Sunday, February 14, 2010

Carnaval 2010

The biggest street party is in full swing and I just got finished preparing my BattleShorts™ for another assault on the crowds. Actually, preparing the BattleShorts™ is a purely defensive maneuver- it means I sewed the pockets shut with big Frankenstein stitches so nobody can put their hands in there. When we went out last night, I was almost immediately set upon by a couple of would-be pickpockets but I'm pretty used to it at this point, so nothing was lost. However, I can't stand having someone put their hands in my pockets even if they won't come away with anything, so I sew up the pockets and I don't have to worry about it.

I see my fellow english language bloggers here in Salvador have written some excellent posts on the topic- Akutyger wrote a great post about Abadas, and the ones in her photos are some of the most sought after items available in the huge multi-million dollar production that is Carnaval.

Aside from what I wrote in the first paragraph, I'm not going to say anything else about the down side of Carnaval- it's been written about far too much and ignores the reality that millions of people have an absolutely fantastic time and nothing bad happens to them.

But I'll tell you what I like about Carnaval- I like that we get a bunch of international visitors who I can converse with in my native tongue. I like that our local friends and Evani's family come to stay with us for parts or all of the week. I like being able to walk the short distance to watch as much of Carnaval as I want, and I like that I can walk back to the house and relax whenever I want. I think our guests enjoy this as well. Far from not sleeping for a whole week, I think the people who stay with us get as much sleep as they want.

I also like taking Lucas out with me on the first days of Carnaval, or early in the day, when tons of parents go out with their kids to Pelourinho, painting faces and buying flashing toys and popcorn and soda. Lucas and his little cousin got some flashing fuzzy bunny ears the night before last. Now the two of them are off at her mother's house, giving us a little break and a chance to enjoy ourselves without worrying about him.

Another thing I really like about Carnaval is that it is entirely democratic. Yes, it can be insanely expensive if you have the money to spend, but it also can be enjoyed for next to nothing, as long as you have a place to sleep. For a lot of Brazilians that place is a sidewalk for a few hours at a stretch; not for me, but I'm spoiled rotten. And everyone has a chance to make some money if they are willing to work for it.

And hats off to the performers- I will never cease to be amazed at their stamina, putting on four to six hour non-stop concerts often in the heat of the day.

My wife is being a real trooper with her foot, trying hard not to overdo it, but also getting out there for a while every day to enjoy herself. She's getting ready to go out shortly, and I'll be going with her: her all prettied up and looking good, me in my nasty old Frankenstein BattleShorts™ and a soon-to-be sweaty t-shirt... sigh.

Time to suit up!


Pedra said...

Maybe next year you should make some more battleshorts and sell them at the airport to the tourists when they get off the planes. You could make some serious cash! ;)

I have to say that I'm not missing Carnaval. Especially Quarta-feira das cinzas when everyone looks like they've been run over by a tank and the smell in Barra is beyond description. And not in a good way. I made the mistake of riding the bus through there last year on the first day the bus route was back up and that was a mistake I will never repeat.


markuza said...

Yeah you might be right, the world might be ready for the BattleShorts™. But seriously, I encourage any Carnaval participant to take needle and thread to shorts- it makes me so much more relaxed when I do so.

On the last night of Carnaval I had to go back to the house early- not because of the craziness, not because of the conspicuous lack of Skol bem gelada, but because I couldn't take the ammonia reek of stale urine - it's been sooo hot and it's hardly rained at all- argh!