One of our timelines we needed to hit was the Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro. All accommodations were either booked up or were at rocket high prices! We were lucky that Chris has friends all over the world and we get to bunk in with another of his nerd friends (Disclaimer: what Chris usually says of his online gaming friends- sorry Fernando & Zdenek, Chris said that, not me!!) (Chris' note: I'm one cool dude. I even have an email from my ex boss saying so)
We arrived on the last weekend, which was the semi finals of the carnivale because we had to wait for our visas in Argentina. We didn't realized the carnivale is actually a competition amongst schools and the winning school bags like millions of dollars! The schools will dance based on a selected song for 1h30m- yes, the same song repeated over and over for 1h30m each school multiply by 8-16 schools per day, which means you hear the same song over and over again for more than 8 hrs! We were glad we didn't get the tickets to go watch it at the arena.
We went out the next day after we arrived at 10am in the morning to check out the street party. People were already drinking or drunk and there were thousands of party-goers in the street. We felt out of place immediately when we saw everyone dressed up for the occasion; young and old! One family was in flint stones costume, another in mickey mouse stuff. I noticed many guys like to cross dressed as girls- they came in dresses, bikinis, and some were even just in adult diapers!
Chris and I really stood out in public ;being Asians and weren't dressed up like them. Almost within half an hour of arriving at the street party, we bought our wigs and try to blend in a little. We partied till about 2.30pm and then walked to a nearby beach (chris' note: Alana, Fernando, and I staggered) where they served the best brazilian BBQ buffet. The waiters came with different cuts of meats (beef, chicken, pork, lamb) and sliced them into your plate. It was so good that we went back a second time on our last day in Brazil.
The street parties (at various different locations) can start as late as 8pm to dawn or from 8am to dusk! It was such a crazy atmosphere; grandmothers dressing up with their grown up children or parents bringing their few months old babies (dressed up too!) and partied through the night.
After the carnivale was officially over and the winner announced, life went back to normal for most people. Some companies gave the day off after the carnival for people to get over their hangover.
We checked out Christ the Redeemer after Carnivale and Chris sprung a surprise "Detour" Amazing Race card on me. I got to choose between paragliding or sky diving! We decided on sky diving as none of us had never done it before (Alana & chris had both done paragliding before).
All thanks to Fernando, he got us a great deal to jump in Retiro, a city 2 hours from Rio. The jumpmaster did a back flip once we jumped out of the plane and then flipped back to free falling facing the ground. It wasn't scary and there weren't any butterflies in our stomachs either. But once the parachute was pulled, we slowed down tremendously and we were able to enjoy the view. Poor Alana didn't really have a chance to enjoy the jump because her harness was choking her after the parachute was pulled.
We headed to Ipanema beach on Alana's last day in Rio. It is true that the girls wear the skimpiest bikinis! Chris commented that my bikini looked big but that was my skimpiest set. I wore that exact same to the pool at the Sheraton Iguazu in Argentina and he said that it was pretty tiny..
Special thanks to Marcela for being so so so nice to us!