Monday, February 23, 2009

Carnaval 2009

It's a cloudy, muggy Monday morning, smack in the middle of Carnaval 2009 in the city that boasts the largest street party in the world every year.

So far, so good. This Carnaval has been worlds better than the last one, but then again odds were that it would be. We are putting up eight people this year- a group of six Israeli women and a couple from England. The atmosphere in the house has been somewhat different, as in the past all our guests have mingled and gotten along famously but the group of women has proven to be considerably more insular- they are all very pleasant, but they are keeping to themselves.

For the first year I have followed through on my promise to give all the proceeds for our renting out of rooms to Evani, instead of using it to pay bills and such. She does all the work (except for actually getting the people, and translating for them, and allaying their fears about the vicious thieving monster that is Carnaval Salvador) so she deserves it. She keeps the house spotless and generally keeps the wheels greased in the temporary hostel machine that we run once a year. She is also treating herself to the kind of Carnaval she has always wanted- lots of blocos, lots of friends, lots of fun. She's bought an abada for several days during the Carnaval, and even bought one for me so we could enjoy a bloco together (I'm not going to explain all this stuff here, if you want to learn more about how Carnaval works, read this).

One day in a bloco, per Carnaval, is really enough for me. That, and a couple hours on each of the other days watching the craziness in front of the house, and one day I like to take Lucas to Pelourinho. That day will be today, if he'll let me. Pelourinho is much more low-key than the rest of Carnaval and they apparently have a stage set up with events for kids. Yesterday he flatly refused to go, not wanting to go anywhere his big brother wasn't headed. Today Evani is trying to take Ruan and his cousin Gel out in one of the more popular pagode blocos (music I can't stand, neither can she for that matter) so I might have better luck getting Lucas out of the house with me. Then I'm done. I'm really ready for it to be over already, I guess like Lucas I'm suffering from the breakdown of my normal daily routine, just that I don't have screaming fits as a result. At least not yet.

But as I said, so far so good. Bizarrely, I haven't seen a single fight out in the street, and only once did someone try to pick my pocket. I prepared my BattleShorts™ again this year, a special pair with the pockets all sewn shut. Makes for a much more relaxed Carnaval experience, especially if your skin tone cries GRINGO to all the passing scoundrels. One really cool thing that happened was during our bloco, when I managed to get permission to go up on top of the support truck. The big blocos have one truck, with the talent on top and all the speakers, and a second truck with bathrooms and a bar. Assorted people hang out on top of this truck looking alternately ecstatic and glazed. When I went up, I was surprised at just how few people there were up there. It was really cool- a view out over the ocean, you could see people swimming, and lots of people trying to catch the 'brindes' being tossed off our truck. In this case, it was bandana-sized cloths with the logo for a popular beer on them.

In other news, I went out and painted some graffiti on the plywood that covers anything breakable along the parade route. They were basically just sketches in spray paint of people and creatures having a good time. Unfortunately, much of this artistry got covered up by the ubiquitous Schincariol advertisements (another beer) that now cover almost everything.

Evani and friends ready to enjoy Bloco Bancoma

Evani, Spiderman, and friends ready for Bloco Q Delicia

Me, Evani, and friends about to go out for Tatau's Bloco

This is how most of my wall doodles ended up

Two wall dogs, still mostly visible


michelle said...

I think the wall dogs juxtaposed with the beer ads actually make for an interesting composition;).

markuza said...

hmm interesting- I guess I've had to look at that particular ad too much to be able to stand it anymore

Pedra said...

You look really tan in that picture of you getting ready to go out to the bloco. Have you been in the sun a bunch?!

markuza said...

I have! Or actually- I got a couple sunburns so that made me tan :)