Already in love with Brazil after visiting in 2002 and again in 2009, I couldn’t wait for an excuse to go back — especially to Rio de Janeiro, one of my favorite cities in the world, and in my opinion the most beautiful. This time, I thought, let’s go back for Carnaval! And since we generally know by now that I’m mildly crazy, you likely won’t be surprised by my next thought: if I’m going to do Carnaval — why not hit the three most famous Carnaval celebrations on the planet?
After a quick stop in Manaus to see the Amazon and its amazing ‘meeting of the waters’, I started out the non-stop festa in Salvador da Bahia, known for hosting the largest street party in the world — full of raucous parades of trios electricos blasting music into the streets, each followed by colorful groups of traditional (and not-so-traditional!) dancers and party-goers.
My next stop was Rio de Janeiro, home to what is, by far, the most famous Carnaval of them all, complete with their very well-organized and extravagant parade through the purpose-built Sambodrómo. Wanting to do more than just watch it there, I participated in it, joining a samba school and dancing and singing my way through — an indescribably fulfilling experience!
Tired, but nowhere near done with the week-long party yet, I hurried back to the United States for my final stop on Fat Tuesday, in none other than the Big Easy, New Orleans. Certainly different than the parties in Brazil, but just as exciting — Mardi Gras was jam-packed with thousands of revelers descending upon the French Quarter’s streets, and ascending up its wrought-iron balconies. Bourbon Street was pumping with music, beer was flowing, and beads were flying through the air! Yes — I did collect my fair share of the infamous beads, and no, to answer your question — I did not have to do anything to get them!
|1||Fort Lauderdale, United States||March 2, 2011||March 3, 2011|
|2||Miami, United States||March 3, 2011||March 3, 2011|
|3||Manaus, Brazil||March 3, 2011||March 4, 2011|
|4||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||March 4, 2011||March 4, 2011|
|5||Salvador, Brazil||March 4, 2011||March 5, 2011|
|6||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||March 5, 2011||March 7, 2011|
|7||Coral Gables, United States||March 7, 2011||March 8, 2011|
|8||Fort Lauderdale, United States||March 8, 2011||March 8, 2011|
|9||New Orleans, United States||March 8, 2011||March 9, 2011|
|10||Las Vegas, United States||March 9, 2011||March 9, 2011|