Beer & Buns:
Antarctica is a local beer that we really would not know as well were it not for its role as the beer sponsor for street carnaval. There are hundreds of vendors, perhaps thousands throughout the country, selling the beer in the streets. During carnaval you are never more than 30 feet from the nearest beer vendor – and the beer is always marvelously cold. Note the official credentialed vendor uniform….
Even the local Flamengo rowing club converts its practice pools into beer coolers, all the while advertising the sponsor’s brew.
Not to miss an opportunity to look cool and sport the local brand, my hubby sports his new look, albeit while consuming a different beverage. One needs to take a break periodically to sample the coconuts.
While sharing sights of street carnaval I cannot let that last picture go without a mildly voyeuristic comment. Note the guy behind Richard who is buying a beer from a beach kiosk. This is a man who is proud of his futevolei – a beach sport that is played on a sand volleyball court but with soccer rules – no hands. Gotta love this man’s pride.
In fairness to the other gender, carnaval brings lots of opportunities for bun viewing.
Moral Teaching Moments
Street carnaval draws a lot of people so what better time to take advantage of these moral teaching opportunities. For example, the large balloon recommending use of condoms (this message was everywhere):
Or, stay sober and do not drive drunk. Lei Seca (dry law) is taken very seriously here and it is best to use public transportation after all the revelry. Lest you forget, the floating balloons and hot air balloons are there as reminders.
Also, the futile request to keep the streets clean during Carnaval. The trash really is a mess this time of year but Rio truly has the best street and beach cleaning agency that I have ever seen. Comlurb rules!
And finally the crowd pleaser – do not mark your territory by use trees as your pee (xixi)station!
Over the course of the month or so before the official Carnaval weekend we probably attended a dozen street parties. In many cases we happened upon something that looked like a bloco, and may have been a bloco but we had no idea which bloco they might be. Remember, all these events are scheduled with the city government and schedules are published. Then, of course, there is real life. This is Carnaval after all!
As was the case last year, we had a bloco right outside our building – yeah Spanta Nenem! They are based in the Lagoa area and, I think, may have some connection with the Flamengo soccer and rowing club. I think. Anyway, we were once again treated to the most convenient bloco ever.
Beer vendors set up on our normally tranquil street…..
The front team came to advertise Antarctica, lest all the beer vendors had not made the point sufficiently.
The parade went by (yup, this is it – nothing terribly sophisticated but the party was a good one).
Local residents joined in the fun…
Note the continuing use of merchandising – for a month of each year there is no beer but Antarctica.
The crowds grew….
And then we headed out for our next block party by the beach. Schedules can be hectic and quite full during Carnaval.
Other blocos had more sophisticated “parades” – Banda de Ipanema being the biggest in our part of the city. On the way to their event we met some of the participants and struck up a conversation, remarkably in English, with this lovely Brazilian and her friends. Long story short – she really likes America but agrees that Rio has better landscape.
One of our favorites was Meu Bem Volta Ja at the far end of Copacabana beach. This was something we just wandered into but enjoyed immensely. So just a few more photos to share the fun.
The fans gather….
The sound truck comes
And the parade moves forth with music resonating throughout….
These dancers were great and I particularly liked the informality – note the backpack being carried by one of the dancers, several others had beer cans. Practical and fun – that’s Carnaval!
The classic lady on stilts
And finally the bateria -the drummers - and other band members. Eat your heart out Stanford!
No true carnaval event is complete without the porta-bandeira (the flag bearer). This is usually a very beautiful woman and is a very competitive position. This woman seemed very deserving of the honor and responsibility.
Don’t know what to say about this picture other than it captures a normal Carnaval summer day at the beach. A cruise liner in the back no doubt brought lots of tourists to hit the popular attractions and Carnaval prep while the locals shower on the beach after a day in the surf. These portable showers are set up every day with portable generators and keep the crowd fresh to party and enjoy a bloco after a salty splash in the waves.