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So it’s all over for another year… The last beat of a drum has sounded and leftover feathers are being cleared away as we speak – Carnival has left the building. Whether you’re breathing a sigh of utter relief and feeling like hibernating for the next year or mourning Carnival’s departure with the refusal to stop partying, one thing we can all agree on is that Carnival 2013 was a great one. Relive the good times with Dehouche’s Carnival Review.

The Grande Dame of Carnival
ImageThe Copacabana Palace Magic Ball is a sparkling diamond amongst all the other gems of Carnival; it’s the ticket that everyone wants but only few manage to obtain. Each year the Magic Ball has a different fanciful theme with past ones including crystals and butterflies, this year the theme was the ‘Arabian Nights’ meaning that ladies could don their best jewels and find their inner Jasmine, although black tie is still a requisite for men. The sumptuous decor followed the theme resembling something straight out of One Thousand and One Nights and it didn’t end at the ballroom as the ever perfectionist organisers continued the theme throughout all 245 rooms ensuring that the you were always surrounded by the Carnival Spirit. The ball even attracted royalty this year with the Prince of Monaco attending and well at the ‘King’ of shoes Christian Louboutin. The buffet offered only the best food with overflowing lobster, prawns and caviar. This truly was the hottest ticket in town.

The competition is heating up
ImageMonday night saw the finale of the Carnival Parade through Rio’s Sambadrome. The parade lasted all night as the six top samba schools vied for number one position. Mangueira, one of the most traditional and oldest samba schools in Rio, put on a particularly elaborate show dedicated unusually to the central Brazilian city of Cuiaba, although this did give them the opportunity to deck themselves in costumes resembling anteaters, snakes and armadillos. Possibly the strangest performance however was put on by the Grande Rio Samba school whose float was in tribute to oil. The dancers were dressed in wetsuits with oversized flippers and black sequin dresses to represent the oil although they veered slightly off topic when dancers appeared wearing lobster suits with giant cutlery. The schools are judged in 10 different categories amongst them; storyline, drumming and most importantly of course, the samba.

Having a whale of a time
ImageIt’s true what they say – Carnival in Rio de Janeiro really is the biggest party in the world. Everyone wants in on the action and it seems the message has even reached under the sea. Those who were taking a moment to themselves and looking out to sea on Friday afternoon were lucky enough to spot a pod of killer whales who had swum close to Ipanema beach clearly wanting to come join in some bloco fun.

DJ drop-ins
The Fasano played host to a number of celebrities over Carnival including Will Smith and Kanye West but for all true music lovers there was only one stand out appearance. For as much as we all love samba and the beating drums that accompany it everywhere it goes, there comes a time when we can get a bit samba-ed out and luck was in hand for those at Londra bar on Friday night. Legendary DJ Pete Tong was in town and played an impromptu set to the lucky few who had managed to get wind of it beforehand. He made a welcome change from the chanting of samba songs that the city had been playing host to until then but the same infectious carnival spirit remained intact.

The Weird and the Wonderful
ImageStarting with (and moving quickly on from) the weirdest Carnival eccentricity that we spotted this year – the bloco powered by urine… Without wanting to go into too much detail the idea behind it was encourage people to relieve themselves in the specially designed urinals from which energy was created to power the float. We commend their efforts towards helping to save the planet!

And now for the wonderful – Each year the fancy dress gets more and more inventive and this year the prize goes to… a dog!

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For those who aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to Carnival just yet there’s still the Winner’s Parade on Saturday which will see the winner and the 5 runners-up parade again through the Sambadrome. Vila Isabel samba school took the top prize this year scoring nearly full marks across the board. Their theme celebrated life in the interior of Brazil, an area little known to those outside the country. The parade starts at 9pm but be warned the winner won’t be through any time before 2.30am but as this is the last of Carnival for the year we recommend you kick back and enjoy the greatest party on earth!

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