Sunday, August 22, 2010

Almost home

Last leg of our flights...

We have just landed safely in Toronto and are waiting for our final flight home to Edmonton.

We had an emotional goodbye with Sergio at the Rio airport as we sang Mnohaya Lita and 'Ole Sergio'.

Lots of tired people coming home, many with colds, some aches and pains and exhaustion. It has been a wonderful trip, but it will be so nice to come home and sleep in our own beds.

Here are a few more photos that I did not have a chance to post earlier. I am sure there will be many photos posted on facebook in the days to come with many stories of the trip. Hope you all enjoyed our blog of our adventures!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rio de Janeiro

August 18, 2010
Well, we can’t believe it, after all the worry about excess weight and excess baggage we got through with no problems with our last flight from Curitiba to Rio! Sergio told us not to mention any word about excess baggage or weight as we each approached the counter. If I haven’t mentioned in earlier blogs about Sergio, our tour leader from Dnipro Gold, he is absolutely amazing…this man knows everyone in all of Brazil! The airline staff working the counter when we checked in happened to be past students of his, as he teaches tourism in Brazil and they all knew him. He just mentioned that he would return with gifts for them at a later time and would repay the favour. Thank you Sergio!

We had a short flight to Rio and only one mishap with luggage. It seems that Travis Boyde’s luggage fell off the luggage transport vehicle and was rode over by the vehicle…over and over again. We all picked up our baggage and Travis was missing his, there was one piece of luggage that kept going around the luggage belt but it was all wrapped up with plastic and taped up. We finally checked this last piece and sure enough it had his nametag on it. His suitcase was in shreds and major damage to some clothing. Thank goodness that it was not his costume bag. A claim was done and a new suitcase delivered to the hotel.

We checked into our hotel, the Golden Tulip, located right on the famous Copacabana Beach. We checked in and had a brief group meeting to review safety. We knew instantly as we arrived in this city that there was a ‘buzz’ of excitement in this city and we were all very excited for what we were going to experience in Rio. Most of the group went wandering about near the hotel for a bite to eat and we were all told to stay off the beach when it was dark.

August 19, 2010

We departed early in the morning for a tour of the city. We then went to visit one of the seven man made wonders of the world, the ‘Christ the Redeemer statue’ that is located on top of one of the mountains in Rio. The views were spectacular and the monument was absolutely amazing. We rode a train to the top of the mountain where we had the chance to walk up to the monument and take in all of the views of the city. We were all very impressed.

We then went for lunch to Espaca Brasa Restaurant, and had some of the best seafood of our trip so far…and of course more buffet and barbeque.

After lunch we toured the famous ‘Sugar Loaf’ mountain and took many sky trams up to get to the top. The views were once again spectacular and we all had a great time. The best part of Rio was that we finally had warm weather…it now felt like summer.

After our long day of tours we returned to the hotel. Some people went to the local night market, which was located right in front of our hotel, which runs from 9pm until 1am. Sergio organized a ‘wrap up’ party for the group in a very popular night club. We all took cabs to this club and experienced Brazilian jazz music. Full horn section and anywhere from 8 to 11 musicians playing at one time. It was not your typical night club that we would experience in North America, with a DJ, but rather live Brazilian bands playing and everyone listening, dancing, and enjoying. The building where the club was situated was beautiful; a three story building, full of antiques, collectibles, and very interesting artifacts…almost like a museum. Viter all gathered on the third storey of the building and ordered food and drinks. We later found the dance floor and all had a great time.

August 20, 2010

BEACH DAY! We finally had a chance to sleep in and have absolutely no plans! We all had breakfast and found our space on the beach right out our front door. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky, and the setting was magnificent. We all felt that we were on a tropical island. Many people body surfed, sun tanned, shopped, walked the beach and shopped with the local vendors. They sell everything from cooked shrimp, clothing, jewelry, hats, belts, local crafts, watermelon and icecream…plus much more. It was a great day, with great weather and a wonderful end to our trip. In the evening we all celebrating the end to a great trip. Many went to Ipenema Beach or walked nearby for dinner and visited the night market once again. There were many toasts made to salute a great tour.

As our blog comes to an end, we have so much to reflect upon. We have all made some wonderful new friends with the Ukrainian community here in South America. It was so strange and so beautiful to be in a foreign country, where we do not understand the language, but we truly felt at home. We made so many new friends in Argentina and Brazil, many people who we will now keep in touch with via facebook or email and we feel so blessed to have come in touch with. This has been an experience of a lifetime which all of us will hold dear to our hearts for a very long time. Not only has Viter grown and bonded closer together as a company though out this trip but the friendships that have been made within the company and abroad will last a lifetime. We have missed Tasha dearly on this trip, but have been so excited for her and Michael and Marco and have kept the company up to date with their blog. We cannot wait to come home and meet the new addition to the Orysiuk family and hope that we can bring Marco on a Viter tour very soon. We all look forward to meeting Marco and welcoming him to our Viter family!
It has also been a joy to be embraced by the community here in South America. What an incredible experience it has been to watch Les and Lesia and the entire company be embraced by everyone. The dancers and the choir have been a huge success and we are all so proud of the vision that Les and Tasha and Lesia have had to get us where we are today.
I want to thank Shelley Samycia for ALL of her incredible work with our flight and travel details. The organization of our trip was truly recognized by all and greatly appreciated. We were probably the MOST organized group that Dnipro Gold has every experienced and we thank Shelley for this! She even did some work for us while we were on the trip. We were just sorry that Shelley and Laura were not on our trip and they were so truly missed as well!!!
We had a fantastic group of parents on this trip. They all worked hard to make this the most positive experience for everyone. From acting as security, to backstage and costume assistance, wake up calls and late night room checks…these parents did it all. A great team effort and a joy to travel with. We all had a great time with this group and can’t imagine the trip without them.
It is so hard to say goodbye to new friends that we have made on our trip… but the hardest is to say goodbye to Sergio. I know that all of us that traveled on this trip can surely say without a doubt that he has been AMAZING! Sergio was with Viter 24/7, always keeping us on schedule, keeping us entertained, making sure we were happy and most importantly making sure were all having a good time. We have ALL made a friend with him and can truly say that we have never met a man who has ever worked so hard to make this the best trip possible for all of us. It is sad to leave him, our new friend, but we look forward to bringing him and his family to Canada soon where we can host him and take care of him as he took care of us.
We leave this beautiful country today. I know we are all coming home with many new experiences that we cannot wait to share with our family and friends.
See you all soon.
Viter Dancers and Choir, South America 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Curitiba, August 14, 2010

Departed Prudentopolis and rode the bus for 3 hours to Curitiba. Curitiba is a large city of 1.7 million people. We arrived at the Don Antonia’s Italian restaurant where we joined up with Vohon for the first time on our trip.
We were greeted by the Ukrainian community with bread and salt and had yet another buffet! After checking into our hotel we all went window shopping to a near by mall which was a little out of our league.

In the evening, Barvinok dance group hosted a reception for Viter and Vohon, which we will now call Voter or Vihon. Barvinok has their own building which is a cultural centre, museum, bar, and hall with stage. Their choir started the evening off with a beautiful arrangement of Mnohaya Lita.

The served us more Caipirinha’s, had a huge buffet with more barbq and also celebrated all of the August birthday’s with a huge, beautifully decorated birthday cake.

The evening continued with live bands playing Ukrainian sets then rock and roll. Of course we had a kolomeyka and our Viter dancers participated with our host group and got the locals involved.

August 15, 2010

Show day! But wait…first a little touring before tech rehearsal. We were supposed to attend a church service where our Viter choir was to sing the service, however, an ordination was taking place in another city and all of the priests and bishops left Curitiba for this important event. SO, we went to Old Curitiba where a HUGE arts and crafts market takes place only on Sunday’s. The market was quite overwhelming and we had only about an hour and a half to take in all of the sites, sounds and tastes of this market.

We had some very happy shoppers as we loaded the bus for lunch.

This time the Poltava group graciously hosted Voter/Vihon in their Ukrainian Soccer Hall. The also own their own building which consisted of a huge indoor soccer playing area, complete with bleachers, a stage and of course a bar. We ate yet more barbq and buffet, as well as the tasty Caipirinha’s.

The reception was lovely but took longer and we were an hour late for our tech rehearsal and Viter was first up for tech. We arrived at the theatre and they were not quite ready for us which delayed us even more. We were very limited with time and very rushed to get through our set up and had to leave the stage for Vohon’s turn to tech.
The theatre was very large, it is the largest in all of South America. We sold over 1500 tickets The stage was huge, even larger than the Jubilee Auditorium.

Viter performed the first act and we had to re-work our show to one hour. We started with the spring section of our “Seasons” and added Pioneer, choir sets and Hopak. Our act was warmly received.

We had some sound feedback issues (due to lack of tech time for sound check), but overall a great show. Vohon closed the show with the second act. We then joined them on stage for final bows and photo opportunities. Emotions were flowing! Last show of the tour, last show for some dancers and many tears.

Back to the hotel for a late night buffet and socializing.

August 16, 2010

The morning start was a little later for our City tour of Curitiba. We loaded the buses and toured around the city. The most interesting was a Ukrainian Orthodox Hutsul Church, similar to one that you would see in Ukraine. It was VERY cold at the beginning of the tour and slowly warmed up as we got closer to lunch. The weather has been very cold in Curitiba because we are at such a high altitude.

We went to a famous Brazilian barbecue for lunch and met up with Vohon once again….more food. After lunch we finally had time to go shopping. The buses dropped us off at various locations, depending on what we were looking for….shoes, shoes and more shoes was the favorite for most of us. Carla from the choir was the record holder for purchasing 11 pairs of shoes! We had a free evening and some went out for dinner and took in the sites of the beautiful city, others just stayed in and ordered pizza and played the card game Durak.

August 17, 2010

It was an early morning as we had to get to the train station for an 8:15am departure aboard a Brazilian train to Morretes (a summer resort – kind of like a Jasper or Banff). The train was very cold as we rode in our specific cars and headed for the mountains. It was a spectacular trip through the rain forest as we rode over bridges, through tunnels and stunning valleys.

The weather warmed up and was very humid as we got closer to our destination. It was a three hour train ride and we arrived in time for a very traditional Brazilian lunch served in a restaurant on the bank of a beautiful river – very scenic, lush and beautiful. We had time to walk around and visit the tourist stores for about an hour, then headed for Caioba and Guaratuba beaches where we rode on a ferry to the beaches of the Atlantic ocean. We sampled roasted coconut with sugar and took a short trip to a summer resort area which was like a ghost town because only the crazy Canadians would come to visit at this time of year. Derek and Nick actually swam in the ocean and the rest of us had fun walking barefoot in the sand.

It was a beautiful visit but much too short and time to head back to Curitiba. The evening was fun as we celebrated Christine Palamarchuk’s birthday, had a little zabava and sang and socialized. Some new friends from the Poltava dance group came for a visit and we had a great night.

August 18, 2010

We all got to sleep in today. Some went shopping and we are all packed and ready to head out to Rio . We had word that Vohon got through this morning without any glitches and did not have to pay any penalties for excess baggage or weight. We are hoping that we will also have the same luck as Vohon and get through with no penalties. We will update soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Viter wows Prudentopolis – August 12-13

Imagine entering a city through a gate topped with church style domes and Ukrainian folk art (rozpys). 70 % of the people are of Ukrainian descent. Where are you? Why in Prudentopolis Brazil of course! And to top it off, a traditional greeting of bread and salt at the Ukrainian Museum.

For those of you that have been to Ukraine, visiting the museum was déjà vu. Fascinating information about their immigration to the country, beautiful artifacts, and warm caring people willing to share with us. There was a donation board with names of people from Calmar, Vegreville, Thorsby, Edmonton and more.

As we walked outside to see the Shevchenko monument we hear intricate drum beats. Beside the monument are locals practicing the Brazilian dance/martial art known as “capoireira”. After a group photo by the monument Viter walked across to the Ukrainian Catholic church – St. Josephats.

It was here that the Viter family truly had a special moment. Not only was the church beautiful but had amazing acoustics. A simple “Amen” from the choir loft brought tears of joy. We then began to sing church music – dancers and choir members, together in harmony.
Veselka dancers hosted a dinner reception where many of us saw (for the first time) a roasted pig – in its entirety! Great varenyky with a tomato/onion cover and excellent mingling! Suddenly a rhythm is being clapped. Viter is called to join the “capoireira” battle. Imagine Zenon Bihun and Alynna Lirette taking on a Brazilian. Or the Toroshenko sister battle. We have it all on video!
We were entertained by the Veselka dancers performance of Hopak, followed by…Povzunetz! (definitely a legendary and popular dance amongst male dancers here!) Just like in Cascaval, our boys joined in! The evening continued with polkas and fellowship.
Back to our separate hotels, where tour bus #2 had an “interesting” evening of synchronized dryland ballet! A walk to the local grocery store ended up with meeting local Ukrainians and let’s just say a novel could be written!
So, day two in Prudentopolis brought out more emotions for all of us. We headed to selo “Esperenca” (which means hope), and saw another beautiful church with great acoustics. One of the sisters in the community gave us a history of the church and the “colonia” (village). We continued to drive to St. John’s Falls (by the way Prudentopolis is known for their beautiful falls), and stopped for some photo opportunities.

As our bus was driving through the village there were children on the road waiting for their school bus. We threw candies and treats to them, and initially they shied away, then slowly went to get the small gifts.
Lunch was at a farm that also hosts tourists. The family was of Ukrainian descent and we were served a delicious meal in a bamboo enclosed dining area. Little oranges that taste like lemons were squeezed onto freshly cooked tilapia (fish) from their fish pond on site. The varenyky were delicious and the shots of espresso hit the spot! We thanked our hosts with a rendition of “Mnohaya Lita” and continued on our way to Barra Bonita.

Here we had a special surprise awaiting us. As we walked past the bright yellow school buildings we entered into a hall where over 100 children of all ages greeted us with warm applause. They sang a welcome (Vitayemo) song, the local dance group Dibrova performed for us and made us feel welcome. The boys of Dibrova performed for us the ever popular Povzunetz! We left the children our treats of chocolates, stickers, pencils and pins.

One small boy touched our hearts. He stood in the front row, performing with the others. His eyes were crossed quite badly and he looked confused. This tugged at the heart strings of Viter, and members of our Viter family generously donated towards the purchase of glasses for this small boy.
It wasn’t over just yet. Imagine Orest Fialka teaching small boys Ukrainian dancing. The looks on their faces said it all. Then outside, Lesia Pohoreski takes a group of children and teaches them a Ukrainian children’s song with actions. The looks of sheer delight made it all worthwhile!

And now it’s show time! Back to the hotel to get ready for a night that no one could have expected. The lead up was news of a sketchy outdoor stage, unsure of audience response, and who knows where we will change?
Well.. it was an unforgettable experience! Here is the scene – Outdoor stage in a Brazilian winter ( you could see your breath), busses as choir change rooms, blockades for outside change rooms for dancers, topped with over 1000 enthusiastic people in the audience. Oh yes! And little gypsy boys trying to get onto our bus, their hats turned asking for coins.
By far, our most emotionally and spiritually charged show! Dancers, singers and parent crew were all on a high as we stormed the local pizza parlor. Imagine 48 types of pizza – from garlic and chicken heart to… chocolate and strawberry pizzas! Many “boodmohs”, and a special toast to Tasha Orysiuk and her family.
The night ended and Viter family #1 and #2 went to their respective hotels. And from there….”what happens in Prudentopolis, stays in Prudentopolis!”

Friday, August 13, 2010



August 11, 2010

We had an early morning wake-up call in Iguassu this morning, as we packed up our luggage and prepared to set out for Cascaval. We had a show scheduled for this evening, and a couple hours of traveling to do beforehand. However, before we could even set out, our tour operators insisted on re-tagging ALL of our luggage, including back packs and carry-ons. Just in case we were pulled over by the police. The tagging process was lengthy and turned into a joke among the travelers, “Has your toe been tagged?”.

Finally we were all tagged and loaded onto the busses, and could set off. It may have been the quietest bus ride so far on this tour, as almost everyone was fast asleep in no time.

When we arrived at our hotel in Cascaval, confusion ensued as we realized the doors would remain locked. We needed a key to get in, or get out, of our rooms. More than one dancer was left locked in their room by their unadvised room-mate.

After figuring out how to work the doors, the performers packed up and we headed off to the theatre for load-in and tech rehearsal. During our tech, a local tv crew interviewed Les about our show and took shots of the dancers and choir during rehearsal.

Finally, after a very long and tiring day, it was showtime! Everyone was nervous and excited to perform for another sold out crowd.

The show began, and our opening numbers came out strong and were very well received. Suddenly during our spring section BOOM! POW! CRASH! Sparks and glass flying everywhere! The lights exploded and came crashing down! Flames engulfed the stage!

Just kidding.

But we did blow a breaker, and the stage was plunged into darkness for a few minutes while the tech crew tried to solve the problem. Sergio did a very good job keeping the crowd settled while we waited for the lights to come back on, and Johnnie our stage manager did a wonderful job keeping everything under control. Kudos to him!

When the lights did come back, we finished the show with even more energy than before. We finished our hopak to a roar of applause and another standing ovation.

The crowds here are so appreciative of our group, it is almost overwhelming. After our show we were invited to a reception at the Ukrainian Community with their local dance group “Sonechko”. We were treated to wonderful food and made new friends. Some of our dancers even learned how to do some “Brazilian dancing”. Later on, the two groups faced off in a kolomeyka – with maybe a bit too much obertas… Afterwards Sonechko surprised us by performing their Hopak for us, and another dance “Povzunets” which they invited our Viter boys to come up and join them. It was so much fun and so wonderful to see our two groups performing together.

We said our goodbyes soon after that, and headed back to ur hotel to pack up and get ready for the next day of traveling. Off to Prudentopolis!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Iguassu Falls

August 9, 2010

Iguassu Falls:

We departed Buenos Aires and took a flight to Iguassu Falls. Our flight was delayed by 2 hours and we hung out at the airport for some extra time. We landed in Iguassu on the Argentine side of the border and had to travel by bus and go through customs. Everything ran very smoothly at the border crossing and we arrived at the Harbour Colonial Hotel without any glitches. It was really nice to escape the big city as our next hotel was located right near the park entrance and we were surrounded by nature.

We checked in to our hotel and then departed for Rafrain Churrascaria, a South American Folk variety dinner show. We were served another buffet, more barbq and very good icecream. The Malbec was very bad …no more wonderful Argentine Malbec but we were all introduced to a new national drink of Brasil called “Caipirinha”, A mixture of cachaca (distilled alcohol made with sugar cane) with limes and sugar, very good, but very potent. The show was interesting and introduced many varieties of folk dancing, singing and music. The costumes were very beautiful and colorful. They encouraged a lot of audience participation and Orest Fialka and Levi Zimmerman were both brought up to the stage to participate. Levi participated in a presentation called “Bolhadeiras”, a male dancer showed off with ropes with balls on the end and spun them very quickly to demonstrate a fast spinning spectacle or trick….well, he then asked Levi to join in and stand in the general area of where these fast balls were spinning, as they ‘grazed’ his head and added excitement to the show. Orest was then asked to join the performers as the beautiful Brazilian woman were dressed in traditional “show girl” costumes…enough said…what happens on tour, stays on tour. I am sure there are already pictures on Facebook.

Back to the hotel for a good rest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We boarded the bus to the Bird Park, and it is safe to say that everyone was truly surprised by how cool it was. We were not very excited to visit a bird park and thought that it would be boring, but it was truly amazing. The setting was beautifully landscaped as we walked just over one km of trails where the birds were kept in sanctuary’s where they could fly and be very mobile. The birds were all so friendly (and very loud).

We were able to walk into their cages and interact with them. The funnest was the Macaw’s where we walked into their caged area and the birds would ‘caw’ so loudly at us and swoop down to make the entire experience very exciting.

We had many opportunities to hold many of the birds and some of us even had a boa constrictor wrapped around our necks.

We spent the morning taking pictures and enjoying all of the colorful birds. After the Bird Park we took a hike through the National Park of Iguassu Falls.

It really looked like paradise! Everyone took lots of beautiful pictures, but I am not even sure they will do justice to the beauty of Iguassu Falls. It was breathtaking.

We ate yet another delicious lunch at Porto Canoas Restaurant, which was located at the start of the falls.

We then hopped on some jeeps for the Macuco “safari”…it was not much of a safari, but the jeeps took us all down to the water where we got onto motorized river boats, a raft with two large engines that could take about 25 people on board. The boats took us all the way down the river on a very exciting tour of the waterfalls. The water was very cold and we screamed at the top of our lungs with excitement as the boat took us in and out of many of the falls, then over and over again. It was like a Disneyland ride but it was the real thing. Everyone had a blast and got completely SOAKED! This was definitely the highlight of the day for most people! After such a jam-packed day, everyone relaxed at the hotel for the evening, swimming, eating, and packing for the next city, Cascaval.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Viter in Buenos Aires

We arrived in Buenos Aires safely after a long night of flying and many, many movies! We were greeted at the airport by Sergio Maciura from Dnipro Gold. It was greatl to finally meet this wonderful man who has planned all of our tour and who we have spent so many months conversing only on email . We were also greeted by various members of the Ukrainian Community in Buenos Aires. There was much excitement from the community for our arrival to Argentina because there has not been a Ukrainian dance company perform in their city for 20 years.

We arrived at the Hotel Grand King which was situated right in the heart of the downtown area. The location was perfect and we were walking distance to all the shops, restaurants, street vendors and “Tango” demonstrations. It was very exciting to walk out of our hotel door, hear the sound of Tango music playing and see the many sexy Tango dancers demonstrating their amazing talents. The street artists displayed their artwork with romantic city scenes and sultry tango paintings. There were many opportunities to have your photo taken with costumed dancers, which many of our group took full advantage of.

Our first meal in Buenos Aires was at a beautiful restaurant called, La Bisteca.
We had our first sample of the Argentine Malbec wine and tasted the wonderful barbq that Argentina is so well known for. The dinner was set up to offer many buffet choices including specialty bars for pasta, bar-bq and pizza made in a clay oven. We gorged on much meat!!! Many members from the Ukrainian community joined us for dinner and we got time to visit and get to know each other.

August 7, 2010

We departed for a 4-hour city tour of Buenos Aires. Highlites included the Pink Palace where Eva Peron greeted her adoring public. We saw a beautiful, lavish church called the Metropolitan Cathedral. Catholicism is a very important faith in this part of the world. We had an opportunity to visit the Boca district, which is where the immigrants first came to this city and made their homes. We went to a local street market and had some time to browse the various arts and crafts. We bypassed the poorest district of the city and witnessed truly how poor people really do survive. An eye opening experience.
Demonstrations are very popular in Buenos Aires, and during our tour we saw thousands of motor bikes drive past…not sure what it was all about, but it literally stopped all of us to watch the spectacle. We went to see the famous “Flower” a architectural landmark in the city. We drove through the rich area of the city and saw where all the embassies are located, then some of us went to visit the graveyard. This graveyard was full of beautiful stunning crypts that were so lavish and opulent….a site that we will never forget. Can’t believe that someone would spend this kind of money. Eva Peron (Evita) is also in this cemetery. They had just celebrated the anniversary of her death and there were flowers everywhere.

We had some time for shopping then went to a Tango Show at Sabor de Tango. Firstly, we all had to participate in Tango Lessons (Tangle Lessons). (Much more fun than the recent Sabor in Winnipeg!) After we all became Tango experts we were treated to a dinner and a spectacular show. We witnessed the most authentic, passionate, tango performance which also featured Argentinian folk dancing and musicians….INCREDIBLE, BREATHTAKING, SPECTACULAR! It so exceeded our expectations. So many standing ovations. The choir serenaded the audience and performers after the show and had a show of our own…to show our gratitude…we sang for our supper. The lead dancer and our tango instructor requested tickets to our show the next night. Need to mention that we enjoyed consuming more Argentine Malbec.
Back to the hotel and off to bed for the show the next day.

August 8, 2010

Showtime! Off to the theatre for set up and rehearsal for our first performance in South America. We performed at Theatre ND Ateneo, a 750 seat theatre that was very old but very intimate. What fun…Johnnie and Les had to work with the theatre crew and translate our show from English to Ukrainian to Spanish in order to get sound and lights working for what we needed. An exhausting day, but a smooth running show.

THE SHOW…we had a good show, not perfect in any means but the reception was absolutely overwhelming. We truly felt like we were performing somewhere’s in Ukraine until they starting chatting the Olé (South American Soccer Chant) and included Viter’s name as they chanted. We all started crying and laughing! It was a huge honour to have had this kind of reception and put in the same league as their football team. They loved the show and they loved the format of the interaction of the song and dance. When the curtain came down (well not really a curtain) and the applause finally settled down, they presented us with many greetings, accolades, speeches, introductions and genuine appreciation and gratitude. Many more tears.

We quickly packed up and dropped off our costumes back at the hotel, we then proceeded to a reception hosted by Prosvita at their Ukrainian Cultural Centre. As we walked in the doors of the hall, we were honoured by a presentation of traditional bread and salt. The woman from the Ukrainian Association had prepared a meal of varenyky and empanadas. It was a true cultural mix of the familiar Ukrainian cuisine and fantastic Argentine cuisine. More Malbec!

A presentation was made by the group with a Bandura and choral group. They then invited Viter to join them on the stage and sing traditional folk songs. A few more presentations were made and they presented us with memorable gifts, the entire group! A sing song began, followed by a kolomeyka, accompanied by the Viter musicians plus the bandurist from Prosvita. The Kolomeyka lasted until fingers were bloody and many blisters were formed. WHAT AN INCREDIBLY SPECIAL NIGHT, we shared with our new Argentine family and made new life long friends. It was very hard to break up the celebration but we needed to head back to the hotel to pack up for Brazil.

We have just arrived in Iguassu Falls, we will update again at the end of this next experience.