I found out why businesses close so early in Florianópolis—it’s because there is life after work. It takes time to put on these extravagant Carnival costumes and grab your drum set, you know.
After four days on the quieter, residential side of Florianópolis, we moved to another hotel, right in the city centre. Around 10 p.m., we heard the sound of firecrackers. We went out and heard the drums, caught a glimpse of a colourful costumes, saw a large crowd gathering on the steps of the Catedral metropolitana and on Praça XV de Novembro. The parade was just starting.
It’s not Carnival yet, not even close. This year, it’s from February 24 to 28. What was it, then? Practice, rehearsal?
I didn’t have the time to think about it, we found ourselves right behind the rope.
Meanwhile, Mark was looking up, hoping for fireworks.
“It’s CARNIVAL!” I shouted, because we couldn’t hear each other. “PEOPLE DANCING!”
“JUST HOLD MY LEG AND WATCH. I CAN’T EXPLAIN IT TO YOU, YOU PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF IT.”
My little Canadian-Chinese-French boy was the only kid around who wasn’t super excited because he had no idea what was coming. Meanwhile, a toddler with a fancy costume was dancing better than me, right besides us.
The king and the queen came first, then various schools and groups of dancers, from older ladies to young kids. We saw the Mestre-sala and Porta-Bandeira (Room Master and Flag Carrier), then the bateria (percussion band) and the sound system. Then, everyone followed the parade. Mark was given a flag and we just marched along, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, as if we were doing that every Friday night.
It was loud, colourful and fun.
And Carnival hasn’t even started yet.
The other day, I asked Mark to name three animals. He was confused, and I quickly realized that he wasn’t sure exactly how to define an animal. So we worked on defining “animals,” “objects,” “natural environment” and “humans.”
It’s not as easy as it seems.
“ … well, the shell itself it probably ‘nature.’ But inside, there is an animal. How about this guy?”
“That’s right! And daddy?”
“Yes. Well, most of the time…”
“Just kidding, just kidding! Human. Me?”
“But … but daddy is big, and I’m small! And this guy is big. That one is tall. Are we all humans?”
“Ah, babe, that’s why the world is awesome. We are all different, but yes, we, the people, are all human.”
A few hours later, at the parade, I watched amazing people performing, partying, enjoying life. Yes, humans can be pretty cool.