By Iman Sadri
I traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this year, 2012 from February 16-23. It was a special time to be in the lush, green, South American city. Rio will be the host of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. But this journal entry is about the highlight of the trip for me, the Sambodromo. On Sunday, February 19 we went to the Sambodromo Carnval parade, about 10 miles outside of Ipanema. The Sambodromo is an event that drew 120,000 spectators to witness the extravagance of the samba floats. Different samba schools compete annually for the chance to win the "Best Samba School of the Year." Floats are decorated with great detail, decor and flair. They are moving parts with water fountains and a large crowd of glamorous dancers. They are adorned with dazzling skirts, many women topless with minimal clothing. There are hundreds of dancers behind them doing different routines.
Each samba parade last about 45 minutes, with up to ten floats, each with 50 or more people on each float, and dance sequences on the ground. Each sequence with up to 100 or more dancers. It is a special event. We got there at 10pm and left at 415am. The Sambodromo event itself lasts until 6am. Different samba school put on quite a spectacle to dazzle the audience. They play one song, however, for the duration of the samba school parade.
Sure, during our trip in Rio we experienced Corcovado's Christ the Redeemer statue, sunbathed in Copacabana, drank acai at Ipanema, drank with the jet-set crowd at Barra beach, had a peak view atop Sugarloaf mountain, danced with the crowds during the Carnaval week, and took in a soccer game to witness Ronaldinho. These were all important events, but the magic of the Carnval can only be experienced at the Sambodromo. This is what you see on Galavision and in the news. At the event, we saw Jennifer Lopez and her younger boytoy. We saw famous Brazilian singers adorning the crowds with their anthems, and we saw an eclectic mix of dancers and floats that gave us an enormous energy that lifted our spirits and had us easily awake into early dawn.
My friends, you must experience Rio during Carnaval and you must experience Sambodromo.
Iman Sadri is a cosmetic dentist and writer based in Irvine, California. He is a graduate of NYU and he covered the Sacramento Kings for The Current at American River College. He is a Kings and LA Angels beat writer. He is a cultural and entertainment contributor for persianmirror.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org