The Artist Freyzer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeven years ago my first contract with Princess was on the former ROYAL PRINCESS, the small “R-class” ship since shoved down the line and now scheduled to sail for Carnival’s new fathom Cruises, Carnival’s do-gooder, give-back-to-society shot at making a positive impact rather than the sometimes negative impact cruising makes on a society. [It’s actually a fantastic idea! Check it out! Trips to the Dominican Republic and … ta dah! … Cuba!]

Arriving at Boca da ValeriaAnyway my first trip working for Princess was from Europe to Manaus, Brazil, and then spending several months doing the run from Ft Lauderdale up the Amazon to Manaus. On the Amazon we would stop at a little, and I do mean little, village beside the river called Boca da Valeria, nicknamed by the crew Boca da Malaria. It was a tiny, tiny village, and in my humble opinion not one where the visit of the cruise ships had a positive impact. Try as I might I couldn’t get guests, or crew, to stop giving out candy to the kids in order I suspect to feel like the great, white whatevers. The village was lucky to see a visiting dentist once a year! And not just the kids: everyone in this poor village was hustling for money. Little kids dressed up in feathers begging for dollars and kids with evBrazil 303ery kind of animal on a string posing for dollars. In an effort to protect the rain forest Brazil outlawed exporting ANY kind of wood product, so although local artisans had beautiful wood carvings they weren’t allowed back on the ship.

In all this there was a kid … well he was just a kid then … who was selling his paintings. They were primitive, but some of them I thought showed real promOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAise.  His name Freyzer Andrade.

We visited Boca da Valeria and Parintins for several months, every ten days, and I always chatted with Freyzer who knew enough English to talk about his hopes and dreams of going to art school.  Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to keep in touch with Freyzer through the years and watch him grow as a man, tour guide, eventually working on Holland America traveling the world and hanging out in all the great museums and galleries, and 17311_679293285548631_3629848944139645144_nmost of all I’ve watched him become this incredibly gifted artist.  He has had shows in various cities around the world, and actually been accepted to various art schools and to work in connection with museums in Florida … with only one problem … the US won’t give him a visa.
Freyzer recently posted this on Facebook …

Tentei marcar os pontos no mapa com as minhas andanças por aí.. o sonho de um garoto se tornou realidade.Atualmente sou um artista profissional autodidata e domino as técnicas com tinta a óleo, acrílico e aquarela. Atraves da arte ja estive em diferentes partes do mundo mostrando as belezas da Amazônia a bordo de navios cruzeiros ms Maasdam e ms Prinsendam da companhia Holland America Line entre outros.
A arte é minha vida e vou fazer isso até o dia que eu parar de respirar. Enquanto isso não acontece, continuarei me movimentando pra onde a arte quiser me levar.

Minha religião é a arte . . . . Obrigado DEUS por me permitir ser um artista.

Freyzer's Travels

Freyzer’s Travels

And for those of us who don’t read Portuguese, the automated translation …

I tried to mark the points on the map with my wanderings around.. The dream of a boy has become a reality. Currently I am a professional artist auto-Didact
and conquer the techniques with ink the oil, acrylic and aquarel. Through the art I was already in different parts of the world showing the beauties of the Amazon on board ships cruise liners ms maasdam and ms prinsendam of the company Holland America line among others.

Art is my life and I will do this until the day I stop breathing. While this is not me, I will continue moving to where the art wants to take me.

My religion is the art. ………… . Thank you God for allowing me to be an artist.

So what’s the fuss? See for yourself …

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If you’re a high-powered attorney who knows your way around the visa process, front and back doors, an Ambassador or someone with US pull, an art lover, or a collector who wants an early Freyzer … let me know and I will put you in touch with The Artist.

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Habla Ya -#3 Hiatus With Lots of Tarea

After four weeks a Spanish at Habla Ya, one-on-on with a really great teacher, Yaira Munoz, Princess called … and when you work for a Princess, when she calls you listen. Going in Habla Ya realized that my assignments on ships happen, sometimes last-minute, and promised to work with me. One of the things I like about Habla Ya is that they will work with you to achieve your goals. My wife had started in a class for local expats and this is the second year she has taken this expat series of classes. Well some of the others in the class had to leave early, so wanted to speed things up, which wasn’t working for Nikki, and so Habla Ya put her in another class. It just really depends on you and I appreciate Habla Ya’s willingness to work with your schedule and goals.

Yaira Habla YaYaira was telling me about another student who came from Germany not knowing any Spanish with the single goal to learn Spanish for business. Like most Habla Ya students he was in an immersion program, living with a local family and taking private classes seven hours [7 hours!!] a day, five days a week, and on weekends taking advantage of the tours and outings, of course in Spanish, offered by Habla Ya. In three weeks he was speaking Spanish, maybe not yet with all the tenses, but Speaking “like a native.”

So, knowing I will be off on CARIBBEAN PRINCESS for a month with nothing to do but visit 16 ports of call in 12 countries, give 28 lectures, and answer port questions from 3,000 people, Jaira has loaded me down with Spanish homework [“tarea”]. Interestingly one of the options Habla Ya has available is to do classes online, which would have been a good option except for the fact that shipboard Internet is notoriously slow and expensive.

Hopefully I will find a couple of other crew members from Mexico or Spain who will help me perfect my Spanish pronunciation in the crew bar if I buy them drinks. Of course, just like English, every country pronounces things differently and uses different words for different things, not to mention that too many $1.50 drinks in the crew bar may not be that helpful for my Spanish education. Hell, I could probably visit the Cantina across from the new market in downtown Boquete on Saturday night and get the same thing!

Habla Ya- #1 With Fear & Trepidation

Habla Ya – #2 Why The Spanish Lost The New World

Habla Ya -#3 Hiatus With Lots of Tarea

“Rule Britannia”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat was that deal about “mad dogs & Englishmen” . . . something about the “mid-day Sun.” Well, get one thing straight . . . there is NO sun in England. Maybe one or two days a year, but it ain’t sunny old England, especially in Southampton. Which is why, I suppose, Brits on holiday feel compelled to expose their lily-white bellies to the sun until they turn lobster red and get to go back to gloomy old England and show their peeling bodies to jealous friends and tell about escaping completely on a cruise ship to the Mediterranean. It should have dawned on me, but it didn’t. The English right now have more money than the Americans, so a ship sailing on itineraries out of Southampton would be loaded with Brits. Nothing against our sun-starved cousins, but it isn’t just their humor, or make that humour, and their spelling that is different. The Med to the Brits is like Mexico is to Californians, the Caribbean is to Americans (meaning North Americans, and US Americans and Canadian Americans in particular), and SE Asia is to Australians. The reason why a Californian takes a cruise to the Mexican Riviera isn’t for the ports. So the Brits aren’t particularly interested in most of the Med ports, but want to loll around and get burned in the mid-day sun, which makes it a challenge for me, the Port Lecturer, who things that the ports not only are the best thing since sliced bread, but the reason WHY people go on cruises.

These are heady times for England and London: the Olympics and the Queen’s 60th Jubilee. Incredible that this aging monarch, with no real power other than her person and personality, has reigned for 60 years, been through wars, including some within her family, and survived to be the old lady (well not as old to me know as she would have been when I was younger) who in her own way is charming, and now that the palace is dropping some of the mystery turns out to in some ways be a doting mother and grandmother. Now we have Prince Charles’ memories of the Queen getting in shape for the coronation, watching he and his sister in the tub getting bathed with the crown on her head to build up stamina to pull of the lengthy coronation, or the Queen taking home movies of her kids playing on the beach. So after 60 years she emerges not only as the mouthpiece of “my government”, always reading carefully prepared scripts, but as someone who is human. And it strikes me that the Queen, for all the pomp and circumstance, money and luxury of royalty does NOT enjoy one great luxury that all of us take for granted, and that is retirement. So the other day, as we sailed from Gibraltar, I decided to go up on deck and make an appearance for what the cruise directors were promising to be a traditional, flag-waving British sail away having nothing to do with the 60th Anniversary, just being a “typical British sail away.”

The decks were packed as the Union Jack flags were distributed to passengers in all stages of dress and undress around the pool. I expected we would wave the flags, sing “God Save The Queen” and go back to drinking beer and getting sun burned. What I never expected was almost an hour of rousing singing, flag waving, patriotism, drinking and celebration! First a recording of a screeching soprano singing “Rule Britannia” which unbeknownst to me actually had verses other than the well known refrain. The soprano screeched out the verses . . . MANY verses . . . and all joined in lustily singing “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves!”

Even US Americans, whom Canadians and others look upon as excessively patriotic at times, would have been embarrassed. [Although I grant you that patriotism in the US right now is somewhat confused with people unsure if we live in the United States of America or “The Homeland”, if it is politically correct to wave the flag with your right hand or left hand since one or the other may indicate your leanings or if you are Blue or Red (or if you are gay or just in favor of gay marriage with both hands held together high above your head). Whatever!]

So, here in all its glory, is “Rule Britannia” at the last night of the Proms 2009 …

Then came “Land of Hope & Glory” . . . which I, and many in the US, associate with commencement ceremonies. I almost felt compelled to walk down and pick up another degree. All these degrees, all these commencement ceremonies, I never knew there were actual words to “Land of Hope & Glory.” And that’s just two songs . . . it went on and on and on until the Deputy Cruise Director, a Brit himself, mercifully brought it all to a halt. But you know, even for a non Brit, it felt good to see this enthusiastic display of patriotic feeling. And I know the bars did a good business. Funny thing. July 4th, Memorial Day, British sail away, ANZAC day . . . all these patriotic celebrations involve a lot of beer which may just be one way of dealing with the reality of the high price of freedom.

And if, like me, you thought “Land of Hope & Glory” was all about getting another degree …

For those of us from “the colonies”…

The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London. Founded in 1895, each season currently consists of more than 70 concerts in the Albert Hall, a series of chamber concerts at Cadogan Hall, additional Proms in the Park events across the United Kingdom on the last night, and associated educational and children’s events. In 2009 the total number of concerts reached 100 for the first time. In the context of classical music festivals, [the Proms has been described] as “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival”.

Prom is short for promenade concert, a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London’s pleasure gardens, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing … The Royal Albert Hall could be filled many times over with people wishing to attend the Last Night. To accommodate these people, and to cater for those who are not near London, the Proms in the Park concerts were started in 1996. Initially there was only one, in Hyde Park, adjacent to the Hall. More locations have been added in recent years … Each location has its own live concert … before joining in a live big screen video link up with the Royal Albert Hall for the traditional finale. [Wikipedia]