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.