Searching for Carmen Miranda in Flamengo

Chica Chica Boom Chic!

Eager to explore a new neighborhood, I met up with two friends and we took the metro from General Osório in Ipanema to Flamengo, one of the first residential regions of Rio.  The neighborhood sits between Centro and Copacabana and has it’s own stretch of coastline, although it’s bay water not ocean and swimming isn’t recommended since the water is polluted.  Flamengo is a mix of old money and middle-class. There are still a few remaining colonial style buildings squeezed between modern apartments and graffiti walls; the apartments along the bay look pretty swank.

According to my guidebook, Flamengo is also home to the Museu Carmen Miranda. – Remember the beautiful, vivacious, pineapple headdress wearing singer/actress who appeared in some of the Classic movie musicals from the 40’s and 50’s? She’s Brazilian 🙂

We spotted a museum sign and followed the arrow through a farmers market in Praça Nicarágua. It seemed fitting to pass tables of fruit on our way.IMG_0354

Once through the market we were left hanging – no more signs. We consulted my map and carefully timed our crossing of two multilane speedways, to reach the safety of the waterside path.IMG_3609


Guanabara Bay

To our right was Jesus atop Corcovado Mountain


 To our left Urca and Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) connected by gondola cables.


We knew we were in the general area of the museum but couldn’t quite make our surroundings jive with the map. We needed help and stopped an elderly, overweight, sweaty, shirtless man out exercise walking.  Our attempts at Portuguese caused him to exclaim, “What country are you from!” After hearing we were American he let out an, “AHHHHH you speak Eeeenglish’. He proceeded to converse fluently with us as he grabbed the map and tried to locate our position. He had never seen or heard of the Museu Carmen Miranda (however, he did point out where his father-in-law lived). With several hand flourishes, he decided, “It must be over there somewhere behind those trees, but you can’t cross here, it’s not safe”  He directed us to continue on the waterside path another half mile to the pedestrian underpass. – Funny, nice, and kind of helpful.


We encountered some Dr. Seuss like trees along the way.IMG_3621IMG_3623

We finally located the museum; a drab little building in the middle of a small park. “Hmmmmmm, was it open?” NOPE!

The man guarding the entrance explained that the contents of the museum were in the process of being moved to a new location in Copacabana. We turned on our “pretty please” smiles and asked if we could just take a quick peek inside to see what remained. He smiled back but didn’t cave. Oh well! We will resume our search for Carmen Miranda in Copacabana another day.

2 thoughts

  1. The balls are hard and heavy (well that sounds wrong) but they are 🙂 very strange! I need to ask a local the name of the tree.

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