Tomorrow, the biggest party on earth, the Rio Carnival kicks off.
This time last year I was sitting in a bar on a street corner (curiously christened Corner Bar, by us, over the course of the week) with my mate Kim sipping probably my 15th Caipirinha and wondering if the rocket-fuel strength would eventually numb the pain of my ridiculous sunburn.
I was at Carnival and it was going to ROCK!
|Major Brazilian food group|
|It rained a lot!|
On that day we also got so sunburnt I can even describe the pain or hideousness it caused. So I won’t!
Our third Amigo, Michaela, arrived later that night whilst we were asleep (one of the only times we actually slept whilst the mood was out!) and we found our little group complete.
|amazing what you can find on the streets of Rio|
|Ticket to the craziest party you'll ever go to!|
|Feeling the samba vibe!|
I think we got there at 9pm and the party started at about midnight as the Premier League of the country’s samba schools sent their entries down the half-mile strip.
There are a number of schools that compete over the course of the weekend and each school has their own time to parade and their supporters, much like football fans, know what time they’ll come on and arrive in the school’s colours and cheer and dance and sing along to the school’s chosen song for the strict 45 minutes (I think) that they have to make their way along the strip. Fireworks would announce the moment that the first dancer from the school had entered the strip and then the same tune plays until the last dancer leaves. And they sing and play it all live! Wowzers! Each school has to have a number of different components in their parade, there are strict section boundaries, dancing areas and choreographic requirements, there are specified roles for each dancer, singer (even for the tourists who pay to partake – you can’t let the side down!) and float. The dance, song, costume choice and story all have to gel as part of one over arching theme. There’s just so much more to it than dancing down the road and I wish I’d read up on it before I got there… for a person like me, who LOVES tradition and history, it was just mesmerising to watch, and hear, and FEEL!
|Life regret: not taking part in Carnival|
When I flew home (alone, the other two amigos stayed on for a few extra days) I truly felt like I’d been on a life changing trip. Not least because I felt like I’d never be able to summon those energy levels again, or that I’d ever recover from the extreme exhaustion that I felt (not to mention the three respiratory infections I contracted in the aftermath).
|Our Havianas at home on Copocabana|
The feathers and glitter I keep finding in my flat are the first clue that it was most definitely real.
And the shivers that run down my spine when I hear, and feel, that samba beat remind me that even my wildest dreams couldn’t top that reality.
Check out my pictures here
* except for my birthday, oh and my wedding, obvs!