More About Rio

Botanical Gardens w Birds MediumI thought all of South America spoke Spanish, but it turns out they speak Portuguese in Brazil! Michael and I learned this on our trip to Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro means “River of January” in Portuguese, because the first explorers came in January and thought it was a river mouth.

Rio is such a beautiful place, and there’s so much nature in the city. They have beaches and mountains, and tons of wildlife. One of my favorite places was the Botanical Gardens. We saw all kinds of beautiful flowers, turtles, monkeys, and the gorgeous colorful birds that the locals call Araras.

Awesome Music in Rio de Janeiro

Molly and Michael watch capoeira with their friend Livia in Rio de Janeiro.
Molly and Michael watch capoeira with their friend Livia in Rio de Janeiro.

Michael and I just got back from a beautiful city called Rio de Janiero. It’s a gorgeous oceanside city in Brazil, in South America — and the home of the 2016 Summer Olympics! Our favorite part of Rio was the music. They have instruments there we’ve never seen before. There was one that looked like a fishing rod to us. It’s called a berimbau. It has a single string and you play it by hitting the string with a bow. It sounds like a bass guitar, but you also use a shaker with it called a caxixi. ‘Berimbau’ is also the title of an old, well-known song.

There was also a pandeiro. It looks like a tambourine, but it’s different. The jingles have a different noise and the drum itself is used more often than with a tambourine. We also saw a large drum, called an atabaque. It is often made with special wood from a jacaranda tree.

One way they use all these special instruments is to play music along with a form of dance and a martial art called capoeira. You can see videos online – it is amazing!

Rio was an awesome city. There’s so much to explore everywhere we go!

Trip to Puerto Rico

Michael and I were so lucky to get to visit the island of Puerto Rico. It has such fun water activities. We played volleyball on the beach, went snorkeling, and went to an awesome water park. We also got to visit the rain forest. They have an amazing number of animals there, and beautiful waterfalls, and ziplines. Puerto Rico is actually an American territory, and it’s flag is similar to the US flag.

Music!

There are so many interesting instruments all over the world. In Sydney, Australia, Michael and I saw something called a Digeridoo. What a weird name! It is an ancient instrument from their native population, called “aboriginal.” In Shanghai, China, our friend Nan Nan played an instrument called a Pipa. It made beautiful string music. Michael and I love to experience different sounds everywhere we go.

Thai Fruit Carving

My brother Michael and I went to Thailand and saw the most amazing thing! We thought it was a flower, but it was a watermelon. A woman had carved it into a flower shape. We saw all kinds of beautiful carved fruit all over the country. What a magical place!