Samba nights and Sleepy Days. Part Dos

Trip Start Dec 29, 2009
Trip End Dec 24, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Righteooo party people!

Strap yourself in as todays blog is going to tell you all about... Carnavale!!!!!!!!

We left you with tales of the boat party... needless to say we were not
feeling all that great the next day. Unfortunately it was the first day
of Carnavale so sleeping in and missing out on the festivities was not
really an option.Plus,our room had a 3 inch gap in the wall which meant
we could here every single word the group of 9 19 year old pommie boys
were saying. Does not entice you to stay in lala land when i was woken
up by the sounds of a strong piercing Northern england accent, breaking
through the blissful silence with: ¨Man, there is so much (insert dirty
word for female genitalia) in Rio¨

Hmm excellent. am very happy for you boys. We actually ended up being quite good friends with them as apart from their wicked if not extremely immature sense of humour they were fun to party with and as we could hear EVERYTHING they said and vice versa numerous hilarious conversations ensued. plus lots of chicken noises and monkey sounds and other ludicrous animal noises they found hysterical (men.)

Friday was the first night of carnavale. We cooled off from the heat and hangovers at ipanema and then headed back after sufficient drinks on the beach to get ready for the opening night street party. The thing with carnavale is that it is 5 days of day and night street parties, All day at the main beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana, you can hear the sounds of drums and everyone is in costumes or wearing masks or some kind of sparkly glittery get up (including men, actually mostly men, i swear Carnavale has more gays than the mardi gras at home, actually... definately). We got dressed into our ´fancy clothes´(ie the only dressy dresses we have) and excitedly bounded up to the bar for pre drinks. The boys at the bar took one look at us and said no. no no no nope nope nope nadda nadda nadda you cannot wear/look like that. you would think from this conversation i was standing there in a thong and nipple tassles about to walk down the street in abu dhabi or something but our dresses, although yes not long mu mus, were not that bad. For a street party, apparently so. Hence we were given the rules to surviving a brazillian carnavale bloco:
1. No dresses or skirts. Shorts and pants only (they sighed and almost gave up when they saw our shorts. what were they expecting really, a nun outfit!)
2. No wallets, cameras, anything valuable... cashola in the shorts and thats it (and not that much)
3. If you can, wear a cheapo ring and claim you have been married all your life or are gay. problem with the gay thing is they then ask you to prove it. Enter stage left emily, my new lesbian lover. we ran away.
4. find tall big boys or rent from hostel (they will do anything for free beer) for protection ala shaquille o'neal 

We got to the street party and were met with the sight of 20,000 people partying and singing along the streets to samba drums, street stalls on every spare bit of concrete selling everything from corn on the cob to the dirties looking hot dogs i have ever seen, to of course beer and smirnoffs in cans, to trinkets and rings (handy for faking marriage).. the list goes on. we started off with 90 people from the hostel and ended up with about 6 of us hanging on to each other as we wound our way through the masses of swinging dancing bodies all mushed together to find fun places to dance like lunatics on the street. the party went from street to street and into clubs and pubs and to stalls and then around another corner would be another 5000 people dancing to drums... insane! due to rule 2 we have zero photos so hopefully i can describe this well enough for you to imagine the sight. Naturally we stumbled in at some ungodly hour to commence day 2...

Saturday was actioned packed CRAZYNESS. We recovered from street party 1/104 at ipanema again and then rushed back to the hostel at 4pm (yes rushed, arising at 3pm gives one hour for swim swims!) for our samba lesson as we were due to parade that night! After a 30 second ´this is how you shake your booty´ (pffft as if we need that lesson) we got changed and went to the football to see the semi final of the season at macarena stadium! The atmosphere was absolutely electric. We decided not to go with the hostel as they sit you right up the back away from everything and you dont get to experience any of the atmosphere, which is the whole reason for going. So a bunch of us went hans solo and went and plonked ourselves right in the middle of the homeside between the people with bongo drums and fire crackers. it was brilliant as we got right into all the cheers and by the end of it we were screaming and yelling for the homeside to win (part enjoyment part petrified at what would happen if they lost, they were getting quite fiesty with the fire crackers!). The game tied 0-0 but being a semi final they went to penalty shoot out which was brilliant as it stepped the crowd anticipation up to a whole new level. They went 1 for 1 for ageees until finally...  GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL and our homeside won, and the locals went absolutely nuts. this big bikie brazillian dude, who was bald and sweaty and in a sleevless singlet, grabbed my head and mushed it into his armpit as he jumped up and down up and down going I LOVE VASCO (the team name) over and over. after 10 seconds of me wrestling to reclaim my face he grabbed Em and did the same thing so we both just ended up looking each other in excitement and in pure horror that we were covered in bikie sweat. gross. After the cheering died down to below sound barrier we danced and cheered with the locals all the way to the metro.. a very satisfying sporting experience for the two most un sporty chikas in the whole stadium. you would have thought we knew what this game with the ball was, amazing!

From the stadium we rushed back as we had to have dinner and get ready to samba at the Sambadrome! We had to start getting dressed at midnight and we were parading at 3.30am so it was a long night ahead. Naturally a few caprinhas kicked up the mood and soon the whole hostel was getting into our gladiator costumes in the lobby. it was so funny watching all the boys squeeze into these teeny tiny speedos and crop tops and putting on skirts.. brilliant. can only imagine the rath of their friends back home as we post the photos! Boys and girls wore the same costume and soon we had an army of marching gladiators heading to the metro. thats right the metro. as in they made us get the train to the sambadrome in full gladiator costume carrying the biggest heaviest head piece in the world! it was pretty amusing as i got into an array of colourful conversations regarding why exactly i was carrying a bow and arrow, wearing a skirt with green bikini bottoms and a hat full of feathers. 
Local: Wow, something something spanish
me: Australia!
local: err..something something spanish carnavale?
me: Gladiator!
confused look on local
me: Xena?
more confused local
me: Viva brazil!
local: cheers excitedly and gives me a hug

Hmm. Noted, to make friends just jump up and down in feathers and they love you

Anywhoo we got to the parade backstage (this backstage is a whole street about 2kms long covered in floats and people in thongs (not footwear) and various feathers and glitter and platform heels. We were like the lost tribe of brazil, we had NO idea what was happening so we just took in the sights and sounds and wandered aimlessly through the bananas and tribal people and skulls and birds taking photos and talking with the locals. they were very excited to have us parade in with their school and i put my expert spanish (HA) to the the test with a few awkward conversations

To fll you in each samba school in Rio puts on a show in the form of these parades which go over the 5 nights. Each school has 90 minutes to get from one end of the Sambadrome (like a stadium seating on either side of a street about 1km long) and have 100s of people participating and the best schools go into a final which is a massive event and a big honour. So they get very nervous before going on as obviously you have to put on the best samba you can to try and win. Could not figure out why this school, if they wanted to win, let a bunch of drunken gringos who have never samba´d before dance with them! We were sure glad they did though as once we finally got into the beginning of the sambadrome it was awesome! the crowd was going crazy and the music was so loud, but it was hilariously funny watching all of the backpackers try and samba with these huge head pieces on their heads. Absolutely retarded. At one point i looked up and the locals were half laughing half shaking their heads going, these people cannot samba for sh%t! 

We sambad and we sambad and we got home from the parade at 7am, very tired weary gladiators. Luckily the hostel does breakfast until 1pm as i think the entire hostel arose at 12.59 just in time to grab coffee (nothing comes between backpackers and free food). 

The next few days were filled with street parties on Ipanema, sleeping and enjoying the fesitvities of carnavale. There was a particularly amazing sunset day on ipanema (of which the photos here are from) where a huge bus filled with speakers and drums parked outside Posto 9 on the beach (the safe section for young people and foreigners... posto 8 is the gay section and posto 11 the family section etc,, dont go into the wrong section whatever you do!) and we just partied until the sun went down

We had our last night on the Tuesday and Jacquie kindly shouted us (to our eternal greatfulness and debt, we almost cried with happiness!) dinner at an awesome sushi restaurant called ´Niks´(appropriate). We fell asleep tired and happy, sushi and champagned filled campers. 

And that, my friends, is the end of our time in Brazil! Goodbye sunshine...
heelllloooooooo bolivia! 

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