RIO DE JANEIRO – It is hard to think of much else besides Carnival these days, the streets of Rio are taken over by blocos (street parties) and the media glistens with colorful images of samba school parades.

Stone Korshak, Editor and Publisher of The Rio Times.
Stone Korshak, Editor and Publisher of The Rio Times.

The official four days of Carnival start on Saturday, February 13th and last until Tuesday, February 16th, but the festivities and celebrations started in full swing last weekend.

Some may find it curious that an entire city seems to shut down for a two week blow-out, marked by public drinking, dancing and urinating. Some may think it sounds like the best party in the world, and it may be.

Some others choose to avoid it like a New Yorker avoids Times Square on December 31st, heading for the hills or holing up at home with a stack of DVDs.

Whatever your position on Carnival is, there is no arguing that there is no show like the Sambódromo show, and the city blocos that have resurged across the city are impressive displays of chaotic revelry. It all spells good news for the hospitality business, and although it’s an expensive period for expat travelers, short-term tourists seem happy to pay the price.

Life in Rio does go on though, and an interesting event happening in parallel with Carnival is the Rio Music Conference, the second year of the largest music industry event in the southern hemisphere. Last weekend saw NFL Super Bowl parties cheering on the New Orleans Saints, and the state fútbol (soccer) tournament usher Rio’s favorite four teams into the semifinals.

With all eyes on the 2016 Olympics the COB (Olympic Committee) set R$12 Million aside to train top athletes, and Real Estate investments are still looking good across Zona Sul and Brazil. Meanwhile, amidst the vast underprivileged population here, an NGO (non-profit organization) continues it’s courageous work in one of Rio’s most notorious favelas, inspiring all with forward thinking service.

Also, the world watches as Brazil grants an environmental license to build the Belo Monte Dam in the Amazon, and Rio de Janeiro’s Regional Electoral Tribunal (TRE-RJ) makes moves to ensure the October elections are not tainted.

With all the serious woes and oppressive heat, it’s easy to understand why Carnival is so popular here, and when in Rio…


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