A Day In The Life In Cachoeira

Today, after breakfast, we boarded our comfortable, WiFi enabled  motorcoach for a 2 hr drive for a full day tour of Cachoeira (cash o way da), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and protected by the Brazilian National Monuments Commission. It’s home to a cultural output grounded in African traditions and also home to the Sisterhood of the Boa Morte, a sorority which traces its origins back to the time of slavery and have a huge festival every August. En route, our very knowledgeable guide, Josuel, continued to share historical facts along the way. We first stopped in the town of Santo Amaro, where they did a short walk through. It was established as a center of sugarcane production in years gone by.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch at Fazenda Santa Cruz. The food as well as the hospitality of the management was second to none. There we were at the very  top with a magnificent view of the town and the slow-moving river as we dined on well seasoned  grilled chicken, steak, fish, salad, avocado, brown beans, rice, and pumpkin.  On the walk thru town, a few picked up some bottles of “homemade hootch” and yes, it was flowing as it was being passed around the table. They were having too much fun.  Belinda Walker’s Dennis and his brother, Clinton kept me laughing with their brotherly antics.

After lunch, we visited the Danneman Cigar Company, where we learned the history of cigar making. The lovely sisters in their color coordinated skirts, blouses with matching head wraps expertly roll and produce these world-class cigars.  My cigar aficionados are waiting for me to bring home a few souvenirs.  I went 1 better and was actually coached rolling a Robusto cigar.  Let me tell you, cigar rolling is some hard work and getting the proper rhythm as you work the foot pedals and roll simultaneously is no easy task.  My hat goes off to these beautiful sisters here making cigars, making a living.  The group had a very informative visit learning this art and fun making their purchases to take home.

Upon our return to the hotel, Debra Taylor Johnson and I headed to Mistura Restaurant  a few minutes away, where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner. I had fried soft shell crab for an  appetizer and the traditional  Moqueca (a fish stew with fish and shrimp) as a main.

This was our last day in Brazil and its  been a marvelous week in this beautiful country.  Will I return? Well, you know how it goes with me …… if there is enough interest; I probably will.  Tchau, tchau (ciao, ciao)  for now.


Time is winding down here in Rio. I must say a great time has been had by all.  So much going on, it’s difficult to keep tabs on everybody. Several made it to my spot, Quick Galetos aka “Chicken Shack” but others discovered “Crack dos Galetos”. They loved it. It’s located down the street from MABS at the end of Copacabana.  Thank God they had no problems that night. It could’ve been all bad.  MABS use to be cool, a respectable place with excellent food but since it’s become the hooker hangout, with all that goes on in that underworld.  The good thing was, in honor of the Queen of Soul, Aretha, our ladies took over the mic, stopped the country western genre, belted out  RESPECT, with the band falling in place and they ultimately packed out a nearly empty club. Would you believe, the manager asked them would they return to perform.    All I could do when they told me about it was shake my head.

Our last night in Rio, we had a wonderful dinner at a Churrascaria (steak house) in Ipanema, a great all you can eat salad bar and the beef, chicken, lamb kept coming until you said, “I’ve had enough”.  Immediately following we were driven to the LeBlon district for an amazing samba show. Several of our ladies participated in dancing at the end and they had a ball.

We had 5am departure to the airport for our 2 hr flight to Salvador da Bahia. We were met at the airport by a local guide, a brother named Joshuel. He’s been a guide for over 18 years. I found him to be a very knowledgeable historian with an excellent command of the English language.  En route to the hotel, he started right in with an explanation of politicians in office that are “social whites”.  Their skin may reflect African ancestry but they think white when it comes to advancements and progress for Black people.

I was happy to be back at DEVILLE PRIME SALVADOR HOTEL.  It’s not close to Old Town but I love the resort-like feel, the rooms and the service.  We will spend more than enough time in the Pelourinho with its colonial architecture,  the cobble stone streets, the food, the music and people of African descent.  Our first tour started at the Lighthouse, passing monuments and notable areas along the beach with our guide, Joshuel feeding us historical facts along the way.  We learned that voting is mandatory. Those that don’t pay a small fine and miss out on a lot of things that are necessary for a decent life. Also, here prisoners lose their freedom but not their rights. There is no life sentences and no sentence can exceed 30 years.

Our lunch was in the Pelourinho at Odaya and we had a remarkable dining experience.  We got caught in a bit of rain but that rain did not dampen our spirits in the least.

More of the Pelourinho tomorrow.


Ola Rio! We Are Back!

There were 22 in the group departing from San Francisco.    Our flight was seriously delayed and we were all stressing, fearful would just might miss our connection in Houston or even worse, not enough time for our luggage to make the transfer. Yes, that’s very important.  Thankfully we made it; wheelchairs, canes and slow walkers. A couple electric carts were summoned and that helped. Personally, I’m thankful for my new lifestyle of weekly water aerobics coupled with my joint and cardio FX; I said screw the cart, I’m thuggin’ it out and yes I made it with time to spare. There were 2 from Houston; Patricia and Linda so they had to already be on the aircraft. I was so happy to see my girl, Debra Taylor Johnson who was just with me in Mykonos, Greece a couple weeks ago.  She had flown in from DC that afternoon. Now, we were  ready to do this.

I’m not feeling United so much these days but I must say it was a very nice flight even though I was unable to get online to stay in touch with my folks.  My body was pretty tired so for me when I can’t get online, I sleep all the way.

After clearing Immigration and exiting Customs, there was my Rio guide, Geraldo from my past 5 trips here. He is the Brazilian with a serious swag. He is a much older cat, really cooler than the other side of the pillow, knows his historical facts and speaks 7 languages.      He actually looks like he could have fathered the actor, Giancarlo Esposito whose father was Italian and mother African American.

After arrival at the hotel, which is directly in front of Copacabana Beach, we were too early for check-in so we were escorted to the rooftop pool area.  Bam!!! They had the best possible view overlooking Copacabana and while waiting were treated to welcome drinks of the national Brazilian drink, “Caipirinha” made of the cachaca rum, limes and sugar.  Folks were beginning to get hungry and were on me about the location of the  “chicken shack” real name: Quick Galetos. For future reference: it’s on Duvivier off of Atlantica Blvd and it’s the best! Personally I wasn’t feeling that  5 Block walk so I chilled on the rooftop with the sunshine, a slight breeze and lunched on sauté shrimp in parsley and garlic.

Next was an adventure to find the oxtail place for Briana and Debra. We were finally successful only to find oxtails were on the next 2 days  smh.  Somehow my readers got broken so as we looked for oxtails, Kat was in search for a replacement. We stopped in a few drugstores, no luck. It would help to know Portuguese.  We even stepped inside a designer eyeglass place filled with Prada, Gucci and those guys but no readers.  All I needed was some damn inexpensive readers.  Then as favor would have it, on a street corner en route back to the hotel; there was a 1 arm brotha selling nothing but readers.  This was truly a blessing and for a mere $3, I was back in business.

That was it for me! I retreated back to my room to enjoy my corner unit’s panoramic view.  The next day would be the train ride through the urban rainforest, the Tijuca Forest which gets you up to the iconic statue, CRISTO REDENTOR (Christ the Redeemer).  Afterwards, 18 of the group would be doing the Favela Tour by open air Jeep.  Off they went while I had a fabulous lunch with Ms Bev and Ms Gladys.  Stay tuned!


Kat’s Kibbles and Bits

Its been a phenomenal July, a Birthday Celebration of epic proportions and I look forward to doing it again next year in Mykonos but First in June at Negril Tree House Resort on a stretch of white, powdery, sandy beach.  Those numbers are climbing but we still have space.

Immediately following by a couple weeks, we have the 10 day tour of Italy by private motorcoach, 5 Star all the way – Rome, The Vatican,  wine tasting and cooking class in Tuscany, a day trip to Cinque Terre and wrapping it up in the shopper’s paradise of Florence where you can literally shop til you drop. No worries about lugging excess baggage, you will fly home from Florence.   We have a couple rooms that have opened up and if you want to go but no one to travel with; we have a share available on this tour.

Mykonos, you haven’t seen anything like it.  Mykonos, Santorini….Santorini, Mykonos… I’ll take the flavor and the vibes of Mykonos anyday. It’s lively, it’s fast-paced, it’s action packed and in July every night is a Saturday night.  So you may have slept through signing up this year for my birthday, don’t miss out next year. This will be the spot for my after party.  If you want a taste of how the rich and famous do it…here’s your affordable chance.

In addition to the above mentioned; the following tours have limited availability: MALDIVES Dec 7-12, 2018;   BLACK PARIS March 20-28, 2019;  VIETNAM April 5-15, 2019; FIJI August 1- 11, 2019.  Interested?   email Kat at  rivoli98@yahoo.com




The Party Continues On The Amalfi Coast

It’s been 3 years since I’ve been on the Amalfi Coast and this trip would not have been complete had I not stopped by my favorite restaurant in Positano.  After flying in from Mykonos to Naples, we were picked up at our hotel to enjoy the coastal scenery of one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Our final destination would be LA TAGLIATA, where the Italian cuisine is better than any you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.  It was good to see Mama Dora and her sons again doing their thing like no others.  I don’t really care for Italian cuisine but the way they throw down is unbelievable and so damn good.  We had at least 8 courses, from anti pasta, salads, vegetables, grilled meats of lamb, thick azz porterhouse, sausage, kebobs, and  even rabbit –  no not that gamey wild tasting stuff. This was sweet, tender and delectable.  The red and white wine continued to flow, the decadent desserts were to die for and all topped off with shots of limoncello.

I was too excited throughout because our driver agreed to take us to Sorrento so I could buy my CAPRI WATCH.   I had been fiending for it for over a week   I got it and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO KAT!!   It’s been epic, it’s been phenomenal.  Will I do it again?  You betcha!   Next year it will be in effect after the pre birthday party in Negril-   Yes we got the yacht already in place.  Then the after birthday party in Mykonos with more yachts.

Much love,  Kat