Trip Start Feb 07, 2004
Trip End Dec 15, 2005

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Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Well this is what I've been waiting for! The Party of All Parties - CARNAVAL!

I've been promising Brad for 5 years now that I'd come to Carnaval, finally here I am!

Quite a diversity in the living standards of people in Salvador, the primary passtime being collecting cans which earns A$1 for about every 75 they collect. I think this is one of the reasons our house is so popular and I am certain that amongst the 5 Aussies staying there, the 3 next door, plus the numerous transients passing thru, we have certainly fed more than a few families with our empty beer cans (anything to help the local economy!).

Many thanks to Brad - guy with bad teeth - for sorting the accommodation and numerous other assistances, including translator to many Gatchinas (cute girls).

Our house was the meeting point each night before carnaval, mainly due to the immensely good looking tennants, and perhaps the full beer chest, my BBQ skills, beer garden (rare in Salvador) and the fact that everyone passed by there on the way to carnaval, but it meant there was often 20 or more of us heading down together to join in the street dancing/drinking/pick-pocketing/fighting/Gurana seeds/other debaucheries. With the exception of 1 mugging, a few bucks to the pick-pocketers, 3 stitches in Brad´s chin, and Damien eating raw cat meat skewers (fur no extra charge), everyone managed to make it home at various times the following morning for a few hours sleep in prepartaion to do it all again the following night.

For those who don´t know, my take on Carnaval (Salvador) is a hundred thousand people dancing in the street around semi-trailors trio életrico´s belting out top quality sound at an immense volume along a few set streets totalling about 6k´s at about 5 kmh - so it takes them about 3 hours to do the trip.

There might be 8 or more of these trio's following each other just out of volume of the next, and you simply dance by the one with the type of music you like, or the one with the prettiest girls. Everyone is trying to sell you beer, water etc in the street, but you have to make your way to the footpaths for food and mixed drinks. There are police at set areas, as well as patrolling in groups of 6 through the crowds, they are the only ones not dancing or smiling, but they did a fantastic job.

For those that know/remember, my Sugar-Shack days came in handy as I and another Aussie (Ruari) slam-danced for 3 hours behind the "heavy rock" trio. He said I was the only one to have ever made it to the end with him, thank you Screwdriver!...I had a few mystery bruises the next day and had to take Voltarin, but was there again the next night.

So, if you like hot sweaty loud crowds, the smell of piss, and coming home at sunrise, you´ll love Carnaval. The papers said that 2 million people attended the 3 Carnavals held in Salvador over the 6 nights that they were on (and only 1600 arrests).

I have just come back from an Island 2.5 hrs by boat from Salvador (Morres de Sao paolo) no cars, just beach, beer & bikinis.... very hard to leave! I needed a change from spending the days on the beach and the nights at various resteraunts or parties (called ´hangover parties´), but i will soon throw the pack on to wander the beaches further north and then into the Amazon.
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