Surviving Carnival in Brazil
It’s a miracle that I survived the last 7 days
It’s unrelenting. Everywhere you turn, Rio is crazy with people, music and general mayhem during Carnival. There were street parties that mingled with overspill from every club, bar and restaurant. The beaches were littered with people, stalls and stands selling everything you couldn’t possibly need at 4 am (along with some stuff you did need at 4 am such as some of the strongest and cheapest drinks I think I’ve ever tasted, and assorted “food” stuffs that tasted incredibly good at that time of night) – along with pumping music which varied in style as you progressed along the beaches.
The samba clubs, most of which could hold around 50 patrons, spilled out and echoed around the streets all night till past sun up. These were a real treat as the music was incredible – I just wish I could Samba… On the last night of Carnival, a few of us from the hostel managed to skip about a kilometre of queueing to get into a club where the winning Samba school from the Carnival Parade were playing. There was a 50 piece (approx.) band playing on stage, and it was amazing how much energy there was in the air. I, not so luckily, had to exit prematurely and find a cab back to the hostel early (around 4.30 am) to shower, change and get on a plane to Salvador at 7.00 am, which, in more ways than one, was a hard thing to do.
Somehow I avoided getting overly sick from the street food consumed, perhaps it was neutralised by all the strong alcoholic drinks. I later heard the delicious hot dog thingies that were covered in everything you could possibly think of, were appropriately named ‘Garbage’ by some of the locals… Gawd damn, at 4 am, they tasted good 😉
I also sampled a number of traditional Brazilian meals in restaurants (mostly not too sure what I was eating, but I think at least half of the dishes involved hoofs & snouts etc.. Interesting to try once or twice (or three times) I guess.
In between all the partying, I still managed to do a number of touristy things and take lots of photos. Some of the highlights were Sugarloaf Mountain, The Statue of the Christ, seeing a football match at the famous Maraçana Stadium and a beautiful hang glide over Rio.
What an amazing city Rio is. Such a beautiful place, yet so dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily I managed to stay out of trouble, even met a local who claimed he killed some people. Really nice guy apart from that, and strangely we got on really well and hung out at one of the beach parties for a number of hours.
So I’m now in a little beach town in Salvador recovering from the whole experience of Carnival in Rio. Feels like I could sleep for a month or two.
I’m planing a few bus trips over the next couple of days to find some nice beach spots up the coast, and then my next major adventure will be in Peru for the Inca Trail on the 20th of March.