Friday, 28 October 2011

Sambadromo Party

In Rio, they have dedicated about three city blocks to an ominous looking structure known locally as the Sambódromo - the 'Samba Drome'. It is a huge, roofless, stadium sized building about a mile in length that all the Samba Schools, parade down come Carnavale. Emma had procured tickets to the grand final, the champions parade. The week before had seen various heats, the winners of which would get a final chance to impress the judges and hopefully clinch victory for their particular Samba school.

Built in one of Rios less upmarket neighbourhoods, it didn't look particularly inviting the couple of times we'd passed previously but with sheer mass of people going to enjoy the final parade of Carnavale the atmosphere was electric.
The underground to get there was packed with performers in costume banging drums and blowing whistles and practicing their Samba for what is, for many, the most important day of the year. The floats had been under construction since last years parade and despite a fire that had destroyed several schools efforts, the turnout was truly spectacular. We had bought our own beers in a rucksack like true Brits abroad, as the talk was of a horrendously overpriced tourist trap on arrival. To be fair, the beers were fine and if there was anywhere worth paying the extra it was here. We arrived in our seats in between schools and we neared the end of the first Brahma there was still no sign. This was due to the fact that each school has between 5 and 10 thousand people in it with anywhere between 10 and 25 floats. When they did arrive it was worth the wait.

Unfortunately, we were still far too para about Rio to take our own camera out so I've dipped into Google to help us out, I will eventually go back to using our photos just as soon as I've covered the stuff we got up to here. These are just to give you an idea.

We stayed in the Sambadrome until long after we'd finished our beers as the flow of Samba schools doesn't let up until 3 or 4 in the morning. We have no idea who won and have no idea of the criteria for deciding what's a 9 out of 10 and what's an 8 but the sheer scale of them and the effort put in by every beautiful, semi-nude woman and every perfect male specimen dancing, girating and doing god knows what else in the thronging mass below us. The amount of energy in that place is on a par with the game of football we'd seen a day or two before. After about 5 hours we left, a little tipsy and absolutely blown away by the sheer scale of what we had witnessed. On our trip back to the underground, which luckily for us runs 24hrs a day during Carnavale, I felt a tug on the now empty rucksack we had used to transport our beer and turned round to face a less than perfect specimen of manhood behind me having a little rummage inside. I pulled the bag away and pushed him back, he was less than apologetic, leering at me and grabbing for the bag again. The guy must have been about 70 years old but he wouldn't have made it to the final audition for a Werthers Original ad let me tell you. Toothless and leering he turned away with a horrible cackle and disappeared into the crowd as we made our way home a little bemused but delighted with what has to be one of the best shows on earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment