehearsing by the sidewalk that afternoon! When we asked them right then and there to be part of our little video, there was ZERO hesitation on their part! The kids, especially, were so excited to be part of what they probably believed was an actual film shoot, and their delight just shines through on some of the scenes.
So we shot the scenes for 2 hours. It was pure, unadulterated guerilla filmmaking. As things with no clear planning go, there were some hitches along the way. Watch “The Happy Soles Winning Video: Bloopers, Sweat and Tears” below:
We shot over 2 hours worth of scenes and Chico took on the herculean challenge of splicing it down to the acceptable one-minute length. We submitted the final video below an hour before the May 2, 10 pm deadline. Two days later, I got the happiest, most jaw-dropping, cartwheels-inducing phone call of my life (well, thus far, in hindsight): we have been shortlisted in the Top 10!
Right before that moment, I never really thought we’d make it that far, and was already very gratified with the experience of having made the video. But when I learned that we now had a real shot — a 1/10 tangible probability, exactly — of actually winning, of actually going to Brazil, I realized that anything less than first place would just not cut it. Friends who know my competitive streak would agree, there was nothing stopping me and my friends from going to Brazil!
But first there was the matter of getting the most number of votes. To cut the long story short, we asked, begged, bribed, cold-called, pestered, stalked friends, family, officemates, churchmates, acquaintances, gymmates, practically anyone who will listen. Workloads suffered, romantic relationships were set aside, sleep and the usual happy-go-lucky routines were sacrificed. We were on fire! When you’re as competitive as I am, you actually live for times like this. And also, for moments like THIS:
I apologize for the incessant shrieking in the background. Pasensya na. I was simply happy beyond words :) You would be too, if you knew you would actually be taking the trip of your lifetime.
Maybe it was no coincidence that the prize destination was Brazil. My friends and I are lifelong lovers of Brazil and its culture. I am a true-blue (read: rabid) supporter of Ronaldo and Brazilian football since college when I started playing myself. Chico has been studying hand percussion, bossa nova and samba music and has been trying to learn Portuguese. Audie is a foodie who has been dying to taste authentic Latin American cuisine. Oona has had Rio de Janeiro on her bucket-list as a dream itinerary. Nothing is a coincidence, it was written in the stars!
Chico, Audie, Oona and I started the actual trip with a visit to the Havaianas main office in Makati on July 2, where we met the lovely people behind the Havaianas marketing campaigns, Luanne, Moch, Evi and Jojo. They briefed us with what to expect during our trip to Brazil and heaped on us a gazillion of gadgets and goodies from Sony, David and Goliath and Aloha Boardsports. I mean, I knew we were getting these prizes as they were advertised beforehand, but at some point, I really felt it was all too much. Brazil was already an indescribably wonderful blessing, and there I was unable to hold all these gifts with my two scrawny arms. It would have been uncool to burst into tears (of happiness), as I have been known to do sometimes, quite embarassingly, so I tried not to. It would have ruined the photo op anyway.
The rest, as they say, is history. I hope I have been able to adequately share with you the joys and thrills of our 8-day adventure in Brazil through the photos, videos and anecdotes in this blog. I hope that by spreading the word about how Havaianas has truly made us happy souls, we have helped spread happiness into your days as well.
Muito obrigado, as they say in Portuguese, to Havaianas Philippines for this beautiful, beautiful gift which have been given to us. And they say that when you realize you have been so blessed, there’s only one thing left to do: be a blessing to others as well. Yes, I will continue being a happy sole and spread happiness in whatever way I can!
Thank you to all Havaianaticos who supported the Happy Soles Will Travel to Brazil contest. Your active participation in the voting process meant a lot to the top 10 finalists. For me, to hear people I don’t really know personally tell me how much they appreciate our video is already a prize in itself, to be honest. Some of you even became our new friends :)
Thank you to all our friends and families who were patient with our pestering throughout the whole campaign.
And thank you most of all to the Father Almighty, who only has the best-laid plans for each one of us and who promised that whatever you ask for in prayer, so long as you believe, shall be made yours. To Him be the glory.
Hey, next time we meet, how about a little jamming session with our drums? I bet I can make you smile in seconds :)
Cheers to happiness,
Day 8: Flight back to Sao Paulo, Lunch at Rascal in Paulista, World Cup finals!
Today, we bid goodbye to Rio: the amazing sunrise from our hotel window, quiet strolls by Copacabana beach, the bohemian night scenes of Lapa among others. We caught a 10 am flight back to Sao Paulo where we are to catch our flight back to the Philippines in the evening.
We tried to push back the bittersweet thoughts of going home from our minds, because we still have a full day in cosmopolitan Sao Paulo ahead of us! Here we had lunch at Rascal restaurant in Paulista, where we were treated to the tastiest pasta, salads and pizza buffet!
After the filling lunch, we went for a last-minute visit to that Havaianatico mecca, the Havaianas Concept Store in Oscar Freire Street! Remember the last time we only had a little more than an hour to complete our shopping spree and we didn’t have time to visit the Make-Your-Own-Havaianas nook of the store. So we’re definitely not going home without having our own customized pair! Even if there would be an MYOH event in Cebu when I get home, I can’t pass on the chance to bragging rights of having my own made in Brazil, no less!
And to cap my Brazil experience quite fantastically, a chance to see these two teams duke it out for the FIFA World Cup championship later!
Cristiane drove us to a couple of venues where we could watch a live telecast of the games. Brazil being a football-mad nation, all bars were packed and we had to wait for a while to find seats. If you ask me, the more crowded, the better!
The crowd was rooting for Spain to win, because the Netherlands beat Brazil in the quarterfinals. See the crowd below, patiently waiting for the first goal. It turned out it won’t come until 116 minutes later.
The crowd reacts to Spain’s goal in extra time! Woo-hoo!
Audie was rooting for the Netherlands, so he doesn’t look too thrilled here. But we were going crazy as with the rest of the crowd. Imagine what it would feel like if Brazil was actually in the finals! And that’s motivation enough for me to come back to Brazil in 2014, when they will actually host the World Cup!
We then headed back to our hotel to do the most dreaded task, which is to pack for our trip home. (Insert uncontrollable sobbing here.) It’s been the sweetest 8 days in Brazil and we are incredibly saddened that it’s about to end.
We had one final dinner with Ammiel and Cristiane at the L’Hotel where we shared favorite memories and anecdotes from our 8 days in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Here, Ammiel makes me teary-eyed with his speech.
Now, I’m in full sobbing mode! Ammiel is really good at making me cry!
We also took the chance to show our appreciation for Cristiane’s hardwork and patience with us. Seriously, she’s the best tour guide in the world! If you ever want to go to Brazil and need someone to show you around, you’d be in fun and capable hands.
She’s delighted with a charming bead necklace we secretly spied her eyeing in a little shop back in Sta. Tereza in Rio de Janeiro.
We also exchanged numbers and e-mails. We found a friend in Brazil! When we come back in 2014 for the World Cup, we’re definitely seeing Cristiane again!
All our bags are packed and we’re ready to go! Here, we have one for the road before we kissed and hugged and said our goodbyes.
Then, off we went to the van that would take Cristiane and us to the airport, and to the 14-hour flight to Dubai and 8-hour flight to Manila, during which we will be sleeping with smiles on our faces, dreaming about the fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime experience that has been Brazil. Cue the sweet mellow tunes of bossa nova blaring from the headphones of our Sony Walkmans…
Feeling so lucky,
On our last day in Rio de Janeiro, Cristiane gave us the rest of the afternoon off to enjoy Brazil’s most famous beach, Copacabana. Everyday, we wake up to the amazing sight of the beach just below our hotel window and have been enjoying great morning jogs or quiet strolls whenever we can squeeze the time. But since we have had such a jampacked schedule to see the rest of Rio, we were really excited to make the most of a whole afternoon off!
Copacabana is a borough located in the southern zone of the city, known for its 4 km beach which is famous worldwide. Copacabana begins at Princesa Isabel Avenue and ends at Posto Seis. Beyond Copacabana, there are two small beaches, one inside Fort Copacabana and other, right after it: Diabo Beach. Arpoador beach, where surfers use to go after its perfect waves, comes in the sequence, followed by the famous borough of Ipanema, which I’ve posted photos of earlier.
Thank you Havaianas for bringing us happy soles all the way here! We feel like the luckiest people alive!
Not fair, Audie. We agreed to jump at the count of three!
We met a group of Filipino seamen enjoying a break from their cruise duty. They can’t believe our little story on how we got to Brazil, by winning the Happy Soles contest. I know, even I still find it incredible sometimes!
Oona, Audie and I make a break for the gigantic waves! It is winter in Rio de Janeiro and the water was chilly, but no way that’s keeping us from swimming!
We found a pair of capoeristas practicing their routines and of course, jumped at the chance to learn and show off moves of our own!
For me, what better way to cap the afternoon than to watch a World Cup match by the beach. Chico and I watched Germany beat Uruguay for a third place finish and partied with thousands of other spectators!
Day 7: Historical City Center Tour (Mosteiro do Sao Bento, Candelaria Church, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Municipal Theather, National Library), Confeiteria Colombo, flea markets, Copacabana, dinner at La Fiducia, last chance to SAMBA!
Bom dia, happy soles!
Today is our last full day in Rio de Janeiro so we were a bit sad at this thought, but there is no room for unhappiness in Brazil so as usual, we started it with much feverish gusto as ever: morning jog along Copacabana beach, hearty breakfast at Porto Bay Hotel while swapping memories from the previous days’ trips caught on our Sony Handycam, Cyber-shot and Bloggies.
Cristiane planned for us a trip to the historical city center and first stop was the Mosteiro do Sao Bento, a Benedictine Monastery founded in the 17th century. Outside, visitors are greeted by an unassuming facade, but it is a different story once you step inside.
The baroque interior abounds with gold and silver, from the wood carvings of the altar to the spiral columns. On Sundays at 10am is a special attraction, the celebration of a Gregorian chant mass.
It was a Saturday so traffic in the city center was lighter than usual, and the sky was overcast which made it a perfect day for strolling.
Cristiane then took us next to the Candelaria church.
The Igreja da Candelária, as it is caled in Portuguese, is an important historical church built and decorated during a long period (1775 to the end of the 19th century). It combines a Baroque façade with a Neoclassical and Neo-Renaissance interior decoration.
The main façade shows Baroque influences in the design of the windows, doors, and towers, as well as Neoclassical influences in the bi-dimensionallity of the façade and the triangular pediment. The façade contrasts the dark granite of windows, columns and other elements with whitewashed wall segments, a typical characteristic of colonial churches in Rio.
Nearby was the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, which is a contemporary art space built through the initiative of the Bank of Brazil and is located in what used to be Rio de Janeiro’s financial district.
It houses three theaters, four exhibition rooms, a library, cinema, and a video room, a large exhibit of fine arts and photography, with some permanent exhibitions like the collection of Brazilian coins, in which we traced the history of Brazil’s many different currencies.
Yipee, Filipino cinema on the spotlight! We felt so proud to have found this poster inside the building, but the exhibition was slated at a future date.
I was especially enthralled by the exhibit of German installation artist Rebecca Horn. Sadly cameras were not allowed inside this particular exhibition, I would have loved to share a powerful one of hers called “Light Trapped Inside A Whale’s Belly.” Audie poses outside just before we got in.
Our tummies growled just as the clock struck one! Cristiane took us to a lovely restaurant, the Confeitaria Colombo in downtown Rio, which is more than a hundred years old, with its art nouveau elegance as vibrant as it must have been a century ago, albeit with a more modern clientele.
Cristiane introduced us here to the daily Brazilian fare of rice, beans and any kind of meat. Rice! I knew it, our Filipino tummies would be just right at home in Brazil! We were also treated to a sprawling buffet of meat stew and desserts.
Immediately after lunch, we completed our tour of the historic city center with quick dashes to the municipal theater called the Cinelandia at the Praça Marechal Floriano and the national library just across the street. Unfortunately the buildings were closed for that afternoon so we settled for photo ops outside the theater and just right at the lobby of the library.
On our way back, we found a flea market just a block away from the hotel and we were so excited to see whether we can score some great finds. As usual, Chico headed to the percussions stall. Looks like somebody’s luggage might be overweight on the trip home! Audie bought trinkets and decors, while Oona and I bought swimsuits, which was handy because Cristiane gave us the rest of the afternoon off to enjoy the beach in Copacabana!
After a few fantastic hours of frolicking by Copacabana (and that’s another blog post, watch out for it!) and watching the Germany vs Uruguay third-place game at the FIFA Fanfest Rio, we went back to our hotel to dress up for our last dinner in Rio.
It turns out La Fiducia was just a stone’s throw away from our hotel, but we didn’t mind dressing up for it as the atmosphere inside the Italian restaurant was positively posh.
I can’t believe it’s our last night at Rio!
My seafood risotto
Chico’s vegetarian lasagna
Oona’s Penne a la Arrabiata
Cristiane wanted our last evening in Rio to end with a bang, so she took us to a samba school’s live performance. The show was about to end when we arrived, but the twenty minutes we spent there was totally worth it as we were greeted by this sight just as we got in!
The dancers gamely posed for pictures with us after a performance.
This gentleman is understandably stoked at being sandwiched between these two sexy ladies. Can’t blame him if he has that great wide grin!
Oooooh what I wouldn’t give to have curves like the ones above! They should be illegal!
I have downloaded a video of their performance above so you too can experience real Brazilian samba, recorded from my brand new Sony Cyber-shot!
That was indeed a hot and heavy finale to the Rio de Janeiro leg of our trip! While we were a little heavy hearted at the thought of leaving Rio the following day, we consoled ourselves with the fact that we still have a full day back in Sao Paulo, which includes a return trip to our favorite shopping mecca, the Havaianas concept store and the chance to watch the World Cup finals with Brazilian locals!
Stay tuned for more of our happy adventures in cool Sao Paulo! Boa noite!
Day 6: Pao de Acucar, Porcao Churrascaria, Sambodromo, Maracana Stadium, Cable Car ride to Sta. Tereza district, second attempt at samba at Rio Scenarium
Bom dia, happy soles!
We woke up to another sunny morning in Copacabana ready for another jam-packed day of adventure. Our lovely Brazilian guide Cristiane wanted us to see as many Rio spots as possible and happy soles that we are, we jumped at the chance!
First stop was the Pao de Acucar, or Sugar Loaf mountain. Below is the initial station where Cristiane bought us tickets for a ride in the glass-paneled cable cars.
YES! We’re riding that one!
Sugarloaf Mountain (in Portuguese, Pão de Açúcar), is a peak situated at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 metres (1,299 ft) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf of sugar.
To reach the summit, passengers take two cable cars. The first ascends to the shorter Morro de Açúcar, 220 meters high, where I had this photo taken.
The second car ascends to Pão de Açúcar. The cable cars hold up to 65 passengers. The Italian-made bubble-shaped cars offer passengers 360-degree views of the surrounding city. Each car ride is about three minute from start to finish.
Audie poses with some beautiful locals.
That’s the Sugar Loaf behind us!
The mountain is only one of several monolithic morros of granite and quartz that rise straight from the water’s edge around Rio de Janeiro. A glass-paneled cable car (in popular Portuguese, bondinho - more properly called teleférico), capable of holding 65 passengers, runs along a 1400-metre route between the peaks of Pão de Açúcar and Cara de Cão every 20 minutes. The original cable car line was built in 1912 and rebuilt around 1972/1973 and in 2008. The cable car goes from the base, not the peak of the Babilônia mountain, to the Urca mountain and then to the Pão de Açúcar mountain.
Once at the top, you can then see a breathtaking view of Rio de Janeiro. Here, Oona points to where our hotel in Copacabana is.
Other tourists and locals take in the view too.
Small world! We met a Filipina who looks after a shop selling precious stones at the top of the Sugar Loaf. She is Mrs. Vida Valenciano, and turns out to be a cousin of Gary V! What are the odds! It was wonderful to meet a kababayan here. She even gave us little stones as gifts.
Lunchtime! Cristiane said it was time for us to to go another Churrascaria, at Porcao’s Rio this time. We all we’re blown away by our first taste of churrasco back in Sao Paulo, so that whetted our appetite even more!
Audrey salivates over the grilled chicken brought to our table by the pasador.
Cris is all smiles as her favorite fillet mignon finally arrives.
Tummy satisfied, she took us to the next destination, the Sambodromo.
The Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí or simply Sambadrome, also known as the Apoteose Square, is a purpose-built parade area in downtown Rio where samba schools parade competitively each year during the Carnival. The parade attracts many thousands of Brazilians and foreign tourists each year.
The Sambodromo was designed and built by Oscar Niemeyer (seems like he built everything around here! :) ) in 1984. It consists of 700 m stretch of the Marques de Sapucai street converted into a permanent parade ground with bleachers built on either side for spectators. Its capacity is 90,000. The complex includes an area located at the end of the parade route, the Praça da Apoteose(Apotheosis Square), where the bleachers are set further back from the parade area, creating a square where revelers gather as they end their parade.
In December, the samba schools begin holding technical rehearsals at the Sambadrome, leading up to Carnival.
Outside Carnival season, the Praça da Apoteose is occasionally used as a venue for international music concerts. Beyonce recently shook her famous behind here.
Here, Oona and I tried on the elaborate samba costumes and imagined the roar of the crowds cheering us on to dance. We look positively poised here, but in truth, the headdresses weigh something like 10 kilos each. Those dancers really must have very strong necks to last day-long samba dancing wearing these!
The guys, realizing how heavy the headdresses were, passed on the chance to pose in costume, so they just posed with us. Not fair!
My most awaited itinerary of the day is next: the Maracana stadium!
Friends, I wish I can share with you how excited I am to finally be able to visit this place. It is something only a lifelong fan of Brazilian football will understand. Before I’m only able to see this stadium in Google or YouTube, but here I am breathing it all in!
The Estadio do Maracana, officially Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, is an 82,000-capacity open air stadium which was built in 1950 when Brazil hosted the FIFA World Cup. It is now the venue to games between Rio football clubs Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama.
Photos of Brazilian football superstars adorn the walls on the entrance to the stadium. Here Chico takes on Ronaldo.
Standing in Pele’s footsteps. Pele is a Brazilian football legend and widely regarded as the greatest player of all time!
Ooooooooooh my girl friends back in Cebu would be so jealous of this pic. Kaka is a current member of the the Selecao, or the Brazilian national team. Why do girls love him? Easy. He’s hot!
Here, Oona and I show our love.
So kilig to the bones to be sandwiched between Ronaldo and Kaka!
Inside the stadium, we witness some children being taught basic dribbling skills.
Will you look at this beauty…
There were no games scheduled because of the ongoing World Cup, so we imagined a live game before us. See us rejoice after our team scores a GOAL!
Oh no, the other team equalized!
The stadium also houses a museum of relics from the 1950’s On the background you can see part of the exact goal post and net Pele scored his 1,000th goal in.
I defintely enjoyed the visit to Maracana a lot. In 2014, Brazil will host the World Cup. how do you say, “I will be back!” in Portuguese? :)
Cristiane then took us to a ride in a old tram to the artsy district of Sta. Tereza. The ride was crickety, bumpy and fun! A lot of locals still use it as a daily mode of transportation.
Ammiel puts his “moves” to good use. Here he chats up Audrey, a French tourist he gave up his seat for. You can see in his face, it was worth it.
A little bit of trivia: once we were in Sta. Tereza, he bought a painting from a local artist and had it signed “The Day I Met Audrey”. The air in Rio can bring out the romantic in us!
Sta. Tereza was full of quaint little shops selling artworks, trinkets, postcards, dolls, what-have you. It’s also home to cute little Carioca children like this new friend we met, Ana Cristina.
Without warning, Cristiane announced it was time for us to try another night of Samba dancing! The first time we were all shy and painfully aware of how bad we were at it. Except for Chico, who was a natural. So Cristiane said she won’t let us go home without having learned, so off we went to Rio Scenarium in Lapa District.
But first things first, dinner!
The Rio Scenarium has three floors of space where you can eat and samba the night away. We positively loved the antique decors, especially this wall full of old clocks.
Audie, Oona and I pose in this old carriage.
That evening, we experienced another kind of Brazilian music. Forró is a kind of Northeastern Brazilian dance that developed from European classics styles of folk musics such as “Chula” and “Xotis” (term that originated the derivate “Xote”), as well as a word used to denote the different genres of music which accompanies the dance. Equally intoxicating as samba!
Cris kindly got us started with a new set of samba steps. Isn’t she beautiful guys? I vote her the world’s best dancer too!
Well, all I can tell you is that night, we definitely did away with our shyness! Here I am tearing up the dance floor with this spirited local!
Our adventures in Rio de Janeiro are definitely not over guys. Stay tuned for more! Boa noite, happy soles!
Right in front of our hotel in Copacabana, Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel, was a large venue with a high-definition screen for viewing World Cup matches live. Put up by FIFA (I was mistaken in an earlier blog post about it being sponsored only by the Rio de Janeiro City Government), it is only one of six venues hosted by FIFA for fans of the World Cup games around the world outside of host nation South Africa, the 5 other cities being Mexico City, Paris, Rome, Sydney and Berlin.
Aside from the live screening, there is a stage where Brazilian bands played after the games and which the crowd partied to in the evening. There are also other fun activities within the venue such as the Sony 3D Theater and a zip-line you can ride over and above the crowds. There are of course bars for food and drink as well as a store for official FIFA World Cup merchandise.
We were indeed very lucky as Copacabana beach was more festive than usual, with people flocking to this site whenever a game was played. And we were very fortunate as football fans at this special occasion of the world cup, which, as we know, only happens once in 4 years. You can just imagine how crazy it would get had Brazil made it to the semis. But as Brazil is slated to host in 2014, you can bet it WILL be crazy here then :-)
In this video we sit on the sand like everyone else and watched Germany beat the Uruguay Team for the 3rd place.
Day 5 PM: Restaurante Aprazivel, SAMBA at Lapa District!
Cristiane told us to put on our dancing shoes as tonight is going to be the night we experience Brazilian samba! First, she took us dining at Restaurante Aprazivel. It was a lovely quaint restaurant with a magnificent view of Rio’s night lights.
Oona and I pose with the Rio nightscape in the background.
Cheers to happiness!
I took one bite from from this rice and prawn dish and it was so good, it made me cry out loud, “Thank you Havaianas!!!!” This is the best meal I’ve had so far in Brazil, hands down. I’m not hoping it will be downhill from here after, but this dish will be difficult to top. Five stars!
Audrey’s grilled salmon
Chico’s Sacred Lamb dish.
Oona’s Sirloin with Spinach Pie
Audie, Chico and Cristiane hold up their yummy desserts!
Now it’s time to party!
We were driven to Lapa, which is Rio de Janeiro’s Samba district. Cristiane made us drink the Caipirinha, which is Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaca, sugar and lime. Cachaca is the ultimate Brazilian alcohol! One sip and ooohhh, how potent! It gave us the boost we needed to overcome our shyness and invade the Samba dancefloor!
Cristiane turned out to be an excellent dancer and she taught us how to dance the basic Samba steps. Chico was a natural at the dance floor while we all struggled with our two left feet hehe. But we learned to just groove to the contagious Samba beats and soon thereafter was dancing the night away with the locals!
That’s Dorina, the singer who sang with the live band. I’m uploading a video so you can hear her sultry voice and the pulsating beat of samba.