Saturday, March 18, 2006


Miss Shirley wanted to see the cows. So here you go. This is the team that told the story of cows. What's that you say? Those look like tigers, not cows? Well...yes, they do. I'm not quite sure what the tigers have to do with anything, but I do know that if *I* owned two giant tigers that moved their heads, opened and shut their mouths, and blinked their eyes, I'd be sure to use them every year.

Don't worry, there's cows on the next float. As this group's entry in the official program helpfully told me: "Huge also it is the including plot, that says on the presence of the ox in all the history of the humanity." I think this may be a lesson in the limitations of free online translators. I mean, very sweet of the city tourist people to include a paragraph in English on each school, lovely idea, but maybe they should've paid a gringo to read it over.

The way this whole thing works is, each team (they're actually called samba schools, not teams) has one hour and five minutes to get through the course. If they're not all through the gate when it closes, they lose points. We were all the way at the end, near the gate, so it actually took half an hour for each team to even get to us, then they went by for another 35 minutes. Each school had four or five floats covered in scantily clad ladies, many of them sambaing much faster than should be humanly possible. If you look closely at the picture, they're above the cows, wearing lots of feathers.

Then between the floats were groups of, say, a couple hundred people, all wearing matching costumes and doing choreography and singing along. I'm guessing these folks are cowboys. Each school has two or three thousand people, with maybe 20 different groups like this one. The school loses points if not everyone sings along (every school has a new song every year), or if they walk in scraggly lines, so there's people who run along the side, yelling at people to sing! or straighten up! or whatever.

But I think this was probably the picture Miss Shirley was thinking of. This is the last float. I believe those women are dancing in front of a giant pasteurization tank and - yes, that's right - wearing Holstein costumes.

This is what time it was when this school finished. They won, incidentally.

1 comment:

Spice said...

I didn't realize there was a whole competitive element to Carnival-parade-float presentation. I think we should adopt that here (beyond the current 'best float!' ribbons or whatever) - it'd add some kick to those long lines of high-school bands and waving pageant queens.