A day to relax and enjoy Rio

Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
Trip End Jul 12, 2009

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Flag of Brazil  , Rio de Janeiro,
Friday, July 10, 2009

Having a full day and a half after our last performance gave us a little chance to just enjoy the city, the beaches, the historical sights, the food!  Most of us played the role of tourist in the morning, taking the special train that climbs up to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue at the top of Mount Corcovado.  The ride through the rain forest on the way up was only surpassed by the wonder of this massive and imposing structure, benignly overlooking the city and its harbors, lakes, and beaches. 

Then we also visited the national Cathedral - a massive and modernist design that proved awe-inspired even to those who prefered traditional cathedrals.  We finished the morning (divided into separate, smaller groups) taking a brief but intensive course in African drumming of the Maracatu style taught by four eager young students of stye.  African shakers and bells were combined with European-style field drums, reflecting the amalgamation of two very different influences on the music.

The traditional "farewell dinner" that night was another sumptuous barbeque, this time with a sushi bar included.  The dinner finished off with three rousing musical send-offs to our three extremely engaging and professional guides, followed by a rousing tongue-in-cheek comeback to Jeff Brillhart's mid-week admonition to avoid drinking before a concert ("185 millian Brazilians can't be wrong, and they manage many more complex rhythms than we can even attempt!").

On the busride back to the hotel, one bus, at the suggestion of guide Gentile, once a "blues" musician himself, we stopped by Rio's equivalent of Philly's South Street - a several block area overflowing with young people going in and out to hear the best samba and popular bands of the day.  Their youth and the midnight start time of the performances were too much for us older hands to give into, but it was an interesting departure from the more "high class" night life of the Ipanema neighbor hood where we stayed.

The next day left plenty of time to walk the beach or fit in last-minute shopping before leaving to catch our plane.   But many of us longed for yet one more day to just put up our heels and relax at least one more day before our rude return to the "real world" ahead of us.  We all felt very fortunate that so much on this tour went so well - the music, the collaborations, the food, the schedule, the audiences - we have much to be thankful for! - TL

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