Rio De Janeiro’s world famous Carnaval has just ended. It ran from February 17-22 and was, as everyone expected, the biggest party in the world. Not many people outside of Brazil know it, but the famous Sambadrome parades are really not the best party. While well-choreographed, half-naked, feather-tailed ladies stroll down the parade amidst sequins and confetti, the real party is the blocos. The blocos are the street parties that happen all over Rio, and across Brazil. This is where most Rio residents get their share of the carnivalesque.
While you might think that with masses of people flocking the streets, Brazilian authorities would fear mass riots, terrorist threats, etc. It seems these threats are secondary to the carnival’s biggest problem: public urination
Experience from previous Carnavales shows that, with over 150 blocos in the weeks leading to the great parade, and with alcohol flowing everywhere – the smell of urine is often unavoidable.
The problem of public urination in the carnival has plagued the celebration for years. So this year, beside some 8,000 chemical toilets spread around the city, authorities took another step. Throughout the festivities, a miniature blimp fitted with a high resolution camera has been hovering several feet above the reveller’s heads, keeping an eye out for outlaws answering nature’s call. The use of camera-fitted remote-controlled blimps was the authorities’ desperate attempt to diminish public peeing. An impressive high-tech command center was set up, where monitors followed all footage and dispatched police officers at any sign of trouble. Was it successful? Carnaval just ended. Visit Rio and take a whiff.