It’s 2 a.m. and I’m going through today’s pictures sitting half-naked at the tiny desk in a corner of the bedroom—I couldn’t be bothered to put on clothes after the shower and I have yet to sort out the load I picked up from the lavanderia this morning.
I left the window open. It’s hot and it’s pouring outside. Yet, I can hear the unmistakable background noise of a bloco in the distance—where, how, why? Seriously, guys, under the storm? After bloco-ing all day and before another day of bloco tomorrow?
Carnival ain’t over in Rio. There are plenty of blocos this weekend.
“Funny,” Feng noted when I arrived two days ago, “we’ve never been to any of famous post-Carnaval megablocos.”
“Huh… yeah, come to think of it, you’re right.”
And then I remembered why.
First, the megablocos—blocos with a planned attendance of hundreds of thousands—are in Centro, which is basically the district tourists are often told to avoid outside business hours. Unless you know where you’re going, it’s not a particularly safe area.
Second, the megablocos start at 7 a.m.
Yes, 7 in the morning.
This means that on a Saturday morning—around 6 a.m. if you want to show up on time—hundreds of thousands of Brazilians get up, have breakfast, then decide to dress as pirates, mermaids or just grab a tutu and borrow a bra from their wife, then go get drunk and party as if they were going to work.
I have a lot of respect for Brazilian culture but I will never get or embrace several aspects of it.
At 7 a.m. today, I was sleeping. At 11 a.m. I was explaining a local repairman in Portuguese why the fancy washing machine didn’t work while reporting the findings to the Airbnb host currently touring the French Loire Valley. At noon, I grabbed my camera and walked through Catete, Gloria and Lapa to join the party in Centro.
Megablocos that start at 7 a.m. are still going strong at noon, and then other blocos start early afternoon anyway. Let’s face it, such large crowds don’t just go home when told the party is over. The party is never over.
In fact, at noon, early risers were getting the munchies. Lunch was probably the right move considering the amount of booze consumed since early morning. I wandered around Centro with my camera, something I’d never normally do, but there were enough people and police around to make it feel saf—… I mean, less dodgy.
I ended up exactly where you’re not supposed to hang out—at the Arcos da Lapa, the aqueduct between Lapa and Centro. This was a rare and precious opportunity to relax and enjoy this bairro. Wouldn’t have stuck around without the massive crowd…
And then came Bloco Quizomba featuring Singer Roberta Sá, followed by late risers like me who still had the energy to party. Perfect timing.
Later in the day, I took the subway all the way to Copacabana for another bloco in Leme, “Mulheres de Chico. ” I’ve rarely had the chance to party on the beach in Brazil, so it was relaxing, but it felt more like a concert than a party—there was a stage and everything.
Off to sleep.
More blocos tomorrow, if the rain stops (well, the rain won’t stop the blocos, but it may stop me…)