Rio De Janeiro – Carnival

Now, I’m not arguing that the city is any different during this time of year of course, I’m arguing that the city feels different. The beaches are always packed during the season, and especially on the weekend. The streets are still lined with the same pseudo restaurant stands, and the real deal beach stands. The prostitutes are still out at night and the place itself is still lively, but during Carnival, during carnival there is a happiness. A happiness that you don’t get to experience very often. It’s not that drunk fake happiness that we get in the US. It’s a real feeling, like how Christmas must of been like in a Dickens novel. Like a birthday when you are 6. Do you really ever have any birthdays like that again? Well it appears these folks do.

There are impromptu parties everywhere. there are people dancing, there are people singing. It’s a genuine celebration. It’s a departure from whatever problems you are having. I found it infectious. I felt like everyone from Brazil was in on it and the rest of us were just lucky to witness it. I felt like 1,000 people could start singing in unison in the street at the drop of a hat, it was almost impossibly perfect at times. It was and is a really good feeling.

Now, coming here for Rio is expensive, but it’s not out of reach by any means. Hotels are priced New York mid season. The streets are filled with 5 real beer (it was 4 to 1 during this visit…wow), and the food is as expensive as you want to make it. The parades and the balls can get crazy expensive but that’s the case anywhere in the world. I prefer the street action…but everything is good.

Just to make sure we had done everything we possibly could do, we spent about a thousand dollars per person to go to a VIP section for the actual parade in the sambadrome. Now this stadium ain’t like any soccer stadium or anything else that you typically see. This thing is like the circus maximus, and you can even imagine an emperor walking down that “street” with 100,000 plus people cheering the entire way. In any case, the tickets for most of the arena are not reserved, but they still cost like 50 bucks. The atmosphere is outrageous and the place is packed. Imagine your worst football game nightmare. Bathroom issues, getting a drink issues, dude next to you wearing no shirt screaming at the top of his lungs, his sweaty hairiness haunting your dreams…yeah, that kind of packed.
What we had was a box section. Very exclusive. There are a number of them throughout the arena, and they each have their own style so you have to do a little bit of research. Ours was the “red bull Rio” kind of spot. Young, lively, hip. Transportation is included. VIP and easy access entrances are included. Drinks are free. Food is free. They even had massage stations and tattoo artists and other shit like that. And while they pack em in like a mofo, you still have one of the best seats in the house. It’s 3 stories of cool people having an amazing time. One of the main problems is that they start so late! We enjoyed the beginning times when we had the place to ourselves…not that we didn’t enjoy the craziness, but easy everything is nice too.
Our party was called Camarote Sapucai in sector 4. It was well worth the money.

Carnival has been on my list for quite some time and I fell very very lucky to of gotten the chance to do it.

Notes to self:

-Copacabana beach and Leme didn’t exactly party all night long the first weekend. It was great Friday and Saturday night, but only until about 11pm. Saturday during the day was probably the most hoppin part of my first 2 days, with street festivals and dancing/singing groups hitting the streets.