Friday, February 27, 2009

Carnaval: Sunday Night at the Sambódromo

The highlight of our Carnaval experience this year was certainly getting to go to the Sambódromo in Rio de Janeiro! We saw 6 samba schools compete (6 more paraded on Monday night) between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am. It was an awesome experience that I think everyone should have at least once in their lifetime!

The parades were a combination of huge crazy floats carrying tons of people, people marching/dancing along in huge elaborate costumes, a large group of drummers/other percussion instruments, and the oh-so-famous samba girls with their high heels, feather headdresses, some glitter, and not much else. Each school had a theme along with their own song that was sung repeated for the entire 1 1/2 hours that they paraded.

To give you an idea of just how hot and humid it was, we had just arrived at 9:00 pm when we took this picture. We did actually start off the night with showers and looking a little less greasy too! And, we were up at the very top where we could get at least a little bit of a breeze and where I wouldn't be brushed up against by quite as many sweaty people. (My personal space bubble gets larger when the temperature is above 90 degrees . . . even Dear Hubby was sternly warned not to touch me on more than one occasion!)

A panoramic shot of the 1/3 mile parade route

The float above was really cool. The gold-painted people would stop dancing and freeze every so often, looking like statues!

Proof that Z Baby got to celebrate Carnaval 2009 in the Sambóbromo!

There was a huge group of photographers that followed each of the samba girls down the parade route taking tons of pictures. Some were probably famous people, others were just beautiful and almost naked.

This chick is brave. Based on the construction techniques I've witnessed here (you know, like kitchen sinks that can't stay attached) you'd be hard pressed to convince me to stand on a moving piece protruding from a moving parade float over 3 stories high in the air . . .

Now, is it just me or do you also want to warn this girl that her lovely round cheeks are about to be pinched by a giant claw?

This was one of my favorite costumes. Part of the theme for this samba school was a celebration of the evolution of baths. These costumes were designed for two people and meant to look like they were taking a bubble bath in an old round wooden tub! Too cute.

Holding strong past 4:00 am. It brings a whole new meaning to the "5 o'clock shadow".

Leaving the Sambódromo after sunrise . . . we passed lots of the parade participants walking down the street carrying their hot, heavy costumes. I was ecstatic to be in an air-conditioned taxi at this moment.

And a little video montage for those of you wanting a better taste of Carnaval! (It may take a little while to load.)


Mrs. S said...

You are amazing for having stayed out SO long!! I am such a whiner when I get tired! haha! But the pictures are beautiful! It looks like it is a lot of fun to watch!

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures. I live in Rio and I've never been there to see the parade.

I'm happy that Salgueiro won the championship.

Oh.. I could saw the building where I study in one of your pictures.


AcesHigh said...

just to explain a bit more how the samba parades work in Rio for people visiting.

Before anything else, it is a CONTEST between the Samba Schools. A complex voting happens on Ash Wednesday, with some 30 categories analized, ranging from music, lyrics, costumes to stuff like how precise was their timing in crossing the whole range of the Marques de Sapucai Avenue (there is a maximum and minimum time)

Each "Samba School" must choose a different theme each year. What theme they choose each year is up to them. I must say they are REALLY creative. Some tell the history of a nation. Others tell the importance of water. Salgueiro, the champion this year, told the stody of SIMPLY... the Drums!

The lyrics, costumes, floating cars, etc, all we follow the theme, usually telling a story and such.

Its worth mentioning that carnaval is not celebrated with samba all over Brazil. Nor always in parades. There is street carnival in most of the country. And also club/nightclubs carnival.

Ray Adkins said...


You are one tough lady...
Glad you guys had fun.


Emily said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Aces, great information, as usual! Thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry we missed you - we were there Sunday night as well, almost straight across from you. Glad you had a good time... we certainly did! - Joe and Roya from Denver