Monthly Archives: August 2018

Pencil Vs Camera – 6

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Pencil Vs Camera - 6



I took this photo near Brussels (I also made the drawing).
4 eyes… Just enough to watch the world in a different way!

>>> Review from THE DAILY MAIL for this picture: "Double
vision: You could be forgiven for thinking you were under the
influence of alcohol looking at this drawing of a cat"
McQueeney, The Daily Mail, Sept. 2011)


For more information about my art:

Little Kitty Cat

A poem by Peter S. Quinn

Just a little kitty cat
Here all out on its own
Playing like an autocrat
Most of the time alone

From a stance of double eye
Tick ticking nervously
Stray cat catches a fly
Flying about on its free

Here I am or maybe there
Life’s like a delusion
All deception beware
Of tricks and confusion

U.S. to move ahead with Mexico trade pact, keep talking to Canada

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Contentious U.S.-Canada trade talks ended on Friday with no deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement after the mood soured, and President Donald Trump notified Congress of his intent to sign a bilateral trade pact with Mexico.

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The Vaccines

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The Vaccines

The Vaccines on stage

Pic: Robert Nemeti/
© Solent News Photo Agency


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NYC Halloween Village Parade

Before you head out to some of the best Halloween parties in NYC, you must participate in the Village Halloween Parade—NYC’s spookiest procession and one of the best Halloween events in Gotham. With over 50,000 zombies, giant puppets and anything scary in particular year taking the streets, you may need a little help with navigation.

1. The nation’s largest public Halloween celebration
2. Named as The Greatest Event on Earth by Festivals International for October 31
3. Attended by over 2 million people, seen by over 1 million on TV.
4. The nation’s only major night Parade.
5. Seen LIVE on NY 1 Television.
6. Listed as one of the 100 Things to do Before You Die.
7. Recipient of the Municipal Arts Society of New York’s Award for making a major contribution to the cultural life of New York City.
8. Recipient of a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of Longtime Artistic Achievement.
9. Recipient of the Mayor’s Tourism Grant in recognition of the Parade’s major impact on the economic life of New York City and grants from the Manhattan Borough President’s Tourism Initiative.
10. Picked by Events International as The Greatest Event on Earth on October 31, and ranked 3rd by Citysearch as the best event in New York City.
11. Ranked by Biz Bash as one of the top 10 events in NYC.
12. The subject of extensive national and international news coverage, including ABC, CBS and NBC television networks; live television coverage on MTV, Channel 13 and the CNN; UPI and AP stories and photographs that appear on front pages coast to coast; annual coverage in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, U.S.A. Today, the New York Post, the Daily News, Time, and every other local New York television, radio and print media.
13. Reaching 4 million viewers in 2 hours of LIVE coverage of the Parade by New York 1 News Television and WKTU Radio.
14. In 2000 the Parade was broadcast LIVE nationally for the first time on USA Networks and the SCI Fi Channel with host Susan Saranden.
15. In 2001 the Parade was seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide as the Parade was seen as a pivotal moment in the recovery of New York from the tragic events of 9/11.
16. Internationally acclaimed in France, Russia, Germany, England, Italy, Japan, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, Hungary, Korea, Greece, Poland, China, Argentina, Turkey, New Zealand and Yugoslavia as a result of international television specials on the Parade as well as news coverage and worldwide coverage on CNN.
17. A mile-long stage featuring tens of thousands of costumed marchers, hundreds Halloween characters, including giant masks and puppets, dozens of marching bands playing music from around the world stilt walkers, jugglers, break dancers and other street performers participate in the Parade.
18. Behind the scenes, an event where professional lighting designers, stage managers, carpenters, and electricians are called upon to light the mile_long event, create special effects and dress scenes along the route.
19. An open forum for visual and performing artists to display their art in an environment where all are creators as well as participants and viewers.
20. A vehicle for the co-mingling of the diverse economic, ethnic, social, sexual and racial components of New York City, putting on display the cultural pluralism of the world’s most exciting city..
21. A family event, thus serving as a form of creative and positive expression for young people in a safe, celebrative environment.
22. A vehicle for New York City schools, design and performing arts colleges and universities, neighborhood associations and artists to work closely with the Parade staff to design major elements for the Parade throughout the year.
23. Working closely with the NYC Office of the Mayor, the Manhattan Borough President, Community Boards #1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 and the Departments of Police, Sanitation, Fire, Parks and Recreation and Cultural Affairs to produce the safest, cleanest Parade in the City. Indeed, the New York City Police have lauded the Parade as a valuable public service institution in that it makes Halloween safe for the citizens of New York on a night which is a high crime night in many other parts of the city and nationwide.
24. A carefully planned collaborative effort organized by a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, year round, 501c3 arts organization called Village Halloween Parade, Inc. .
25. An event which has a positive impact on New York economic life, bringing hundreds of thousands of tourists and an estimated $90 million in tourism dollars into the city, providing Greenwich Village businesses and restaurants their best night of the year..
26. An event which has a tremendously positive impact on how people who live in or come to visit New York see and feel about this community. The excitement and goodwill that it generates is lasting..
In effect, by turning a large and complex city into a small town for just one night, the Parade has been a pioneer in the critical movement toward the resurrection and rejuvenation of the City..
27. Village Halloween Parade funders have included (to name a few): Jeep, Jaegermeister, Amtrak, Annheiser Busch, Avenue Q, Wicked, Spamalot, Comedy Central, New Line Cinema, Greenwich Village Chamber of Commerce, HERE Arts Center, Jet Blue, Juicy Fruit, Freixenet, Little Shop of Horrors, Manhattan Monster,, PONY Pedicabs, Trio TV, Webster Hall, WKTU, Z100, MIX 103, The Village Voice,Volkswagen, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Mayor’s Office of Tourism, The Manhattan Borough President, The Rudin Foundation, the Association for a Better New York, NY1Television, Time Warner Cable, USA Networks. SCREAM USA, Sci Fi Channel, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Bell Atlantic, Mammoth Records (Disney, Starbucks,, ZipCar, Perrier, Whole Foods Market, Mannheim Steamroller, SONY, Focus Features, Captain Morgan,The Geek Squad, Volkswagon, Mini Cooper, Family Guy, Rubie’s Costume Company, Microsoft, Snapple, Logic Records, The Geek Squad, BMW, Vespa, Monster Energy Drink, Miller Brewing, Liberty Tax, Focus Features, Columbia Records, Elektra Records, Ford Motor Company, Mindspring, Con Edison, Vampire Vineyards, Dunkin’ Donuts, and many more movie promotions, Broadway Shows and hundreds of individuals, small businesses, foundations and governmental agencies.

So dress up in your best Halloween costume ideas for New Yorkers (or else you won’t be allowed to march), work on your Halloween makeup ideas and get ready for a ghoulishly good time and join with:

Hundreds of Giant Puppets
More than 50 bands representing music from around the world
Dancers of all styles
Artists with explosive imaginations
Thousands of New Yorkers in costumes of their own creation

Costumes are mandatory for anyone who wants to walk, so make sure you bring it or you’ll be left behind in civilian duds. The procession lines up at Sixth Ave and Canal St and rolls out from 7–9pm. North and west entrances to Sixth Ave will be blocked off by 6:30pm, so join the line from East Broome, Sullivan and Canal streets east of Sixth Ave. We recommend gathering your fellow creatures of the night a few blocks away rather than trying to find your group in the middle of the chaotic lineup.

Just because you’re not wearing a costume this year doesn’t mean you don’t get to party. Get to Sixth Ave early and grab a lookout spot before the parade rolls out at 7pm. Sixth Ave becomes most congested with spectators between Bleeker and 14th Sts, so we suggest setting up camp at either the head (Spring to W Houston Sts) or tail (14th St to 16th St) of the parade.



Terry Callier @ IJazz Amsterdam

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Terry Callier @ IJazz Amsterdam

View On Black

Callier, a childhood friend of Curtis Mayfield, began recording in 1963 but never reached stardom despite a series of regional hits in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1983, he gained custody of his 12-year-old daughter Sundiata and decided to retire from music to look for a steadier income. He took classes in computer programming and landed a job at the University of Chicago in 1984.

He reemerged from obscurity when British DJs discovered his old recordings and began to play his songs in clubs in the late 1980s. Acid Jazz Records head Eddie Piller brought Callier to play clubs in Britain beginning in 1991 and he began to make regular trips to play gigs during his vacation time from work.

In the late 90s Callier began his comeback to recorded music, contributing to Beth Orton’s Best Bit EP in 1997 and releasing the album Timepeace in 1998, which won the United Nations’ Time For Peace award for outstanding artistic achievement contributing to world peace. Curiously, his colleagues at the University of Chicago never learned of Callier’s life as a musician, but after the award the news of his secret life became widely known and subsequently led to his firing.

Callier today is continuing his recording career having currently released five albums since Timepeace.

May 2009 saw his album Hidden Conversations featuring Massive Attack released on Mr Bongo records.

Myspace page

Taylor Dayne Sydney

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Taylor Dayne Sydney

Taylor Dayne does Coogee In Sydney’s East, by Eva Rinaldi

Taylor Dayne, American freestyle music, and smooth jazz artist from New York City, is continuing to love her Australian tour and the many fans who still remember her.

The Diva who enjoyed mainstream popularity in the 1980s is wowing Aussie audiences and showing that she’s still got it.

Without her there may never have never been an Anastacia. Almost 25 years ago, the chart success of American dance-pop singer Taylor Dayne paved a golden road for the mighty-voiced white female soul-pop singers who came after her.

Tonight for Dayne it was Selina’s at the famous Coogee Bay Hotel in Sydney’s east.

The sensational Dayne sounded fresh and looked great in a blue, green, silver and orange sequin leotard. It was obvious she appreciated the audience and did a lot of eye contact and finger pointing at both fans and the lucky photographers on hand.

Dayne performed hits, including Tell It to My Heart, With Every Beat of My Heart, Prove Your Love, I’ll Be Your Shelter and Don’t Rush Me.

I loved the way she worked the stool, complete with cross over legs, working the audience, and of course the support dancers followed her lead. Oh, she still oozes sexiness also.

“You can shoot for the stars – and I think everybody should – but I remember having some very frustrating moments thinking ‘God, is it ever going to happen?’ ” she said.

“But from the minute Tell It to My Heart broke in Europe as a single – I remember I showed up at one store and there were 1000 kids dressed like me – I never looked back.”

Ms Dayne had said her Australian fans would not be disappointed when they came to see her, and she was speaking the truth.

"I have been performing for 23 years and I promise I will not come out looking like Taylor Dayne from 1988, but I will take my fans on a journey," she said. "It’s a soundtrack to their lives as much as mine."

The 49-year-old singer and songwriter lives in Los Angeles where she raises her two children, eight-year-old twins Astaria and Levi whom she had via a surrogate and without a partner.

"I wouldn’t have done it any other way, which is the story of my career," Dayne says. "No one has ever handed me anything. If you have a goal and a dream, I don’t think anyone can stop you. Kids and a career have both been the most difficult and satisfying things in my life."

Tickets to some of her Australian shows can be purchased for as low at $50, so snap them up. If you’re into music with heart and love Taylor Dayne is for you.

The Music News Australia network would like to publicly thank Taylor for putting on such a great show, looking our camera lots, and also the great folks at Lionel Midford Publicity for helping make it all possible.

Support was Andrew Lawson from The X-Factor fame. Mr Lawson continues to improve, building upon his foundation and fame from X-Factor. Mr Lawson was appreciative of the fans and did a good job of connecting with both them and the press that was present. We think his best days are still ahead of him, but it was a thumbs up.

All up, a great night of entertainment.

Taylor Dayne Australian Tour Dates

Date Place Venue
Oct 14 Bankstown, Australia Bankstown Sports Club
Oct 15 Penrith, Australia Penrith Panther’s
Oct 20 Dee Why, Sydney, Australia Dee Why RSL Sydney
Oct 22 Perth, Australia Mundaring Weir Hotel
Oct 26 Belmont, Australia Belmont 16 Footers
Oct 27 Gold Coast, Australia Twin Towns Showroom
Oct 28 Brisbane, Australia Kedron Wavell Memorial Club
Oct 29 Sydney, Australia Castle Hill RSL Club
Oct 30 North Sydney, Australia North Sydney Leagues Club


Taylor Dayne official website

Taylor Dayne YouTube

Lionel Midford Publicity

Coogee Bay Hotel

Coogee Bay Hotel – Selina’s Nightclub

The X-Factor (Australia)

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

Canada, U.S. NAFTA talks turn tense, Ottawa won't sign 'just any deal'

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Talks between Canada and the United States to update the North American Free Trade Agreement soured sharply on Friday after President Donald Trump reportedly said a pact would be on U.S. terms and Ottawa stood firm against signing “just any deal.”

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Pablo Nouvelle ft. Andreya Triana – Sunshine In Stereo (Richard Dorfmeister&Stefan Obermaier Remix) – Armada Music #YouTube #Armada #LuigiVanEndless #Armada #ArmadaMusic #Music #ElectronicMusic #Home #News Pablo Nouvelle feat.

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Pablo Nouvelle ft. Andreya Triana - Sunshine In Stereo (Richard Dorfmeister&Stefan Obermaier Remix) - Armada Music #YouTube #Armada #LuigiVanEndless #Armada #ArmadaMusic #Music #ElectronicMusic #Home #News Pablo Nouvelle feat.…

Rio – Copacabana Beach 7241005

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Rio - Copacabana Beach 7241005


photo by: Roman Kajzer @FotoManiacNYC

To see more pictures from Copacabana click below:
Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro
thank you for your visit and comments …
dziekuje za wizyte i komentarze… (Polish)
gracias por su visita y comentarios … (Spanish)
obrigado por sua visita e comentários… (Portugese)
la ringrazio per la vostra visita e commenti … (Italian)
je vous remercie de votre visite et commentaires …(French)
ich danke Ihnen für Ihren Besuch und Kommentare …(German)
поблагодарить Вас за Ваш визит и комментарии … (Russian)
訪問とコメントをお寄せいただきありがとうございます… (Japanese)
여러분의 방문이나 의견 주셔서 감사합니다 … (Korean)
谢谢您的访问和评论… (Chinese)
شكرا لك على الزيارة والتعليقات… (Arabic)

Copacabana is Rio de Janeiro’s most vibrant and eclectic district, with countless attractions for locals and visitors. With over 160 thousand residents, it’s almost a city within itself. The beach, landmark buildings, legendary nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques, and the trademark sidewalks are more than enough to captivate you. As you walk around and discover the parks, squares, sights, and especially the people, you will become a fan for life.

Copacabana is one of the reasons why people fall in love at first sight with Rio. The Princess of the Sea is one of the best areas for you to stay, with a higher concentration of hotels than any other neighborhood in town. Like Ipanema and Leblon, Copacabana and Leme share the same beach. This is where Rio’s New Year’s Celebrations happen, attracting 2 million people every year.

The name Copacabana has a Bolivian origin. Historians trace it to a XVII century image of Our Virgin Lady of Copacabana, brought by the Portuguese from a small village around distant Lake Titicaca. It was installed in a chapel that would later be demolished for the construction of Forte de Copacabana.

Until the late XIX century Copacabana was considered a distant area. It was covered with sand, dunes and shrubs – not unlike Barra in the 60’s. A small fishermen’s village concentrated most of the dwellers. The neighborhood only started to grow with the opening of Tunel Velho, connecting it to Botafogo and Downtown.

The inauguration of the Av. Atlantica along the beach around the 1900’s was a major turning point. When Copacabana Palace Hotel opened its doors in 1923, romance and glamour became Copacabana trademarks. Neoclassical and art-nouveau skyscrapers (4 to 12 stories high) added a touch of sophistication and wealthy Cariocas started to move to the suspended mansions.

Copacabana today is one of Rio’s most democratic and eclectic neighborhoods. There are penthouses and apartments along the beach that are easily worth more than a million dollars. There are also buildings with as many as thirty tiny studio apartments on the same floor, and no parking garage.

Copacabana is perfectly suitable for walking tours, as it is basically flat, and distances are relatively small. To better understand the diversity of the neighborhood we suggest you take your time, and use one or two days exploring all possibilities. Copacabana has a little (and sometimes a lot) of everything, and there’s fun for everyone.

Wake up early and watch the sun rise out of the Atlantic Ocean. Somewhere else in Copacabana, at this very same time, fishermen are pulling their nets, senior citizens are going for their daily walk and dip in the sea, the first batch of fresh-baked bread is ready for sale at dozens of bakeries, and bouncers of Lido nightclubs are finally calling it a night.

If Rio is a city that never sleeps, Copacabana is on an guarana overdose. Copacabana Beach is where to spend New Year’s Eve, a party that attracts two million people from all over the world. The fireworks festival and the stages with live music shows are a big plus, but the Cariocas are the main attraction. Most everybody dresses in white, a tradition to bring peace and good luck.

Copacabana keeps a close relationship with its neighbors. Walk South and after you pass Posto 6, it’s 5 minutes to Arpoador and Ipanema. Go North to Leme. Lagoa is Southwest, a short tunnel leads you to Botafogo, Flamengo and Downtown.

This is the neighborhood of Rio with the highest concontration of hotels, and there are options in all price ranges. They tend to be lower-priced than their counterparts in Ipanema and Leblon.


Copacabana is a bairro (neighbourhood) located in the Zona Sul (southern zone) of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is known for its 4 km balneario beach, which is one of the most famous in the world.

The district was originally called Sacopenapã (translated from the tupi language, it means "the way of the socós (a kind of bird)" until the mid-18th century. It was renamed after the construction of a chapel holding a replica of the Virgen de Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia.

Copacabana begins at Princesa Isabel Avenue and ends at Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Beyond Copacabana, there are two small beaches: one, inside Fort Copacabana and other, right after it: Diabo (Devil) Beach. Arpoador beach, where surfers used to go after its perfect waves, comes in the sequence, followed by the famous borough of Ipanema. The area will be one of the four Olympic Zones during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Copacabana beach stretches from Posto Dois (lifeguard watchtower Two) to Posto Seis (lifeguard watchtower Six). Leme is at Posto Um (lifeguard watchtower One). There are historic forts at both ends of Copacabana beach; Fort Copacabana, built in 1914, is at the south end by Posto Seis and Fort Duque de Caxias, built in 1779, at the north end. One curiosity is that the lifeguard watchtower of Posto Seis never existed.
Hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs and residential buildings dot the promenade. The Copacabana promenade is a pavement landscape in large scale (4 kilometres long). It was completed in 1970 and has used a black and white Portuguese pavement design since its origin in the 1930s: a geometric wave. The Copacabana promenade was designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

Copacabana Beach plays host to millions of revelers during the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations and, in most years, has been the official venue of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

More than 40 different bus routes serve Copacabana, as do three subway Metro stations: Cantagalo, Siqueira Campos and Cardeal Arcoverde.
Three major arteries parallel to each other cut across the entire borough: Atlantic Avenue, which is a 6 lane 4 km avenue by the beachside, Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Avenue and Barata Ribeiro/Raul Pompéia Street both of which are 4 lanes and 3.5 km in length. Barata Ribeiro Street changes its name to Raul Pompéia Street after the Sá Freire Alvim Tunnel. Twenty-four streets intersect all three major arteries, and seven other streets intersect some of the three, but not all.


The Cariocas (Rio locals) have a saying: God made the world in seven days, and the eighth he devoted to Rio de Janeiro. Given its oceanfront setting, protected by Guanabara Bay and lounging between sandy shores and forested granite peaks, you might forgive the hyperbole.

Sugar Loaf Mountain rises vertically out of the azure Atlantic, while Christ the Redeemer, arms wide open, watches over the city from atop Corcovado Mountain. You’ll find beaches for strolling or watching the locals play volleyball, and the galleries and museums of the arty, bohemian Santa Teresa district. Visiting the vibrant favelas (shanty towns) gains you an utterly different perspective (not to mention great views) of one of South America’s most intoxicating metropolises.

Known around the world as the Wonderful City, Rio de Janeiro is the perfect combination of sea, mountain and forest.

Stunning natural sceneries, a free-spirited and welcoming people that transform anything into a party, and world-famous iconic monuments. These are the elements that make Rio de Janeiro a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable destination.

The enviable collections in Rio’s museums hold fascinating treasures telling the tale of its 450 years of history. Land of the Carnaval and Samba, the city also offers countless theaters, concert venues, business centers and restaurants open year-round.

But it is the combination between geographical traits – the sea, mountains and forests – and human culture that makes Rio de Janeiro such a unique city. Almost the entire city is surrounded by dazzling landscapes. Rio was the world’s first city to be listed as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

In addition to its most famous attractions, such as Christ the Redeemer – an art deco statue of Jesus Christ – and Pão de Açúcar – a mountain range –, the city also offers endless programs involving nature, adventure, religion, history and culture, such as walks through the Botanical Garden and the Santa Teresa tram, visits to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Museum of Modern Art, and the possibility of jumping over the Pedra Bonita ramp and flying across the city.

Sports are also very important among cariocas (as those born in Rio are nicknamed). It is really no surprise that the Wonderful City was chosen to host the Rio 2016™ Olympic Games. There are always volleyball, soccer and footvolley matches being played anywhere across the city’s 90 km of beaches. The city is the largest urban climbing center in the world, providing options that accommodate all levels of difficulty, such as Pedra da Gávea and Bico do Papagaio.

The Tijuca National Park – the world’s largest urban forest – is also a great place for walks and other sports, such as rock climbing and free flight. In addition to preserving the Atlantic Forest, the Park protects springs and basins, such as those of the Carioca and Maracanã rivers, which supply water to part of the city.

Things to see and do in Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain
The statue’s iconic stance was not, in fact, the original design: earlier blueprints showed Christ carrying a cross. In the finished result, Christ himself makes the shape of the cross, his outstretched arms signifying a gesture of peace, as if he’s embracing the whole city beneath his feet. Peering up at the 30 m (98 ft) statue from its base, you begin to see the patchwork of weathered greenish-grey tiles covering its surface, and the lightning rods crowning the head like thorns.

Created by French and Romanian sculptors and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, the statue was commissioned by the Catholic Circle of Rio as a response to the ‘godlessness’ of society post World War I. Although Cristo Redentor (as it’s called in Portuguese) can be seen from virtually anywhere in the city, getting up close to the statue reveals otherwise invisible details, such as the outline of a heart bulging from the chest. Just inside the base is a minuscule chapel where multilingual masses are held.

The best way of getting to the viewing platforms below the statue’s pedestal is to take the cog wheel train up through Tijuca, the world’s largest urban forest, on Corcovado. On a clear day, you can look out over downtown Rio and the bay. Yet visiting the statue on a rainy day can be equally rewarding, as the crowds mostly scatter and you have the views to yourself.

Sugar Loaf Mountain
In a city that’s not short of panoramic viewpoints, the summit of this smooth granite monolith at the mouth of Guanabara Bay offers one of the finest. A three minute cable car journey takes you to the top, from where you can look back at Rio. In the foreground, tropical forest (where several rare orchid species grow) covers the lower part of the mountain, while Christ the Redeemer appears like a tiny stick man saluting you from a distant pinnacle.

From this vantage point, you can see just how much Rio is sliced up by hills and peaks, such as the ridge separating Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. In the day, look out for rock climbers scaling Sugar Loaf’s four faces, but the ideal time to visit is sunset when the city becomes bathed in soft amber light.

The Avenida Atlântica promenade
One of the simplest but most effective ways of getting a feel for Rio is by strolling the promenade of the Avenida Atlântica. This 4 km (2.5 miles) oceanside avenue stretches from the area of Leme, near Sugar Loaf Mountain, to the end of Copacabana Beach.

The promenade’s striking Portuguese-style paving runs in geometric waves alongside Leme and Copacabana beaches. The beaches are Rio’s great social melting pot and locals from all walks of life, from the wealthy quarters and the favelas alike, come here to relax. On Sundays, the sand becomes near-invisible under a sea of parasols.

Looking out to the beaches, you’ll see games of volleyball (and soccer-volleyball, a home-grown variant), exercise classes, paddle boarders, sunbathers, surfers and gaggles of children. Groups gather around slacklines hitched up between palm trees. Workout stations are posted at intervals along the beaches. Shacks rent out parasols and kiosks sell coconuts, acai and other fresh juices, as well as the ubiquitous caipirinhas (the national cocktail, made with sugarcane liquor and lime), while roving vendors ply the sands touting ice-cold drinks. In the evening, saxophonists and other street musicians set up shop on the promenade.

The Rio Scenarium Club in Lapa
By day, Rio’s Lapa district is a compact, quiet area of restored 19th-century pastel mansions that speak of old Lisbon. By night, it roars into life. These faded colonial façades house bars, traditional barbecue restaurants and clubs that pound with the sounds of samba (and all its variations), bossa nova, Brazilian jazz, reggae from Bahia, and even Brazil’s own takes on rock and pop. The rhythms spill over into the streets, as do the clientele. On a weekend, the area around the Arcos da Lapa, a bright white aqueduct, is closed off to traffic and given over to the party goers and samba bands.

One of the best clubs is Rio Scenarium, a three-decker nightspot-come-antique-store idiosyncratically decorated with clocks, chandeliers, gilt mirrors, bright upholstery and other eccentric touches. It has a mezzanine overlooking the stage area, where musicians play everything from samba to forró. The latter is a fast-paced music style from northeastern Brazil and a striking partner dance involving much skipping and spinning.

Tour the favelas
Shanty towns are a disquieting but undeniable part of Rio. Endless-seeming jumbles of ramshackle shacks with corrugated iron roofs cling to the hills and mountainsides around Rio, intersected with narrow alleys, steep staircases and sluggish funiculars. They’re informal settlements originally built without planning permission as Rio expanded and workers flocked to the city but couldn’t afford the rents nor the commute from the cheaper suburbs. Today they’re undergoing a pacification process. The best way to visit them is via a favela tour with a guide who is able to help you explore these resourceful communities in a sensitive and respectful way.

Santa Marta is a particularly eye-catching favela, with houses that have been painted in vivid rainbow hues. Shops display bright hand-painted illustrations and murals showcasing their wares and services. Walls are emblazoned with graffiti and political messages. Lines of laundry and many a Brazilian flag are strung up between dwellings. Look out too for the mosaic mural and statue of Michael Jackson, who filmed his music video for They Don’t Care About Us here.

The Santa Teresa district
A rickety tram ride takes you to the top of the hill where this area of colonial old Rio begins. Its cobbled streets and belle époque mansions evoke its fin-de-siècle heyday, when industrialists, rich from Brazil’s coffee industry, moved there in droves. Then, in the 60s and 70s, the area was rediscovered by artists and creatives. Their traces live on in the district’s galleries, studios, handicraft shops and little backstreet bistros.

A number of historic buildings are found here, from an 18th-century convent to a 19th-century castle. The Parque das Ruinas, the shell of a mansion destroyed in a fire, is now a public park that offers some sweeping views over the downtown and bay area.

Climb the steps of the Escadaria Selarón
Covered in a mosaic of deftly painted tiles in the three shades of the Brazilian flag, this celebrated flight of steps is found in Lapa. Its creator, the Chilean painter Jorge Selarón, intended the steps as a tribute to his adopted country and spent years hunting down the scraps of tiles used in their design. Later, he added red tiles to surround the steps, admiring the ‘vivacity’ of this shade. On his death, local people carpeted the escadaria in candles.

The staircase has since been widely embraced by both the local community and the international media, providing the backdrop to many commercials and music videos.

Tijuca Atlantic Forest
A designated national park, this tropical rainforest is a contender for the title of the world’s largest urban forest. It’s a dense meandering mass of vegetation, home to wildlife including coatimundis and sloths, and exotic flora such a lobster-claw plants and birds of paradise. Shafts of sunlight pierce the tall canopy, lighting up the many hiking trails and walkways that crisscross the forest. Waterfalls cascade down rock faces and occasionally the greenery gives way to man-made viewpoints where you can look down over the rest of the forest, the beaches, the district of Lagoa, Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf.

You can explore the forest through guided walks and 4×4 tours which take you to the best viewpoints.

Best time to visit Rio de Janeiro
December to February is high season, and although there’s a lot going on (including Carnival) the city can get extremely busy. July and August sees the coolest temperatures. The months of March and April, and September and October, offer clement, sunny weather and fewer crowds, but it’s safe to say that the city can be a year-round destination.

Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit
Rio de Janeiro is at its most lively and exuberant during Carnival, when the samba schools dance and parade through the streets in kaleidoscopic, highly imaginative costumes or ride flamboyantly themed giant floats, and the air is full of cheers, whistles and drumming. Carnival takes place annually in February and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s followed by the Winners’ Parade the week after, which is a little more accessible to visitors and still offers the same exultant, high-quality performances.

LINKS: – Rio de Janeiro

Conde Nast Traveler – Rio de Janeiro
Travel Channel – Rio de Janeiro
Lonely Planet – Rio de Janeiro
Trip Advisor – Rio de Janeiro

Audley Travel – Tours in Rio and rest of Brazil
VIATOR – Tours & Activities in Rio de Janeiro

US News – Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro
NY Times – 36 hours in Rio de Janeiro
WIKIPEDIA – Rio de Janeiro

JW MARRIOTT in Copacabana Rio de Janeiro

Exaltasamba – Abandonado

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Exaltasamba - Abandonado

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