Sunday, 29 March 2015

Exploring Rio de Jenario during Carnival week

Carnival. I had no idea what it was or that it even existed in Brazil till a friend from Hong Kong “L” told me about it. L was the reason I was in Rio. I was about to skip Brazil entirely, save it and bottle it for a few more years letting it age like good wine so that when I come back to South America one day I could do Brazil entirely. L just wanted to see Rio and Carnival and was flying in all the way from Hong Kong for a week and asked me to join him so we could look out for each other’s back since he thinks that Rio is dangerous.
So the major re-route and detour and after taking the Death-train and a 32 hours bus ride from Corumba I finally reach Rio and was kinda excited for Carnival. I never got to see the ‘Paid’ carnival for it was really expensive but during the Carnival week in Rio, me and L were hunting down all the street parties that they call Bloco. Bloco was on the streets all over Rio where the performers do dry runs and rehearsals and the public party all around them. Some of the Bloco were pure ridicules and some were good but one thing for sure weather good or no good the locals still party like crazy to bad music or even no music at all.
Street Bloco in Rio
It’s all about crowd. If you have enough people gathering regardless of the event a party will eventually break out. The craziness I mention was not about the crazy parties in the streets but the crazy people that would just gather and waiting for something to happen. Wardrobe malfunction seem to be the theme of the Carnival in Rio. Superman, Batman, Cinderella, spandex’s, funny headbands, bowtie of male strippers, and many more weirder stuff I could not describe thronged the streets of Rio. If you dress normal or sexy or handsome …. You will stand out ….
L pretended to be a Japanese photographer tourista and snapped way too many shots of Girls on the streets and I would be yelled at to pay them money for getting a photo taken while he walks away pretending not to understand a word. Just don’t go snapping pictures of guys or girls with bf that will beat us up I told L.   

Sit down Musician Bloco
No two bloco was the same as far as I saw. The first was like a karaoke with just one person with a mike on top a huge big truck and lots of people dressed up in front and behind the truck but no performance. Just singing (all Portuguese so I can’t understand shit) and everyone around either standing and looking or trying to groove a little. The second was better with percussion drums and dancers in formation practicing their routine. Third was a sit down bloco where amazing musician set up a tent and booth and was playing incredible classical Brazilian style music.
Percussion Drums & Dance Bloco
Then there was the numerous bloco that got cancelled or we were late and it was finish and left a crowd waiting and wondering what we were even doing there. Then there is the samba and Froco. I did not manage to catch a samba but a Froco was like traditional music, slow and people danced in pair’s boy and girl grooving with hips attached with the occasional twirl.
I went all around Rio looking for Bloco finding it interesting never knowing what you gonna see. Sightseeing was along the way but always with an eye lookout for a great bloco. The actual Carnival event thou was super-duper expensive going up to nearly few hundred USD dollars and I was not about to spend that much money, Carnival or no Carnival. Bloco thou was free so I keep hunting.
The good part about Carnival was that you could go almost everywhere safely due to the high amount of police deployed to safeguard the humongous volume of tourist that comes just to party. Favela areas (Dangerous Drug Lord Slums) were also opened for Bloco event and mass groups of people flood the are including the police.

For a week it was safe from the normal crazy people but then again drunk crazy people was everywhere. 

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