25 November, 2011

Is Rio ready for Carnival 2012

Rio’s Carnival is always getting bigger and better and every year you can expect something new and this year it’s not only the Samba Schools that will be bringing something new to Carnival! This year the Sambadrome (“Samb√≥dromo” in portuguese), where the Rio Carnival Parade takes place has been undergoing reconstruction and will be modernized in time for Carnival 2012 so everyone is waiting with bated breath to see if it really will be ready in time for one of the biggest shows on earth! The Sambodrome in Rio, originally designed by the world-famous architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1984, is the biggest stage on earth with every year each Samba School (and there are more than 70 in Rio!) taking 3-5,000 people down the Sambadrome “avenida” and up to 90,000 spectators watching the famous parades. The Sambadrome has never been as Oscar Niemeyer originally planned with some sectors having a restricted view and as it is to be used in the 2016 Olympics for the final of the Marathon big changes are needed to make it more symmetrical and increase capacity.


The plan is to accommodate an additional 18,000 people and have all sectors with unrestricted views of the avenida. Four new main buildings are under construction for sectors 2, 4, 6 and 8 with seats for all budgets: grandstands, open boxes or “frisas”, and luxury suites called “camarotes” (which sell for R$20,000-R$50,000 each!). Smaller buildings between the big grandstands blocks are being built for comfortable luxury suites with capacity of 60 people in each one of them.
So, the big question now is: Will the new stage be ready for Carnival 2012?! The Project Managers still maintain that the new Sambodrome will be finished in December 2011 and that it will be ready for visitors by January 8th, 2012 when the first Samba Schools take to the avenida for the start of the technical rehearsals in the run up to Carnival. Let’s hope they are right. It will be a momentous occasion as not only is December 15th Oscar Niemeyer’s birthday but having redesigned the Sambadrome at age 104, this celebration will be a special one for sure!


17 November, 2011

Christmas and New Year in Rio de Janeiro

In December, the city of Rio de Janeiro is filled with lights and Christmas decorations. The Cariocas – the Brazilians from Rio de Janeiro – enjoy their shopping and the colorful lights along the beaches and the unique decorations on the shopping malls attract not only children but also tourists from all over the world…. Also, for most Brazilians, Christmas time means family time. A time to get together and celebrate this special holiday. So don’t expect the biggest and loudest parties here in the “cidade maravilhosa”. But don’t worry, Rio is still a very special place to stay for Christmas. Where else would you find a floating Christmas tree?? In fact, a Christmas tree, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, that is the world’s largest floating Christmas tree, at 85-metres high and with over 3million electric bulbs?? Definitely only here in Rio de Janeiro.

On the other hand New Year (known as “Reveillon”) , isn’t quiet at all. New Year is the second largest event in Rio de Janeiro after the famous Carnival. The biggest New Year celebrations take place at the famous Copacabana beach where millions of people celebrate together and watch the amazing fireworks show that welcomes in the New Year. Be prepared for crowds of people ready for the biggest party of the year…cariocas and tourists…all together waiting for 2012…an experience you should experience at least once in a lifetime. Oh and the best thing about it is…it’s completely free! There are many stages set up along the beach, each with different acts with the biggest and best being in front of the Hotel Copacabana Palace. Acts already confirmed for this year are: Beth Carvalho, Seu Jorge and Latino with plenty more to come! The next big question is what to wear? It has always been tradition to dress in white but these days people wear other colours too and the meaning of the colour you wear that night means much more than you might think. It’s what you are wishing for the coming year… Gold brings wealth and luck… Green is for trust and hope… Pink of course for ladies…it brings you hope and true love… Orange will bring you happiness… Red for love, romance and elegance Blue is the color of calm and trust Yellow for creativity, intelligence and a lot a lot a lot of happiness… And last but not least…white…the color of prosperity and harmony

For those who prefer to see in 2012 a bit more exclusively….Here just some of the special parties going on:

Sugar Loaf Mountain: http://www.reveillonpaodeacucar.com.br

Hotel Intercontinental: http://www.reveilloncarioca.com.br

Jockey Club: http://www.reveillondocostabrava.com.br

Wherever you will celebrate the last day of the old year and the first of the new...Casa 579 already wishes you a good one and all the best for the year to come!