Since Michael and I moved to Brazil just before Carnaval 2012, this year marked our 4th Carnaval in Brazil. In 2012 we were basically just trying to get acquainted with the city, figure out where and how to buy groceries, etc. In 2013 we took a little getaway trip to the mountains. In 2014 we were in the Bay Area after celebrating Colt’s godparents’ wedding in San Francisco. All have been great activities for us but this year we decided to something a little different, a little more Carnaval-ish.
First of all, I was still in the first-trimester season of not feeling very well and honestly I felt like Colt and I had just gotten back from the US, so I wasn’t really up for a trip. Since we decided to stay put, there is really only one main event in São Paulo so of course we were in for that! Party at the Sambódromo with Trent and Paige Hudson!
Let me explain. First, the “national music and dance” of Brazil is called samba. In preparation for Carnaval each year, there are samba “schools” which are kind of like dance/performance troupes. Each year, these schools come up with a unique theme and then create enormous floats, design crazy costumes and choreograph amazing dances for the big samba school competition. The venues across Brazil which are dedicated to hosting the Carnaval parade of competing samba schools are called Sambódromos (Sambadromes) and they are basically just stadiums with a long runway of asphalt and bleachers on either side. The competition / party lasts for multiple nights and each school spends a full hour making their way down the “runway.” We went with Trent & Paige on a Saturday night where there were 7 schools slated from 10pm through 5am. We made it until about 3:30am and were the first to leave but I thought it was pretty good for two pregnant ladies! The schools all write their own “team-song” for their performance and since it’s a just a few verses and a chorus over and over for the school’s hour-long performance, the crowd quickly memorizes it and sings along while dancing the whole time. (Honestly, you never sit down!) We had a blast and I loved getting to do something that was very in the spirit of the Brazilian Carnaval.
Just as a side note – each school reserves a certain number of slots for “tourists” who are not members but who can pay to join. For a hefty little fee, they get costumes and an easy role in the performance and together, they help fund the entire school. The real deal happens in Rio and this year, Michael’s brother Joe and some other friends of ours participated! They said it was an unforgettable experience – so cool!
OK – pics from our night – check out the amazing floats and costumes!
Final photo on the way out with one of our fav costumes.
Then before hopping in our cab, Trent managed to snag this part of a costume from the street!
Back at the Hudsons’ apartment, Michael tries it on for size.
Then next morning the two kids were feeling a little more chipper than their parents…
It was a great Carnaval / Valentines’ Day!