Next stop: BRAZIL! Jet-setting at home with World Trekkers this Friday

Think Brazil is all Carnival and beaches? Think again. Here are three things you probably didn’t know about Brazil:

MERCHANTS NAMED IT, NOT COLONIAL POWERS

When Portugal started to colonize Brazil, they named it Terra de Santa Cruz (Land of the Holy Cross) in their official manuscripts. However, as sailors and merchants began to exploit the plentiful natural resources, a new name took hold, Terra do Brasil (Land of Brazilwood). They also called it Terra di Papaga (Land of the Parrots), but luckily that name didn’t stick.

TWENTY PERCENT OF WATER EMPTYING INTO OCEANS COMES OUT OF THE AMAZON

That’s not just 20 percent of South America’s water; that’s 20 percent of the river water in the world that empties into the ocean! The Amazon river basin is crazy huge — largely located in Brazil, but covering 40% of South America. It’s no wonder then that the Amazon Rainforest is one of the major areas in the world for plant and animal life.

 

THEY’VE GOT THE COOLEST BUILDINGS

Ranging from pre-Colombian monolithic structures to Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Modern … you name it, they’ve got it.

Wish you could be in Brazil now? We’ve got something better — we’re bringing Brazil to YOU with World Trekkers this Friday, June 27!

Brazil is known worldwide for its vibrancy, love of life and endless beauty. Now, you can experience it all at HMNS.

Featuring Brazilian dancers courtesy of LD Dance Company, animals from Brazil and South America with Pacodu Exotics, crafts, balloon art, face painting and a screening of the animated hit Rio 2 in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, we’ve got fun for the whole family!

Don’t miss this chance to travel the world right in your hometown. Come to World Trekkers at HMNS on June 27 and get a taste of Brazil.

Viva Brasil!

 

Come to England with us! World Trekkers + The Princess Bride = Awesomeness

We’re showing The Princess Bride as part of our World Trekkers: England event on Friday night. We know that this is basically one of the best movies ever (it has a HUGE cult following), but here are some special tidbits that make it that much more awesome:

Princess-Bride-cast

 

The Cliffs of Insanity are real

The “Cliffs of Insanity” are actually the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland (personally, I think Ireland should think about renaming this location to align with the movie). Dramatic movie scenes aside, they really are a natural wonder, standing at a staggering 702 feet at their highest point. Formed over millions of years from sedimentary deposits, the cliffs are rife with fossils, and are constantly (but slowly) changing due to erosion.

 

Whoopie Goldberg wanted to be Buttercup

Don’t get me wrong, I love Whoopie Goldberg, but I’m very glad that Robin Wright got the part. Virtually unknown at the time, this was Wright’s first major role. She went up against Courtney Cox and Meg Ryan, and yes, even Whoopie Goldberg campaigned for the role (now try picturing them in different scenes as you watch the movie – it’ll blow your mind).

 

Iocaine powder doesn’t exist

We’ve all considered building up a resistance to iocaine powder after seeing this film, just in case, but sadly it’s made up.

However (and we don’t recommend this), you can actually build up a resistance to some lethal substances. Mithridatism is the practice of protecting oneself against a poison by self-administering non-lethal amounts over a long period of time. The name comes from Mithridates VI, King of Pontus, who ingested small doses of poisons on a regular basis, to try and develop immunity. However, in modern times, this practice is almost exclusively performed by those who regularly risk exposure to venomous animals.

 

Vizzini’s line about land wars is Asia is a real quote (almost)

One of the most famous lines in the movie is when Vizzini says, “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders — the most famous of which is ‘Never get involved in a land war in Asia’ — but only slightly less well-known is this: ‘Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!’” This advice actually comes from Bernard L. Montgomery in a speech in the House of Lords in 1962 where he said, “Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war is: ‘Do not march on Moscow.’ Rule 2 is: ‘Do not go fighting with your land armies in China.’”

 

Robin Wright used Andre the Giant’s hand as a hat

Some nights while shooting the film it apparently got rather chilly. In which case, Andre the Giant would place his hand on Wright’s head to help keep her warm. Now that’s a custom headpiece!

Now that you know all this, come watch The Princess Bride in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre (for an additional $6) during World Trekkers on Friday, March 21!

 

Feast your eyes, ears, and stomach! At World Trekkers, we’ve got something for everyone.

Come hang out with your favorite limeys, like Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and the Royal Guard. Feeling artsy? Take in a calligraphy demonstration or a painting class provided by Pinot’s Palette. Feeling dangerous? Watch some sword fighting demonstrations. Feeling classy? Enjoy tea time, provided by House of Té, and live music by Apollo Chamber Music. Feeling hungry? We’ll have food trucks out front, and free cookies (or as the Brits might say, biscuits) for the first 500 attendees. Feeling romantic? Watch The Princess Bride in the Wortham Giant Screen Theater (for an additional $6).

All this PLUS free admission to our Magna Carta exhibit!
Sealed almost 800 years ago, one of the most important legal documents in history is in Houston for an exclusive, limited engagement. And you can see it at World Trekkers at no extra cost.

Join the British sensation!
What are you waiting for? Come see everything England has to offer without leaving your own backyard — at HMNS during World Trekkers on Friday, March 21.

Miss the belly-dancing and dervish-whirling at World Trekkers: Egypt? Join us Aug. 9 for World Trekkers: France!

If you didn’t make World Trekkers: Egypt last Friday, we hate to break it to you, but you missed out.

World Trekkers: Egypt at HMNSThere were belly dancers, a whirling dervish and TWO congenial camels, named Gunther (above) and Teddy (not pictured). Even our own Director of Social Media and Assistant Director of Public Relations & Marketing tapped into their Arab roots and delighted our younger guests as Cleopatra and King Tut.

 

World Trekkers: Egypt

Gunther was quite the hit with the kiddies.

 

World Trekkers: Egypt

Face painters kept it festive.

 

World Trekkers: Egypt

Belly dancers got hips swiveling.

 

World Trekkers: Egypt at HMNS

Damien and Ernesto from Cat Eyes Makeup Artistry made everyone look like Egyptian royalty.

 

World Trekkers: Egypt

And our brilliant volunteers designed crafts to take home AND teach you something.

 

World Trekkers: Egypt

World Trekkers: Egypt

World Trekkers: Egypt at HMNS

So if you’re feeling a twinge of regret, file that away for now. Just don’t miss our next World Trekkers event Aug. 9, when we indulge our inner Francophile in France!

Travel to Japan without leaving home at family-friendly World Trekkers on Feb. 15

Editor’s note: Today’s blog comes to us from Jim Matej from the Okinawa Cultural Association of Texas.

All cultures are marked by their festivals and celebrations. In Okinawa — Japan’s southernmost prefecture — the Buddhist custom of Obon is celebrated every summer and has given rise to Japan’s most internationally recognized performing art: the Eisa dance.

Obon began more than 500 years ago. It is believed that each year during Obon, the ancestors’ spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives. During the three-day event, graves are visited and food offerings are made at temples and household altars, ending with traditional dances called Bon-Odori (Obon dances).

The unique culture of Okinawa was established during the reign of the Ryukyu Kingdom. During that time it was a hub of maritime trade in Southeast and East Asia. This was due, in most part, to a tributary relationship with China’s Ming Dynasty. Ryukyuan ships, often provided by China, traded at ports throughout the region including China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Java, Malacca, Siam, and Sumatra.

See authentic Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko at HMNS' first ever World Trekkers event Feb. 15!With the abolition of clans and the establishment of prefectures during the Meiji Restoration of the 1800s, the Buddhist dances in Okinawa began to transform into Eisa performances. Today, in the local villages and towns of Okinawa, Eisa is still performed in its traditional role as part of the Obon festivities.  The youth of each community gather to form their own Eisa groups. On the last day of Obon, they march through the streets and stop in front of homes to perform a traditional send-off for the visiting ancestors.

Koza City (present-day Okinawa City) began the transformation to modern Eisa dance by establishing the Traditional Okinawan Dance Festival in 1956.  Although held at the same time of year as Obon, this Eisa competition is open to all community Eisa groups in Okinawa. The festival has since evolved into a festival representing the Okinawan culture as a whole.

Okinawan Eisa Dance was brought to the world stage by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko (Ryukyu Kingdom Festival Drums). Since the early 1980s, RMD has elevated this religious and festival dance into a performing art. The choreography is created in Okinawa and is a dynamic blend of traditional Eisa and Karate forms with contemporary influences incorporating both traditional folk music and modern rock music. Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko is now a worldwide organization with chapters throughout Okinawa, Japan, Latin America, and the United States – RMD Texas being one of those.

See authentic Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko at HMNS' first ever World Trekkers event Feb. 15!In traditional Japanese costumes — with Jikatabi’s (calf-high white cloth shoes) flashing and arms swinging in synchronized movement, rhythmically pounding drums — this high-stepping, high-energy drum and dance troupe has performed worldwide, including at venues like Carnegie Hall in New York City.

In 1995, in association with Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko, the people of Okinawa incorporated the Eisa dance into a celebration of summer itself. The “Summer Festival in Naha” now has the world’s spotlight shinning on five days of Eisa being performed in the streets of Okinawa’s capitol city. The last day is capped off with the unbelievable “Ten Thousand Eisa Dance Parade.” Up to 10,000 Eisa dancers process down Kokusai Street, lighting up the city with their colorful costumes and jubilant dance, all proud to be part of Okinawa’s most internationally recognized performing art.

Join HMNS for its first-ever World Trekkers festival celebrating the art, culture and cuisine of Japan and see authentic Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko performed up-close by RMD-Texas.

World Trekkers will take place in the Grand Hall on Friday, Feb. 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Attendees can opt to buy a passport to track their cultural comprehension through each World Trekker festival, spotlighting Egypt (May 3), France (Aug 9), and Russia (Nov. 15). Tickets are $9 for the public; $7 for members. Click here for more information or here to purchase in advance.