Monday, February 16, 2009

Carnaval in Rio: Blocos

Unbeknownst to too many visitors to Rio during Carnaval is that the local backbone of this party season is the neighborhood bloco. Blocos are essentially block parties. Neighborhoods explode in celebration during Carnaval because the big event at the Sambadromo just simply can’t hold and give voice to all the revelry people bring to the season.

Many, many neighborhoods throughout Rio and surrounding suburbs and cities host a prideful bloco in the run-up to Carnaval. This past weekend we went to one of them in Niterói: Banda de Ingá. Ingá is a neighborhood very near our own. We went with our friends Marco Aurellio, Lilia and their daughter Bianca and Victor, Zanza and their daughter Anna Clara.

Perfect weather, great crowd and terrific music. The neighborhood gathered (for 4 or 5 hours) in a one block area, then following the astoundingly loud band/musicians/trio electrico the crowd proceeded to parade through the neighborhood for a few more hours.

No rules. No hurry. Just fun, frolic and dance. And a few beers.

Check it out.

The music truck.

Folks on the #32 bus wern't going anywhere until several thousand revelers had their way with the thoroughfare.

Even with thousands of people in the parade and hundreds of people walking the beach to avoid the crush on the street – there was an otherwise independently placed Candomblé offering on the beach that was delicately assembled and completely untouched by everyone walking on the sand.

Best advice for tourists: don't forget your sun screen!

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