The parade is raging on the TV in the background and I'm preparing to head down to the Temple of Samba, the Sambódromo, ticket in hand.
"'What I would advise you to do,' Ana said, 'is forget about the note-taking. Stop trying to write down what happens. If you don't give in to the spirit of carnival, if you don't let it overwhelm you, you'll never understand what it's like, so how will you be able to explain it to others? If you have the experience, you won't forget a minute of it. Every detail will stay clear in your head forever.'"
--Alma Guillermoprieto, Samba
I had lunch with a friend in the suburb of Duque de Caxias on Tuesday, partisans to the escola of Grande Rio (Greater Rio). Our waiter at the food court (yes, shopping mall food courts have waiters for some reason) was wearing a Grande Rio shirt -- maybe he'll be out performing on the parade grounds tonight -- and every time he came over to our table he beamed a huge smile and announced, "Só alegria! (Only joy!)"