It’s nearly Carnaval and we still don’t have definite plans for the long weekend. Last year we went to Cabo Frio for a fun, if loud, time. Luiz and I also enjoyed an unexpected friendship on the beach.
The year before we went to the Sambadromo with our gang of friends for a more traditional Rio Carnaval – cheering on our favorite schools of samba.
Living in and around Rio there are a mix of reactions by residents to the annual blow-out party. Some have had enough over the years and simply want to GET OUT of town and find some peace and quiet. Avoiding the tourist crush and inflated prices is the object. Some go so far as to rent their apartments on a short term basis and make a killing.
Other locals feel the buzz of Carnaval stirring in the soles of their feet months in advance. With every passing week it gets more exciting. They belong to their local samba school, have been paying monthly all year long for their fantasia (Carnaval costume), and attend twice weekly rehearsals to help their school be the champion.
We are among the locals who don’t always parade (although we have on several occasions) but who also feel the buzz. The run up to Carnaval is an increasingly ecstatic time. We go to blocos (organized community street parties), attend samba school rehearsals, listen to the various sambas from each of the schools, and definitely like to be “in the house” when the parades are done.
But if you hesitate you lose. This year all of the tickets for both days of Carnaval were sold out in about 8 minutes. If you don’t have ten of your friends working speed dial on their phones – tough luck.
A few months ago we thought we might go to Boa Esperança, or maybe organize a party and watch the event on a big screen TV. But nothing really came together. Now we are playing it by ear. There is still a chance we will go to the Sambadromo, although it would be in a less-than-optimal location. Other options are fermenting.
I’ll keep you posted.