Wow, where do I begin...
Carnaval 2008, the first day. Some background information:
The Sambodromo was built specifically for Carnaval because the processions started getting to big to keep in the streets of Rio. It seats 70,000 people.
There are 12 Samba schools that compete for the prize....which is basically recognition. There is no monetary prize, no vacation prize....nothing.
Thinking about that, it makes it even more unbelievable. These are the poorest people in the country that spend their days, months, and practically much of the year designing, decorating, preparing, and finally, showing their work. There are anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 people parading for their school. There are two nights, Sunday and Monday. 6 on one night, 6 on the other. The top 6 schools get to parade again the following Saturday.
Each group has a theme which they try to depict in their song, which they compose new every year, their costumes and their floats.
We went Sunday night and saw the first 6 school as follows:
1. Sao Clemente- 200 years since the Portuguese came to Brazil
2. Porto da Pedra- Japanese influence on Brazil
3. Salguiero-Love of Rio
4. Portela- Saving Nature (my favorite-their theme was well defined, beautiful)
6. Viradouro-Emotions an the feelings they provoke....I do not have any pictures because we ran out of batteries after 7 hours....but I can truthfully say that this group was awful. They started out really cool with actual skiers and snowboarders down a manmade slope on a float, but then afterwards, it was all downhill from there...no pun intended! The costumes, the floats the ideas were all very inappropriate....cockroaches crawling over food...a newborn baby with the umbilical cord still attached, "Chucky" dolls with knives on top of people's heads...need i go on????
So, that was Carnaval for us. It was one of the best experiences I have had...so interesting, so different...to see so many people involved with all of their heart and soul for one night...one title.
I will blog more with some more fotos of other interesting happenings from the night...but at least I finally got my Carnaval experience going! It's not easy uploading all these fotos! Enjoy them!