On Sunday morning, we woke up in Rio de Janeiro after another short night, the third one in a row. It was starting to rain and selfishly, it comforted me a bit—we wouldn’t miss out too much, it was going to be a wet party day.
Santos Drumont Airport was a short ride from the hotel. It was freezing cold with the air-con and the three of us were cranky. São Paulo, final stop of this trip. Just typing this makes me sad.
Cariocas vs. Paulistas—we weren’t expecting much from São Paulo in terms of Carnival party. Brazil’s megalopolis is more serious, more political, more urban. It’s a concrete jungle with a heavy metal soul, not a beach city that moves to the sound of samba.
We spent the first half of the day walking on Paulista, the city’s main avenue, much like Avenida 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires. In fact, São Paulo reminded me of Argentina. Same companies—Carrefour, FNAC—, same small coffee shops, same European background for most people we passed in the street. There were a few revellers in costume but nothing compared to the craziness of Rio de Janeiro.
“I can’t do another bloco, anyway,” I sighed. “I’m not going to look for the party.”
Around 5 p.m., the guys went back to the hotel and I kept on exploring the city centre, looking for some food—there wasn’t much on Paulista except for the usual fast food options.
I followed Rua Fernando de Albuquerque and I landed on Rua Augusta … when I bumped into 100,000 people partying there.
The party had found me.
“Holy shit! That’s one hell of a bloco!”
There were people everywhere, spilling onto neighbouring side streets, marching downhill and I just couldn’t see the end of it. I walked up the street, or at least I tried to—I couldn’t get through. I ran back to the hotel and told the guys to come over.
The party was loud, fun and very boozy. The crowd was young, twentysomethings and under, but the bloco didn’t have the college atmosphere I hated in Ipanema. It was more grungy, more irreverent. Don’t have a music truck? Take over a garbage truck!
We left when it started to pour but the party keep on going until late at night and there were other blocos on Paulista as well.
Ah. We can’t escape Carnival!