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Across the Equator

South American Adventures

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Rio Street Carnaval
losmorris
Nothing says Rio like Carnaval. As this is our 2nd year in Rio we at least had some idea what to expect but that did not take away any of the enjoyment or amazement at the whole Carnaval season. While the outside world hears mostly about the parade at the Sambodromo, Carnaval is truly a season. The street events (Carnaval na Rua) go on for about 5 weeks and are open to participation by anyone. Streets are closed; parades fill the streets and thousands of people party in the street enjoying the sun, the music, the spirit and the beer. So, as I did last year, I will share a bit of each major aspect of Carnaval. But truly – this should be on everyone’s “bucket list”. Visit Rio for the week before the Carnaval parade to enjoy the community spirit and stay for the Sambodromo parade. None of this comes cheap but you will not regret it.

In an attempt to maintain order during a chaotic time, the city requires that the blocos register their street events. Streets are closed accordingly and a schedule is published for party goers to plan their time. Some of the younger, more energetic cariocas will attempt to get to 4 or 5 events a day. Our top is probably 2 or 3. A “bloco” is generally a community based group that does some amount of preparation for each year’s carnaval – a theme, a song, etc. In some cases they parade and streets will be closed for several hours while the participants move slowly through the city. Parades start and stop and may take hours to go just a few blocks. This is all about audience participation and a party atmosphere so the parade is really just a moving party. In other cases, the bloco is stationary and represents a street party with a theme. In all cases the beer and beverage vendors are present and music fills the air.

Our favorite blocos this year had a variety of themes.

The Bloco dos Bichos is an event for the family pet that loves to go out in costume, sometimes in drag.....

It appears that the bloco has sponsors - which is good – maybe that means the pups get snacks while being humiliated in their costumes.



Eukanuba clearly put in some money as the sponsor of the sound truck. Most of these blocos have these enormous sound trucks that put out rather loud music and keep the party spirit going.



Fortunately medical care was on site....



Navy guys are always coming ashore for a good party....


And one of my personal favorite, the matching mommy and pup jungle outfits.




The Bloco Infantil is a street party for the young and the young at heart. It too includes a huge sound truck but here the average participant was under 8 years of age.

While the event was really cute, the sponsorship was a little odd. One of the “adult” blocos is the Que Merda é Essa? (or What is this shit?) bloco that apparently began years ago when a bunch of folk showed up for a block party and couldn’t find it. Who knows why but beer consumption might have been involved. In any case,the gathering of party goers decided to start their own bloco using the phrase that they were all saying while trying to figure out how they could have missed the big party. Anyway, Que Merda é Essa? continues to this day and they are now sponsoring a children’s event with the same name, though the poop reference is now in the diminutive (caquinha), or so says the elegant signage at the event.



So on to the cute stuff…..

Some participants need maternal advice to ensure they have the party rules down.


While others are all attitude – something Brazilian women learn at an early age!


As at all parties the guys admire the well dressed ladies.



The event was light on beer but heavy on confetti and silly string and other gooey messy things.



Parents seemed pretty understanding about the mess, but then they were no doubt the purchasers of all this gooey stuff.



And the crowd was pretty substantial.



No child is too young to participate in carnaval.



And no child too old – it was great!




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