As our Uber weaved its way through the busy streets of Rio de Janeiro, the signs of the recent Olympic Games were littered everywhere. Although the banners had been taken down a month prior, logos announcing “Rio 2016” were still stamped across roads; huge signs strung across souvenir shops boasted their Games-themed merchandise; freshly-painted murals covered building walls. Along one line of storefronts, a series of circus-style paintings illustrated the Games—Athens, Beijing, London, Rio and, finally, Tokyo.
After five years of preparation and over 500,000 visitors, you’d think the city would be ready for a break. But the citizens of Rio are used to the spotlight, and it seems like they barely have time to take a breath before plunging into their next world spectacle: the annual Carnival.