Trip Start Sep 28, 2005
Trip End Jun 24, 2006

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2/28, Rio de Janeiro

We are recovering from the late night at the Sambadrome. This is the highlight of Carnival, a two-night extravaganza where 14 of the best samba schools in the city perform in parades down a mile-long street with grandstands on both sides. Probably close to a quarter-million people watch the parades each night. Each school gets a maximum of 80 minutes to make their procession along the route. And what a procession it is -- with a half-dozen elaborate floats featuring the top samba dancers, plus up to 3000 others in elaborate costumes dancing in the procession. It's a riotous display of color, glitz, and glamour. For each school, there's a samba band of percussion, guitars, and singers (who sing the same song over and over again for the whole 80 minutes). The schools work on the music, choreography, costumes, and floats for almost a whole year before Carnaval. The show starts at 9pm and goes until 7am, but we bailed out after seeing 4 schools and made it back to the hotel around 4am. Whew!

Then today, we went to Copacabana beach. This is one of the most famous stretches of sand in the world, featured in several hit songs. Although it's a large metropolis, Rio is still very much a beach-oriented culture, and you see people in swimsuits wandering about town. The beach was packed with all sorts -- from those working on their tan in ultra-skimpy bikinis, to the beach volleyball crowd, to families with small kids making sand castles.
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