Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I ask you: is this the look of a crowd that has been at a samba parade for eight hours?

Well, ok, technically, it is. That sun? It's a-rising. But this is also the look of a crowd that is *very* excited for the arrival of rockin' samba school Vai-Vai. I bought the CD of all the samba schools' songs mostly so I could listen to the Vai-Vai song over and over and over. It's like a party in my iTunes.

Vai-Vai certainly had the most enthusiastic fan reception. It helped that their corporate sponsor (Pfizer!) paid for flags for everybody to wave. Nothing like a little flag-waving to keep you awake at seven freaking o'clock in the morning. I am told that Vai-Vai is the only team with corporate sponsorship.

If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see that this lady's suit says "diretora." Or you can just take my word for it. Either way, isn't she cool? I want a jacket like that. Vai-Vai dresses their people in style. Perhaps that is what pharmaceutical money does for a samba school. Occasionally I get letters from readers accusing me of being in the pay of the pharmaceutical companies. And to them I say: Pfizer needs to hurry up the check so I can get me a DIRETORA suit. That'll be a hit at the office!

Not only do they dance for an hour straight, they do it in these shoes. It would be a major accomplishment if I could stand in those things, let alone samba. Note the unusually large amount of coverage provided by these costumes. (They connect on the sides.)

The coolest part of every school is the bateria - the percussion section. It's so loud. And there are so many people. And they play so many different instruments - gourds, drums, bells, everything. I kind of wished they were mixed into the songs a bit louder, because I really only got to hear them full force when they were passing right by, and it was *cool*.

The guys who sing the samba ride along on top of a truck. They're a dapper bunch. Here, they're just passing through the heavy green gates, with six minutes to spare. Again, note the energy of the crowd. By this time I could barely hold my head up. Brasileiro and I left after Vai-Vai, because it seemed like a good act to end on, and because I seriously couldn't see my way to sitting another half hour waiting for the last school to get to us.

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