Trip Start Oct 04, 2011
Trip End Mar 17, 2013

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Friday, February 17, 2012

After our cruise we journey to the huge city of Sao Paulo (the largest in Brasil with 20 million inhabitants) it is also one of the most congested cities, and has the most frequent use of helitaxi's in the world. 100 take offs every hour. I have put some pictures of driving through Sao Paulo.

We visited Marcelo's cousin Eliane (Edson's sister) and her husband Claudio who own a computer repair shop in Sao Paulo. We stayed with them for a couple of days. We also visited Tia Maria who is Marcelo's dad's sister and she runs an estate agency. She made us a lovely dinner and delicious dessert. 

So now Carnival. I guess all of you have heard of it, but what is it? In actual fact rather than just being a parade held in each city, it is a huge competition. There are numerous Samba schools throughout Brasil and there are different divisions just like in football, the schools that come last in the upper division drop down and the highest scores in the second division move up every year. The upper division Carnivals are held in Sao Paulo and Rio and are battled out on a Sambodromo (Samaba Drome) constructed especially each year. Our plan was to see a part of each (as each lasts 2 days and is held first Sao Paulo and then Rio).

We did not have any tickets so we went on a wish and a prayer, we finally managed to get tickets at 4am (having missed 4 schools) we caught the end of Aguia de Ouro, we saw all of Vila Maria (placed 5th), Gravioes da Fiel (Placed 9th) and Tom Maior (Placed 7th). I have divided the photos up with a little explanation of the theme of each so when you are looking at the photos you can compare each school and see which you like best. Each school writes a song which is sung throughout their parade and has a theme and they are not only judged on dancing, but costumes, theme interpretation, music, timing etc. They have a certain amount of time to complete their parade and if they are late they loose points and if they rush they loose points.

As I said, it is a competition, you may have seen on the TV that this year there was a bit of a scandal surrounding the results and some spectators tore up the judges results because they thought it was rigged. We felt the spirit of fierce competition as the supporters on the stand we were sitting handed out flags and lit fire candles and waved banners, fortunately we were sitting with the team that Sandra and Edson support. The Gravioes. Anyway, we had a great time and the carnival ended at 7am as the sun rose. 

Next stop RIO. 

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