Carnival Rio de Janeiro
We just made it into Rio to get to the bank before they closed at 4 pm.
There was a buzz in the city that one could feel in the air. Friday, start of the Carnival and the start of a long weekend for most Carioca’s (local Rio dwellers). Most businesses would only open again on the following Wednesday.
There are two parts to Rio’s Carnival, the “formal” carnival which is held in the Sambadrome, or Passarela do Samba Stadium. This is the main site where grandstands and VIP viewing booths are set up. The tickets to this part are sold, and often re-sold at a considerable price, long before the time. By the time we decided to go the tickets could cost between US$ 500 and US$ 5 000.00 each, per night! This is the Carnival you see around the world with the incredible costumes, fantasy floats and bands. More than half a million people take part, all in costume. They are divided into groups called “Samba schools” and compete against each other for the best in carnival. A King and Queen of the carnival are introduced the first night, always a little behind schedule as is befitting “carioca time”.
Each Samba school has a chance to perform before the crowds. On the following Friday the champions are announced. TV’s everywhere are blaring Carnival and breaths held as the points are counted.
Then there is what I call “the people’s carnival”. These are known as “Blocos”. These take parts in the streets and suberbs of Rio. These are the local cariocs, many dressed in costumes and they lead or follow open topped busses that carry musicians blaring samba music. These are followed by spectators dancing and drinking.
It is amazing , considering the amount of alcohol consumed in these blocos we saw very very few people actually drunk. No one misbehaves, no fights just good clean fun.
Our friend Marcello met us on the bus with 3 of his friends and we went off to the peoples carnival. We started in central Rio at about 4 pm. There we walked , danced and sometimes just rolled with the crowd for about 3 hours. That bloco then ended, many people just stay in the area making their own music singing and dancing. We caught a bus to Copacabana where the next bloco was about to start. That one we followed and stayed at until 3am.
It rained permanently; a few people had umbrellas but most totally ignored the rain. The camaraderie is amazing, everyone loves everyone. The Brazilians are incredibly passionate people. In everything they do they seem to ooze a natural sensuousness.
It is quite difficult to express the emotions of the carnival blocos. So for about 12 hours we walked and danced in the rain. I had holes on every possible point of my feet by the end from the wet shoes.
The next day we joined Marcello and his friends again for another bloco. No rain this time. J
I think the photos will say more than I can tell you.
Many of the guys dress as women groups. Its hilarious!
Even kids are dressed up. From little babies in prams are pushed along with everyone.
Marcelo. Chee, Carla, Andre and ? Oops can’t remember.
Refreshments, Vodka on tap!
Yep I confess, crazy as they come!
Then day 2:
Beautiful strangers stop and do this all the time. Passion of carnival is catching.
We were not sure what it is.