I woke up with a headache, which I found unfair because I’m possibly the only one in São Paulo who doesn’t drink at all during Carnival. No Skol, no Skol Beats, no chope, no caipirinha, no catuçaí, no sip from a random bottle passed around, no sacolé and geladinhos (boozy popsicles), no melzinho tubes spiked with cachaça, nothing but coffee and Coke Zero.
Is hangover by proxy a thing?
I took a look outside—ah, found a possible headache trigger. The sky was grey, almost purple. It was going to storm at one point or another.
Instead of starting my Carnival circuit in Centro, I headed to Rua Augusta for the bloco Sai, Hétero! Like most blocos on Rua Augusta and around, it was crowded, rowdy, boozy, political and featuring the LGBT scene. It was fun but a bit too much first thing in the mor—… ahem, the day.
I literally went with the flow and followed the crowd down the street towards Centro for more blocos.
At the end of Consolação I found myself at a crossroad. Two possible avenues, two blocos—I could see the yellow beer vendors umbrellas in the distance. I picked Praça da República and found the megabloco Lua Vai featuring Brazilian music from the 1990s. I’m still not that familiar with today’s Brazilian music, let alone 1990s hits, but hey, Paulistas seemed to know them very well.
I hung out for a while in Centro between blocos and bloquinhos, including the jazzy bloco Unidos do Swing. It’s funny how São Paulo, despite its size and grittiness, doesn’t feel dangerous. I probably wouldn’t wander around Centro in Rio—some streets are okay, plenty aren’t and you have to pay attention where you’re going. I don’t have this feeling in São Paulo. I’m sure there are tons of places where I shouldn’t go, especially alone, but dodgy areas are easier to spot.
The atmosphere was electric and the sky was getting darker and darker.
I decided to head back before the storm and took the long way, though Libertade. Japan Town wasn’t bloco-ing, just feeding people with yakizoba (stir-fried noodles) and pastels (fried pockets of dough with a filling).
The storm broke out around 5:30 p.m. when I was just a block from the Airbnb. Five minutes later, water was gushing down the street—yeah, I’ll wait a bit to go out again…
Surprisingly, streets weren’t too flooded a couple of hours later and the party was still on around Augusta. Nothing can stop Carnival, not even a torrential downpour!