Thursday, 15 December 2011

Rio De Janeiro

We arrived in Rio in late January 1968 and stayed with a family for one month who a had a large apartment on Copacabana Beach. We found this through friends and it was the perfect arrangement, right on the beach, middle of summer and in time for Carnival, the biggest party in the world.

Carnival in Rio goes for one week and is a constant progression from one party to the next, there are certain functions that as a visitor your recommended to get tickets for :

 One being the main Samba Parade which is held on the Avenida Presidente Vargas, which is lined with temporary grandstands.The parade is monumental, the Samba Schools come from all the provinces and have from 3000 to 5000 people broken into sections and different themes and costumes and coordinated choreography, music, drum sections and songs.
 As each samba school approaches they have runners up front who distribute a song sheet, which gives the crowd time to ready themselves for the next lot, and as a prelude you hear the drums. The drums don't stop they throb through the city all the time.Then a float appears which is designed and themed to the same magnificence as the costumes and is a stage for their best male and female dancers and singers. Then the crowd in the stands join in, with the singing and dancing making it an integrated street party for  the crowd and dancers. The costumes are spectacular and extremely imaginative, all are original in design and can take from one year to the next to make.

Next are the parties, there is a main party for each night of Carnival, we were lucky to go to two of them. The opening night one is the 'Palace Ball' and held at the Tiradentes Palace which is in the CBD. We went to with the couple who we were staying with, the dress was all formal, I had to hire an out fit, Lyn  borrowed some outrageous outfit and looked gorgeous. 

The entrance to the palace was connected to an out door cat-walk, which everyone, in their finery,  walked along as if in a fashion parade.   Giving the onlookers, which there must have been a few thousand an opportunity to see the costumes the women were wearing to the Ball.

Inside was a magnificent mixture of French and Neo-Classical architecture, sculptures and eclecticism. The main salon would have accommodated fifteen hundred people, around the perimeter rising several levels were private balconies and boxes, filled to capacity with people throwing streamers across from one side to the other. The entertainment was by two orchestras at either end of the ballroom, when one stopped the other one started. People danced where they stood, on tables, in the balconies, the place went off and finished late the following morning with a breakfast buffet served,

Corcavada, The statue of Christ which dominates Rio from the mountains behind the City. The image below gives an indication of how high it is above the city and the view with Sugarloaf  Mountain in the mid ground.

One of the 'Favelas' which are shanty towns built on the hillsides along the main beaches : Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, the image above is between Leblon and Ipanema. I went up into the pathways, not very far as they are not the safest places for gringos to go adventuring, they go up & up and the views are the best, looking up and down the coastline.

The two great beaches of Rio De Janeiro - above is Copacabana and below is Ipanema, the crowd below in Ipanema are following a samba group part of Carnival's celebrations.The mountains in the background are called - 'Dois Irmaos" the twin brothers.

The other party we were invited to was the Rio Yacht Club which is one one of the exclusives clubs in Rio de Janeiro. The location is like a movie set, privately tucked in a grove of coconut palm trees on the bay, with  views of Sugar Loaf and other  surrounding mountains. Presents an idyllic backdrop for one of the big parties of carnival for the movers & shakers of Latin America. They come from all over the world with their trophy wives and yachts to see and be seen.
The dress code at the yacht club was decidedly less formal then the Palace. The women all stunning, with plenty of jewellery and finery, revealing plenty of cleavage and slits showing a lot of leg, wearing beautiful designer  silk chiffon ensembles.The men, in cream tropical linen suits or reefer jackets others in Hawaiian style shirts worn outside white or pastels cotton linen trousers or tailored shorts.
This party is more intimate than the Palace Party, though there would still be five hundred, they all seemed to know each other , everyone dancing, entertainment and  music non stop,  with much ogling and flirtatiousness, becoming more and more promiscuous as the wee hours moved towards dawn, as is the way with Latins.

No comments:

Post a Comment