Saturday, 17 July 2010

Just five minutes more; The Sugarloaf and Carmen Miranda

Are you an easy victim of that desire for "just five minutes more" when you wake up? The five minutes becomes ten and then fifteen... twenty minutes, what's the urgency? Then you drift off back into proper sleep and an hour later wake with a start, guilty over the fact that you should have been up and doing? Yes, even though I did not come to Brazil to be woken by an alarm clock; even though I don't have to disappear down into an underground or The City Drain, to fight my way to work, I am still afflicted with the Puritanical Work Ethic. But now it's time for the first Pina Colada of the day and a bowl of olives. After breakfast, it will be time to get back on to Book III.

The landscape picture, above, is of a view from the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio. On one of its sides is a delightful enclave called Urca and one of the houses on its winding road bears a plaque: to the memory of Carmen Miranda and was her Brazilian house at the height of her fame. It is now owned by the sister of a friend of mine and so I got to see it inside and stand on the front verandah. There is also a museum to Carmen Miranda's memory in the centre of the city (Museu Carmen Miranda); which is well worth a visit and displays costumes and jewellery and posters and other memorabilia,and plays recordings. When she first returned to Rio from Hollywood, she was hurt at the cool reception for having (as the Brazilians saw it) sold out (she became one of the biggest earning Americans of the time), but when she died an early death from a heart attack, such was the affection for her that half a million Brazilians turned out on to the streets for her funeral. The other picture, above, is, obviously, of her. I, I ,I ,I, I, I...

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