Rio de Janeiro Carnaval
10 Feb to 17 Feb 2013
We arrived Saturday evening at Club Naval Charitas in Niteroi.
The next morning we moored unto the pontoon and sort out all the paperwork with the club before we went into Rio to collect our tickets for the Carnaval at the Sambadrome for the Monday night. By taxi we went to experience carnaval on the streets of Ipanema.
Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema) is the richer and ritzier sister of the also infamous Copacabana beach. Ipanema backs onto a fancy neighbourhood and there are plenty of high-end hotels. (still relative to our reverence with vary few buildings less than 20 years old)
People in Brazil are generally fun loving with a friendly attitude towards foreigners. The language barrier remains a major issue and learning to communicate with a few key words has now became an art form for us. Football, dance and music are the lifeblood of the country. For much of Brazil’s extravaganzas the most popular style is the samba. In the week of Carnival the whole country comes to a standstill. It is public holidays from Friday right through to the next Wednesday with all the shops closed to give all the people a change to be part of the carnival festivities. We arrived on the Saturday night and could only obtain an “entrade” from the “capitanee” office on Wednesday.
The people in Brazil wait all year for the moment to put on their costumes, learn the Samba songs and enjoy the parties on the streets.
All the streets near the beach were filled with people dressed up and enjoying carnival. The street carnival was everywhere and resembled something of “Jool” at varsity.
Monday was a lazy day while we tried to sleep the afternoon before we left for the Sambadrome. At Carnival time the Sambadrome is the heartbeat of Rio de Janiero. A 700m stretch of white surface coated road designed as a 90,000 capacity parade area with stadium seating rising on each side of the road.
12 Samba schools have over two days 80 minutes for its presentation and they can have up to eight floats. The top six schools return for the victory parade on Saturday the 16th. The proceeding starts at 21h00 on both the Sunday and Monday nights and continue till dawn. We have sit in awe and watched the Samba schools passed in front of us with the costumes and dancing. It was unlike any thing we have seen before. The music the costumes the floats the number of participants and the crowd is something to experience in ones lifetime.
We lasted to about 3h30 and close to the end of the parade of the fourth school when we decided to give up the battle of staying awake and decided unanimously that Kyra need to be put into bed.
Tuesday we slept late and enjoyed the facilities of the club. We were able to Tango with Zandia and Andre. It is only one month left before we could see them again. Zandia and I started planning our schedules so that we will be able to spend some time together.
Wednesday morning early Izak, Heleen and Kyra went to see the Statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Keeping a watchful eye over the people of Rio de Janeiro, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer (or Cristo Redentor) sits atop Corcovado 700 m above the city. It was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. From the Christ the Redeemer statue you could see the impressive colonial footprint left behind by Portugal with hundreds of historical structures scattered throughout town.
After sight seeing they decided to go and enjoy the sun at Copocabana Beach. Copocabana Beach, or Praia de Copacabana, is a 4.5 km stretch of bright sand that’s filled with people luxuriating in the sun and soaking up the atmosphere. The seawater quality is still not up to expectable standards but significantly better than inside the bay.
While they were sight seeing and enjoying the beach we was spending the morning with the privileged of having Internet. I could talk to my assistant Suzette and picked up on all that is going on at home. Even overcoming the time zone and coordination obstacles to talk to my mother for the first time from when we have left home. The afternoon was spending in the waiting room of the Capetania in Rio to sign the paper of our Entrada towards Rio.
Thursday Izak, Heleen and Kyra left for Sugar Loaf Mountain. They experienced the stunning views of Rio from atop Sugar Loaf Mountain (or Pão de Acúcar), which rises at the point where Guanabara Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. The view from Sugar Loaf Mountain provides a thrilling panorama of Rio de Janeiro and is a great way to orientate you in the seaside metropolis.
The rest of the afternoon was spending in the shopping center of Rio Sul. The bags they presented on arrival to stock up our necessary luxuries were not going back home empty.
Tired of shopping and the heat.
We were celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary. Zack have wanted to spoil me in a spa with a pampering day and my nails to be done with gel. What is easy in South Africa with all the spa and beauty salons is something else here if you are not staying in a hotel. At the end without being able to find a spa with the facilities we decided to bank the day with interest and make a huge withdraw when we are back at home.
Instead we have enjoyed each other company and ate at a restaurant at Copacabana beach and after dark go and stroll down the beach of Copacabana.
Friday we all went for paragliding on recommendation from Michael and Cathri. Zack received for his birthday a package of paragliding with Rio adventures from Izak and Heleen. At 10h00 we all filled in our forms and Zack and I were ready to leave to go up the mountain with our two pilots.
Those twenty minutes in the sky was awesome. After take off it feels like flying like a bird with the wind passing by. Whichever way you look the city is a delight of green forests, sweeping beaches and a blue ocean on the one side.
Ready to go:
In the sky:
Landing of Izak:
Safely on the ground:
We spend the afternoon on Pepino beach. The water was a light turquois and clean. The first clean water close to Rio that does not smell of pollution!
Our guests spend Saturday with packing their bags. Late afternoon they left for the airport and again we had to say goodbyes and be left behind to see a different part of Brazil.
Sunday was planned to Tango with all our loved ones at home. Great was the frustration that ones again the Internet in Brazil was so overload that it is not even possible to sent an sms with Tango. So many times the last month if you are at a place with Wi-Fi that it is not working.
We abort our plans to fly to Iguassu Falls and decided to spend the remaining two weeks South of Baia Ilha Grande towards Sao Paulo. The clean water and beautiful scenery needs to be enjoyed again.