Monday, April 6, 2009

Bon Dia from Brazil!

Bon Dia is how we say "Good Day" in Portuguese! We didn’t think we would be able to visit a school on this trip. When it is winter north of the equator it is summer south of the equator so the schools in South America were on summer vacation during the greater part of our trip.

We were lucky because when Mr. Zachari, the manager of the Sonesta Hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil met us he said, "Would you like to visit the International School here in Sao Paulo? I know the vice principal there." We were very excited and said, "Ta Bon! (Great!) We would love to!" The Graded School of Sao Paulo has a thousand students from pre-school to twelfth grade. While we were touring the school we saw a display of covered wagons made by the third grade students. They were studying the Oregon Trail. We told Mrs. Soriano, the vice-principal, "We went on a wagon trip on the Santa Fe Trail. We have a power point presentation with us that we can do for your students."

She thought that was a great idea. The next day we went to the school told the students about our trip on the Santa Fe Trail. The students had a lot of questions. Emma asked, "What was the hardest part of the trip on the Santa Fe Trail?" We said, "When the trip was over. We wished our trip was longer than two days." The students at the school come from 35 countries including America. Their parents work for American companies in Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world.

We also went to Rio de Janeiro. It the most famous city in Brazil because of it’s beautiful location and Carnaval. Rio has many ocean beaches, bays, and rocky outcroppings. To get to one famous rocky peak called Sugar Loaf we had to take two cable cars. Another peak called Corcovado has a 90-foot tall statue of Christ the Redeemer on the top. Corcovado is often covered with a cloud. We could see it from our hotel room. One morning it was cloudless so we took a taxi to the top, but when we got there a cloud had moved in and covered the statue. We waited until the cloud went away. When the statue was revealed everyone clapped.

Rio is known for Carnaval, an annual celebration held before Easter. Carnaval celebrations are held all over Brazil but Rio’s is the most famous. The biggest event takes place in the Sambodromo where the Samba schools put on the most amazing parades. Samba schools are neighborhood groups that work all year to prepare for Carnaval. Rio built a special Carnaval stadium, the Sambodromo, with seats on both sides of a half-mile parade route. Seven Samba schools were in the parade. Each school’s parade is about 1 ½ mile long. They have 90 minutes to parade through the Sambodromo. Each samba school has a special song to go with their theme, which is played over and over during their parade. Everyone in Rio knew the samba songs so when the schools entered the Sambodromo all 90 thousand spectators stood up and started singing and dancing. Each school’s parade starts with fireworks, followed by several dance groups, and many floats that presents the school’s theme. Each samba school has about four thousand people marching or on the floats. The costumes and floats were amazing. The parade started at 9 at night and ended at 8 in the morning!

Our friend, Joao, told us, "Carnaval is a uniting influence. It brings rich people and poor people together. Everyone loves Carnaval!’ We agreed!