Versió en català aquí
I’m pretty sure that when I’m on my deathbed looking back at my life, one of the things I’ll be most glad I did not miss is Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
And I don’t mean watching the parade.
I mean being in the parade, feathers and all!
You want to measure what?
At the time, 1997 and ’98, I was among a group of BellSouth International colleagues working in São Paulo on a long-term project.
One of our local counterparts suggested we all parade in the next Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. She offered to handle all the details with one the top samba schools there, Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel.
It seemed like an opportunity of a lifetime, so about 20 of us signed up.
The fun began long before the event, when Mocidade organizers came by our office to take our measurements for the costume: wrists, forearms, ankles, calves, hips and chest.
Clearly, those costumes would not have a lot of fabric.
We held our breath for weeks until we saw them piled up in our colleague’s living room when we arrived in Rio: mountains of huge headpieces, auras, skirts and yokes, all covered in bright yellow, green and blue feathers.
Thankfully, the outfits came equipped with black bikinis for the women and black briefs for the men, so no private parts would be on display. Organizers save that for their lead dancers, the so-called destaques.
I put my costume on immediately. It was breathtaking. Always too shy to dance, I felt an urge to samba right …