Things I haven’t seen lately:
- Suits, dress shirts and ties
- Mormon missionaries
- Men wearing pants instead of swimsuits or tutus
- A street without a massive crowd
- An empty stretch of beach
I mean, you do get used to Carnaval craziness. I doubt there’s anyone sober in the city by now, except maybe us (Feng had a couple of beers in Salvador, but that was it). Sometimes, I can’t even tell legit police officers from Cariocas with a handcuff fetish—they are both young, they both usually have tattoos and I can’t really ask if the gun is loaded or not.
It’s like I’m tripping on LSD. Snow White is having the very Brazilian rice and beans lunch in a restaurant, Harry Potter is buying water, a butterfly is jumping in a taxi, three unicorns are riding the subway and a guy is taking off his blond wig and his bra before going for a swim.
E Carnaval, ta.
Day four of official Carnival madness in Rio. We switched hotel for the third time, moving down the street but going upscale after the jail hotel. We’re still paying Carnival prices but Feng had booked this place a while ago on Expedia and it feels comfortable and cleaner.
We left the backpacks at the reception desk—the room wasn’t ready yet—and walked to the Parque do Flamengo for the first bloco of the day, Bloco Sargento Pimenta, with a Beatles-theme party. The park is huge, it goes from Centro to Botafogo, but the bloco and the 180,000 people attending were loud enough for us to walk in the right direction. There are so many blocos every day that you can’t just follow people wearing costumes anymore.
The atmosphere was very peace and love and Mark was quite popular—people, admittedly drunk, were probably assuming he was somehow related to John and Yoko and insisted to have pictures taken with him.
That said, Mark wasn’t as happy as he looks. It was brutally hot under the midday sun and he wanted to go to the beach.
So we went to Copacabana, where it was even hotter on the sand. I know, I’m sure you can’t sympathize if you’re in the Northern hemisphere. The heat doesn’t bother me much—I’m living in shorts and tiny tops I handwash under the shower and I walk around in my swimsuit in Copa and Ipa—but the beach is getting dirtier every day with Carnival.
When we came back to Catete at night, the bloco Balança Meu Catete was in full swing, as well as many other smaller blocos around that were merging into a giant rowdy crowd. We took the subway to Copacabana, where no much was happening but the late-night Copa craziness, then we had an interesting ride back with passengers doing what I called the “bloco do metrô,” i.e. drumming and dancing.
The massive bloco in Catete is still going on and the streets are a complete mess.
They won’t sleep, apparently, but I will.