Trip Start Jun 10, 2012
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Monday, February 11, 2013

Carnival ended up being so fun and an amazing experience! Beforehand, we took the subway by our apartment to the area where it was. We bought some masks to wear to the parade, and wore our flower necklaces. We came really early because we had to pick up tickets, and then we walked around and looked at some of the floats. It was a really cool sneak peek of Carnival, because we also got to see a few people in their costumes. You can actually pay to be in Carnival. It's a lot of money, but you just pay a Samba school and they'll give you a costume. You just dance around as an extra in their performance. I actually really wanted to do that, but you don't get tickets to the parade, all you can see is the audience for a short while. I'm sure it would be really fun though.
After walking around for a long time, we decided it would be a good time to go to Carnival. We came at 8pm, and it started at 9. The bleachers were already a third of the way full when we got there. We picked a spot right on the outside of the bleachers. It ended up being the perfect place to sit during Carnival. All of the bleachers were almost completely full a half hour after we came. I'm sure the people in the middle were super hot from body heat and couldn't see anything. With the seats we picked, we had a cool breeze, and we didn't have to look over people; we could see right through the railing. Like I said, perfect spot.
I really didn't know what to expect with Carnival. I had never watched it on TV or researched it much. The only preparation I had was from watching the animated movie Rio, which showed it pretty accurately. It was pretty much a short stretch of street, lined with massive sets of bleachers on either side. We were in sector 7, right in the middle. The street and bleachers stayed there all year, used only for Carnival. I learned that the performances were done by the Samba dance schools, who prepared for Carnival all year. They have a large theme, and their performances consist of about 8 huge floats (several smaller ones), tons of dancing and "extras" swirling around in their costumes. Each performance lasted an hour and twenty minutes on average.
I was really excited when Carnival finally started. I could tell everyone else was too, by their standing up, dancing and yelling in joy. Some music played, and extras danced onto the street. They were followed by floats filled with Samba dancers.
There were 6 performances by different Samba schools, but we only stayed until the middle of the 5th one. I didn't want to go, but my mom and Soph were super tired and they wanted to get to the subway before it was crowded. It was 4am when we left. So we had stayed at Carnival, dancing and cheering on the performers, for 7 hours. Well since we got there at 8pm, we were in the bleachers for 8 hours. I guess they had an excuse to be tired. I ended up drinking 3 waters, a coke, and I ate a popsicle and an icecream bar. Besides the popsicles and icecream, the only food they had were hamburgers and hotdogs. We got them and just ate the buns.
I was so amazed and impressed with the floats, costumes, everything! Some of the floats were really cool: Huge moving dragons and lizards; People spinning around in oil crates; an actual little river and waterfall; huge dragon, another little dragon came out from under it & got slayed by a knight; trogan horse with people in it. They were all SO amazing. It was definitely the coolest parade I've ever been to! I had tons of fun, and I was just so impressed with everything. We were lucky to also have seats right across from the judges. That meant we got to see special acts for them, like the dragon being slayed by a knight. Carnival was one of my favorite experiences I've ever had.
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