Carnaval!

So today is the first official day of Carnaval, and I’m in Salvador, Bahia. In the States, everyone thinks Rio is the capital of Carnaval, but that’s only because few people know of many other cities in Brazil. Here, everyone knows that Salvador has the best Carnaval, and last night I got my first taste of it.
I’m staying really close to the action… in a small, 1 bathroom, 2 bedroom, 600 sq ft apartment with approximately 15 Brazilians. It’s crazy to say the least. The number is approximate because new people seem to arrive every day, and others seem to disappear for hours/days. It’s a scant existance, sleeping on the floor, everyone using one shower, etc… but no one seems to mind too much, as everyone is focused on the blocos… the main event here, that starts today.
These parties are moving block parties, centered around a huge oversized semi-trailer that has a popular band playing on it. The party moves for about 3 miles, over the course of 4 or 5 hours, and to get in to the roped off area around the trailer, you have to buy an abadá, or special shirt that acts as your ticket. They are extremely expensive, ranging from US$75 to US$500 for each party, which includes entrance and your drinks. They start at around 5pm, and the trail of blocos goes for miles, with the last one ending at around 8am the next morning. Today is Thursday, and the first day of the real craziness that will continue until next Tuesday. I purchased an abadá for today (they get more expensive as you get closer to Tuesday) and will likely buy a Cambarote for Saturday, which is another shirt for the parties along side the street, where you can view all the blocos as they go by.
Last night, I went to a show, which was kind of a preview of the bloco parties starting today… there were 4 bands that played on a trailer that moved around a ground that was packed with people. Everyone is going crazy, drinking, jumping, dancing and trying to kiss each other. It’s truly like nothing I’ve ever seen. I was there for about 6 hours, at which point my feet felt like they were going to come off. I had almost 2 hours of sleep the night before… because with 15 people and everyone arriving, you can’t really sleep until everyone decides it’s time… which is okay with me, since it’s more exciting to stay awake. 🙂 We woke up just after 8am to go to a shopping center where the parking lot had turned into a huge black market for trading abadás. The abadás sell out immediately, almost a year in advance, and then can only be traded for and bought on the black market. In a country where a normal wage is $300-800 Reais per month, it’s crazy to see people spend $600 R for one day. People save all year for this, and today is like the uncorking of all that bottled up excitement…

I have some new photos online…
Engagement party and wedding of Filipe (1 week ago), a friend of Rodrigos:
Part of my trip to Espirito Santos, on the way to Salvador (Evelyn’s camera)

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One Response to Carnaval!

  1. Sara says:

    Adorei seu blog…

    Já vi suas fotos do aniversário de Dani aqui, ficaram ótimas!!!

    p.s.: definitivamente não sou fotogênica!!!

    prazer em te conhecer!!!

    bjo.

    (this time in portuguese)

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