Thousands danced to a samba beat on the cobbled streets of the bohemian Santa Teresa neighborhood, donning skimpy costumes bordering on blasphemous.
At the "Carmelitas" party — named after a nearby convent — groups of young women dressed as sexy police in cutoffs and tank tops, while grown men donned baby outfits, sucked on pacifiers and showered themselves with talcum powder.
A drum line that kept the crowd dancing in the sweltering heat was made up of young men dressed as nuns, as were many in the crowd.
Friday marked the start of dozens of the eccentric, pulsating street parties that are the heart and soul of Rio's pre-Lent festival.
The seaside city is opening its arms to more than 700,000 visitors this year, according to tourism officials, and the hottest weather in five decades has done nothing to slow down the madness.
(...) Samba dancers were rehearsing for the start of the premier competition in dazzling parades of scantily clad revelers and towering floats.
This year, a spunky 7-year-old girl has been promoted to the coveted role of Carnival drum corps queen — something normally reserved for sultry models.
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