Sunday, March 1, 2009

Carnaval in Cabo Frio

For a change we left Rio and celebrated Carnaval in Cabo Frio. This popular beach resort town frequented by Brazilian tourists, young people mostly, is located about 2.5 hours north of Rio.

Our friend Ricardo, who recently moved back to Brazil after 15 years in Pheonix, AZ, just opened a small restaurant in Cabo Frio. We thought we could give him a hand over this busiest of long weekends. That was a good instinct on our part – his single employee waiting tables disappeared prior to Carnaval (and will likely come back afterward looking for his job back.) So we were definitely needed.

Cabo Frio is famous for its pristine beach with sugary white sand and crystal clear water. Perfect for a crowded beach, the water deepens slowly as you walk out from shore. You can wade out a good 75 yards and still find the water only at shoulder depth. Even more – you can then look down and check your pedicure, the water is that clear.

Luiz and I would get up in the morning and visit the beach for an invigorating dip. Even at 9:00 a.m. the beach would already be swarming with people – with no easy place to plant your shade umbrella or spread out your conga.

Then we would help Ricardo through the lunch rush.

At 5:00 p.m. we would be back at the beach.

Carnaval in Cabo Frio takes the form of loud, crowded and nearly endless street parties. For my taste it was all a bit too much. Too many people. Too noisy. And it went on for too long. We would return to Ricardo’s apartment well into the early morning hours – but the parties would boom outside our window for hours. It can be a challenge to sleep with two competing street parties blaring competing music.

But then, the Carnaval atmosphere brings out the cutest costumes: like this band of alley cats looking for trouble!

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