Samba: It’s All About Hips, Legs & Feet

Nancy Merrill’s Photo Challenge this week is movement.

In the early 1980s, when I was young and spry, I was living in Brazil and loved carnaval. I have never been much of a dancer, but I love to move to music and I did manage to roughly imitate the hip movement of samba. I actually learned the leg and foot movements recently, while taking a Zumba class. But now my knees are arthritic and hurt almost every time I try to do it! So I admire watching others!

I have posted a couple of photos from 90 Miles Cuban Café on the night they had a Brazilian band, Bossa Tres, for Becky’s Month of Squares challenge and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. I didn’t post the dancing, however! Most of these photos of the dancers are blurred, of course – because the dancers are moving FAST! (Also it was sort of dark in the café and I only had my cellphone camera to take photos.)

The band invited people to dance but this mostly American audience didn’t volunteer, not knowing what to do. At 9:45, the official dancers had not yet arrived, so the dance floor was still mostly empty. That was when friends of the band got up to show their samba moves.
Shortly after 10 o’clock, the two official dancers arrived, scantily clad, all feathery and glittery, to show their stuff.
One of the dancers gets a man from the audience to come out and “dance” with her, but he mostly looked bewildered.
He stayed out there as long as he could without seeming rude! The dancing went on until the end of the band’s set, around 10:30.
I  took a couple of videos, which I’ve been unable to download, so here is a demonstration from YouTube. (Watch at least into the 2nd minute, that’s when they do the fast hip movements.)



Getting Our Kicks at El Rancho Hotel (and Thursday Doors) (Route 66, Day 5, Part 1)

June 11, 2018

Our AAA Route 66 map & guide featured the famous El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico. Although we didn’t stay there (but our Best Western was right across the street from it), we headed over there to have a look as soon as we had checked out. We were in for a treat!


Over the front door, an inviting sign:
Front entrance (there were four sets of these doors)
Inside the foyer, another set of doors into the hotel lobby
And what a lobby!
The Southwestern elegance of this hotel was in keeping with the type of clientele that used to pass through here. It was popular with many movie stars and other famous people.
In one corner of the lobby were some benches made from longhorn cattle horns, in front of a set of doors with octagon-shaped windows.
The art on the walls (as in the painting at above left) depicted Western scenes, and featured a lot of Native American art, pottery and weavings.

There was a beautiful player piano and an old fashioned cigarette machine, next to a shoe shine stand.


We climbed the red carpeted curved stairway to the 2nd floor balcony.  On this floor in this part of the hotel were rooms reserved for movie stars. To stay in one of these rooms today, you pay a higher price, $175 and up, which still isn’t too bad, considering.


This is one of the 2nd floor hallways, where movie stars had their own reserved rooms. The walls are adorned with Southwest Indian art.

Door to a 2nd floor ladies’ room
The walls of the balcony are covered with autographed photographs of film stars, which were given as gifts of appreciation to the hotel.

2nd floor balcony20180611_101836

Another 2nd floor hallway lined with doors to the reserved rooms of the stars20180611_103541


Looking down at the lobby from the balcony

Over the registration desk décor:

We inquired at the front desk about prices for the rooms. We were told that the lower prices (ranging from $110 to $150) were for “regular” rooms, in one of the more recently built wings of the hotel.
We lingered for a few minutes in the hotel store, which sold beautiful items made by peoples of the Southwest. Other items (not for sale) on display included pottery and miniature Navajo weavers, showing the different kinds of wool they used to make different colors and patterns.
As we left the hotel, another sign bade us good-bye.
Although Norm will be on vacation for two weeks, you can join the fun after that by submitting photos to his weekly Thursday Doors photo feature.


CFFC: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is “Busy or People Working.”

Every year, the last weekend in April (this weekend!), our church has a huge rummage sale, our biggest fundraiser of the year. We always need a lot of volunteers.
STAS13-IMAG0363.jpgThe sale takes over nearly every room in the church. We have a clothing room (above), housewares (below – the biggest department), Housewares, always a busy, popular, antiques, jewelry, toys, baked goods, books/CDs/DVDs, and outside there is a furniture tent and hot food (hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.).20160421_111420Our church also does mission work. One of our missions is feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless. Des Plaines has a local PADS shelter on Fridays at a nearby church, where homeless adults get a hot meal for dinner, breakfast, sack lunches, and a place to sleep for the night. Different churches sign up for the Fridays they prefer and get volunteers from their church to work the shifts and make or bring food.  Some people work in the kitchen, preparing for dinner…20150227_190349
and then serve the food to the guests.
In the summer, we have at least one church service outside, with special invited musicians and ice cream afterward! This is the Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Ensemble.20150705_095043.jpgEmergency workers are important in any community.  The American Red Cross collects supplies for people in disaster areas.IMAG0367-RedCrosshelpTeaching is a lot of work, even during special events when we look like we’re having fun (and sometimes we are)! Here’s a teacher holding up the flag of her alma mater during an annual College Day rally.
Sandy Rywelski holds up WIU flag next to her class.
The music teacher works hard – and so do the kids – with the different age groups to put on an annual show for the different grade levels. Here is the 1st-2nd grade music show.
20150415_134623.jpgA student helps out on the last day of school by cleaning the chalkboards.269
For children, school is their workplace and for very young children, play is their work; it’s how they learn. These kindergartners love building things with blocks.
And in December, everyone works hard on holiday projects. Here, a teacher’s assistant helps kindergartners make gingerbread houses.
Sometimes, people work to provide entertainment for others, either as volunteers or for tips, such as at a summer concert in the park.
While kids are getting their balloons, the band plays.
People with special talents perform for tourists for tips, such as this young man in Tallinn, Estonia.
Waiters in Japanese restaurants “perform” for diners, cooking their food right in front of them.
IMAG1924.jpgSome of the hardest working people work on cruise ships, in kitchens…20170324_103302or as stewards, such as this one trying to hold a tray of hot soup steady for the tourists on the windy deck of a ship in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.The steward holds on tight to the tray of soup.
Some athletes and actors make millions entertaining the public. They might even get a trophy, such as when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016!20161103_001137.jpg

Go Cubs Go! video