We dont like Samba oh no, We love it!
17.02.2009 - 26.02.2009 -17 °C
Well today was the day that every man,woman and child in Rio lives for, the first day of competition amongst the big name samba schools at the sambadrome. To the Brazillian people this is bigger than the superbowl is to the yanks, bigger than the afl grandfinal to melbournians, greater than cricket is to the sub-continent. And to think we were lucky enough to have tickets in sector 7 a prime view which came at an equally elite price. Offcourse not as high a price as the people in the Vip covered boxes in sector two who paid in excess of USD2000 for an all inclusive extraviganser that includer samba dancer at their seats.
I wont comment to much on the early part of our day as it pails in comparison to the spectical of the sambradome. But i will mention that as I walked around Ipanema early afternoon there was a buzz in the crowd which had quadtrippled in numbers since our arrival last week. There was an increase in outragous costumes and even more piss on the sidewalks, and I dont meen beer.
I intended on taking a nap before we ventured into the sambadrome but couldn´t in the end as there was too much happening outside the hotel. Men dressed in drag, Markets, Music and overall madness and mahem. At about 5pm I was beggining to feel a bit out of place as it seemed every one on the street had an outfit. I ventured through the market but nothing really caught my eye. So i made my way back to get ready for the nights main event. Whilst Wes and SA were lounging in room 208 contemplating on joining us tonight a zany idea crossed my mind, why not where a skirt to the Carnaval. After all it was Rio. So i quickly ramaged through Harsh´s backpack, the first number i tried on was a classy wrap around which gained the approval of my room mates. However I was not all that convinced, so I ventured even further into the backpack and found a perfect little number. Rainbow coloured halterneck with matching skirt with sequens to go. Perfect!!! Well not exactly because Harsh was not all that impressed as apparently this was the outfit she planned to where for the night. However, Wes and Sa unanimously voted in favour for me to take the honours. Even Wes got in spirit and threw on a Little bikini skirt combo. Hey what happens in Rio Stays in Rio, after this was the norm in Ipanema.
The train ride to the sambradome was crazy, young boys were standing on the seats chanting and trying to gain attention of the girls in the next carriage. The western tourist were cringing as the train got quite crowed and increasingly louder. I was trying my hardest not do a sharone stone in my skirt. Are Centro Station We finally arrived.
A quick walk across the road and we were there. The ticketing system was similar to the tennis centre back home all automated and swift. Harsh boldly went down to the first row and secured two spots despite us getting there later than we planned. This was great as it ment we would have an full panoramic view of the parade. I couldnt wait for 9pm to arrive and the first school to perform. The crowd was chockers not an empty piece of concreate in the bleachers, ushers handed out all sorts of goodies, from Condoms,programs to even a funny shapped cardboard cone for the ladies to Pee standing up. I thought to myself this could come in handy when I had to use the ladies later.
Just a little after 9pm the anouncer opened the proceedings, fireworks followed and we were off, Império Serrano was first cab off the rank. I was pumped I wanted to capture this phenomena for the people back at home, I quickly reached for my video camera, pressed the on button only to be met with the fact that I had charged the battery early that day and haphazardly put the cam in the bag without attaching the battery. Could you believe it the one thing I bought the video camera for in this whole trip and I F&Cked it up. Sorry boys there will not be any zoom on the scantally clad dancers. But hey its Carnaval and it did not halter our festive mood, we did have still camera´s.
We could not believe the amount of work that had gone into the production, from elaborate floats, to the Collideoscope of colourful outfits and offcourse the customory topless sambadancers. The schools had worked since last years carnaval just for this 90 minute performance. Yes thats right each school made thereway from sector 3 right through to sector 13 dancing to their looped theme song. By the end of the performance it was hard not to get up your self and mouthing the anthem yourself. Thats exactly what the locals were doing, armed with the program that listed the lyrics even grown macho men were in sync belting out support for escola´s like grande Rio and beija-flor. That was the beauty of the parade evry one was passionate an into it. Even the cleaners that mopped up after each performance danced along the way snapping there heals. One guy was so good he did countless encores for the adoring public and lapped up his 15minuted of fame.
The fans were so passionate that despite Harsh and myself getting front row seats the people two rows behind us decided that the railing in front of us was theirs and plonked themselves standing smack bang in front of us. After a slightly heated exchange in Engloguese we came to a compromise.
Next time we will have to get the VIP seats in sector 2, none of these jossling for views. Just rock up and eat and drink as you want,close to the action, samba dancers at your lap and your own box. However at USD2000 a ticket it may be a tad out of our budget.
Despite the performance of each team lasting for a staggering 75-90 Minutes we remained engaged through out the night. I was a bit tired due to not taking my seista in the afternoon but wanted to stay atleast for an event favourite Beija-Flor. After the first two schools performed it was a little before midnight with 4 to go. I made my way up the stairs through the crowd to meet Check if Wes and SA had made it to the event. I was supposed to meet them outside the front of Sector 7. It was hectice weaving through the crowd that had by now even occupied the stairs, what was even more tough was climbing the stairs with this tight skirt making sure I did not give an upskirt of my rio underwear.
There was no sight of Wes and SA so I decided this was good time for a quick toilet break. But which one should I go to with this outfit "senhoras or senhores". I decided on the gents, it was a going to be a battle hiking my skirt up so I went the cubical option, there was many strange looks when i came out. The sambradome was not as open minded as the gay section of Impanema I realised. As soon as I returned to my seat I needed to reasure the crowd of my masculinity and tried to land one on Shetty but she did not want anything to do with it and was quite amused at my prodicament.
Well 4 schools had passed the time was just pushing past 4am and there was an Air of anticipation as the promotional staff of beija-Flor canvased the sambrodome hurling Free t-Shirts and flags of their team into the stands. This was clearly a professional outfit with big financial backing.
The wait was worth it as they failed to disappoint right from the get go, the formations was picture perfect, costumes an immaculate fusion of all things colourful it was clear why they had won 4 times in the last 5 years. The floats were as Wes would say "Ridiculous" and their discipline was obvious. The 4 teams we had seen in comparison faded into a distant memory. Both Harsh and I stood in Awe as this massive production penetrated the sambradome like a well oiled machine. The only major disappointment was that our digital camera´s had simultaneously started to display limited battery so we had to ration the photo´s. But we did manage to get a few in. We both looked at each at the end of the performance and decided we would not look at the last act as we wanted to finish off on a high. Kind of like when you go to a buffet and find a dish that is so perfect that you don´t want to ruin the taste by finishing with any thing else.
The time was now almost 6am and we made our way back to the entrance, a place where you had a mix of the crowd, vendors and performers all mingling. The western tourists who had performed in the parade were lapping it up as locals posed to take photo´s with them. But I did not come to Brazil to take a phot with a tourist. We came here for the real thing. As I Mentioned before the still camera´s had limited battery, so potentially we had 2-3 photo´s left. We wanted to secure a shot with a decent speciment, as the performers walked past I actually screened a few due to the battery shortage and then luckily managed to get a photo with one showgirl.
Harsh was getting frustrated as there seemed to be a shortage of hotmale dancers walking in the ground level. So she settle for a female photo. But as we left the sambradome she stumbled on this fiiiine guy just before the train station to cap off what was a great night.
Damn we reached ipanema at 7am on the next morning all samba´d out. What a night We hope Beija-Flor win they were great, the winner will be announced in a few days, after tomorrow nights second group of 6 special schools.