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Carnival (Carnaval in Portuguese) happens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Carnival lasts four days, beginning on Saturday, and ending on Fat Tuesday. Carnival Sunday is seven weeks before Easter Sunday. In 2006, Carnival start February 25th, and ran through February 28th. Carnival 2007 is scheduled to run from February 17th through February 20th. And in 2008, it wil happen even earlier in February, running from the 2nd through the 5th.
Carnival in Brazil dates back to 1723. But the Brazilian modern Carnival began around 1830-1840, and has become the biggest party in the world. Rio de Janeiro erupts with music, dancing, radiant colorful costumes, and even some half nude women. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to participate in Brazil’s Carnival.
There is the “Parade of Schools” each night starting at 7pm, and lasting to the following morning. These take place at the Sambadrome. Samba groups compete with the best schools parading on Sunday and Monday. Each Samaba school has about three to five thousand participants. Visitors can even join a school and participate in the parade for a price.
Besides the big parades, there are smaller spotaneous processions. Anyone can join in and the end of the bandas (marching bands of brass and percussion).
There are many costume balls, some public, some private, some for foreigners. The biggest of these balls takes place at the Copacabana Palace, and is pretty expensive.

Books about Rio Carnival:
Carnival In Rio : Samba, Samba, Samba

Carnival in Rio

One of the most common rumors about cruises is how much there is to eat. Well, those rumors are true! Maybe things are different on the smaller ships, but on the big ships like Carnival, you can literally eat 24 hours day!
For an example, let’s look at the food offerings on my last cruise on the Carnival Legend.
Start in the morning. You have a choice of going to a sit down breakfast, where you have choices of all kinds of breakfast standards including eggs cooked to order. They had this baked apple thing that was really good. The breakfast menu doesn’t change from day to day, but there any many things to order. I you don’t want to go into the dining room, they have a buffett breakfast on the Lido deck with various things like scrambled eggs, sausages, cereal, toast, orange juice, etc, etc, etc. Of course, you can always go and get pizza.
For lunch, they have more buffetts on the Lido deck. Burgers, pizza, and all kinds of stuff. They had this great potato salad at one station. One night they served baby back ribs that were very good. They usually offered burgers, and chinese food, and roast beef. One station made deli type sandwiches. And there was always pizza.
Dinner offered a different menu every night. They always had about a half dozen appetizers. Then there were couple different salads, followed by about a half dozen choises of entrees. They generally had a pasta, a seafood, a beef, a poultry, etc. If you were hungry, you could order multiple things. For example, the one night they had lobster and prime rib on the same night. I love both, and I ordered and ate both. If you try something and don’t like, tell the waiter, and they will bring you something else. Then they had desserts. There were usually a few desserts to choose from including a healthy choice.
Again, if you didn’t want to go into the dining room for dinner, you could hit the buffets on the Lido deck.
In the evenings, there were some buffet stations open on the Lido deck. After 11pm some nights, they opened the burger station. The pizza station was open 24 hours a day.
In addition to all this food, they also have free room service 24 hours a day. This menu is a little more limited.
All the above cruise food is free. But if you want to pay for food, they have a few stations where they will sell you food. For example, there was a sushi cart that cost money. And them there was another place that had some delicious looking cakes that cost money. But I never saw a reason to pay for these as there was so much good free food available.
And even beyond these little stations, they had a restaurant named The Golden Fleece. It was a little fancier than the dining room. The nightly menu was more extensive. but it cost I think around $30 a person. I never saw any reason to go eat in there as the food in the dining room very good. And it was free.
So do you get my point about cruise food? There is food on a cruise ship 24 hours a day!

Have you ever seen the movie City Slickers? If you haven’t then you must not own a TV, because it seems like they play it at least once a week on some channel or other. I have always thought that a cattle drive vacation would be interesting. I mentioned to my wife that a family cattle drive vacation would be fun, but from the look I got, I don’t think she thought so.
I haven’t riden a horse since I was a kid, and even then, only a couple times where you pay, and you go on a guided ride.
Cattle drives do actually have a real purpose. They move cattle between winter and summer pastures. And then they must be moved around these areas as well. Cattle must also be rounded up for branding, medications, and to be taken to market.
There are cattle drives in Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and even in states like Oregon, Idaho, and North Carolina. Would you believe there is even a Florida cattle drive? Heck, if those seem a little too mundane, you can head down to Argentina and do a cattle drive.
Cattle drive vacations cost around $150-$200 a day, or $1000-$2000 per week per person. Room and and food are included along with various rides, rodeos and stuff like that. Use of a horse is usually included, but sometimes might be extra.
If a full blown cattle drive seems like it might be too much, they have more relaxed dude ranches where you can participate in guided tours, dancing, storytelling, milking cows, horse riding lessons, etc.

Just got back from seeing Poseidon. It was an interesting movie. I have always loved the original Poseidon Adventure. It was a such a classic disaster movie. And that it was on a cruise ship was all the better! Then about six months ago, they had a made-for-tv movie The Poseidon Adventure. Man, that movie sucked! But then I started seeing commercials for yet another Poseidon Adventure remake simply called Poseidon. And it would be in the theater! The previews looked cool.
The original Poseidon Adventure followed Peter Gallico’s book Poseidon Adventure much better. The this new Poseidon had great effects. The story was kind of thin, but it was more realistic. People died for no particular reason. I enjoyed the movie. But it won’t replace the original Poseidon Adventure. I kept expecting them to have an updated version of Morning After.

I have some friends who are retired, and travel multiple times a year taking advantage of timeshares they have purchased. A couple years ago while my wife and I were on a cruise, we met up with them is Cozumel where they had been staying for a couple weeks already.

What are timeshares? How do timeshares work?
When you buy a timeshare, you are buying a fractional part of a piece of property. You might be a 1/52 owner of the property, entitling you to use it for one week a year. So timeshares are usually used as vacation property. So for that reason, timeshares are usually located in popular vacation destinations. There will be plenty of other owners of the same piece of property who will also be using the property throughout the year. The timeshare will be managed, and it will need to be maintained, so there will be annual fees for maintenance, utilities, and taxes.
There are both deeded and non-deeded timeshares. Owners of deeded timeshares are actually partial owners. Owners of non-deeded timeshares are more like members of a club that gives you the right to use a property.
Shares of a timeshare might only be used at certain times of the year. So shares for popular times might be more expensive.
Besides buying, you may also sell timeshares. The sale of timeshares may also mean more fees in the way a transaction fee and a recording fee. There might potentially be other costs as well.
Don’t forget that if you own a timeshare in some other country, that in order to use it, you actually have to get there. So don’t forget about travel costs.
A timeshare doesn’t move. So you will have a place to go every year. The same place. If you like going to the same place every year, then great! But maybe you would like to go different places. Other people own timeshares too. So it is possible to trade the use of timeshares. Since the use of different timeshares may have different values, there are point systems. There are companies that will facilitate the swaps of trading of timeshares.
Another possibility is that you can rent your timeshare out.
Beware when buying timeshares. Some places may use hardsell tactics. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting, and how much you are paying. There are also scams involving timeshares.

Books on timeshares:
Timeshare Vacations For Dummies

Simplifying Timeshare: Vacation Ownership-the Complete How to

The Insider’s Guide to U.S. Timeshares (635 resorts)

Developing Timeshare and Vacation – Ownership Properties

Surviving a Timeshare Presentation

Blaggers: Adventures Inside the Sun-Kissed but Murky World of Holiday Timeshare

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