Luiz and I got last-minute tickets to Carnaval in Rio. I’m not sure how I can recount our long night of Carnaval revelry in the Sambadromo using my customary short-form post style – but here goes.
After waking at 7:30 a.m. in Itaipú to get back to our apartment in time to refresh, pack and prepare for a 10:00 a.m. pick up, Luiz and I set out for a long day and night escaping our current emotionally overwhelming situation for a traditional “forget it all and have fun” annual festival. Our friends whisked us off to Rio for a pre-Carnaval lunch/party at the home of Dora and Sergão – always top-shelf fun.
By about 3:00 p.m. we had to make our way via subway to the Sambadromo to stake out a good position in the stands. Stopping for food and drink along the way, bags packed, we entered the custom parade route stadium (under a punishing sun) in time to get a reasonably good spot.
We enjoyed every minute of our time waiting for things to begin by laughing together and singing numerous sambas – feeling the pulse of the celebrants around us. Everyone had a story. Everyone came with passion. We were in a good spot. Shortly after 9:00 p.m. things got underway.
I think almost everyone agreed that Sunday was the better of the two nights for pure star-power. The schools were terrific. There were low points (like when the paparazzi scared the wits out of the little girl trying to be queen of Viradouro’s bateria and made here cry…), but in general we were dazzled by the spectacle.
Our favorite school, Beija Flor, finally stepped off and paraded at about 4:30 a.m. They did not disappoint. But I must admit I was beginning to fade.
After the night’s competition came to a close our group took the crowded subway back to Dora and Sergão’s to eat breakfast, collect husbands and children, then make our way back home.
Once back in our apartment, in the shower, I became aware of just how tired I was and how my feet felt like hamburger perhaps unadvisedly withdrawn from my sandals. It had been a long night.
But it was not over – at this point we got on a bus and rode out to Itaipú to reunite with Luiz’s mom for the rest of the holiday. I held a vision of sleeping in a hammock near the pool.