carnival in Rio

The Zika Carnival

Zika Virus, how are we dealing with it?

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Poster warning about Mosquito Aedes aegypt in São Paulo

 

It is already Carnival in Brazil, and in Rio.The city is already crowded with tourists but I keep wondering how many people gave up the idea of coming to Rio after WHO (World Health Organization)  had declared Zika a global health emergency. Continue reading

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Asking for an expert about Rio Street Carnival

As I told you before, when talking about Carnival, Rio street carnival is really not my field! So I invited my dear friend Tatá Troiano, an event promoter for Pimentaz Produções, and a carnival expert : ) to share with us some smart tips of how enjoying the most of Rio Street Carnival, the “blocos de carnaval”!

She gently answered my questions based in her personal experience of jumping in Rio Blocos that I share with you bellow.

Tatá , my friend and her boyfriend, enjoying Rio street Carnival in 2014
Tatá , my friend, and her boyfriend wearing their carnival costumes inspired in the movie “Cast Away”, in Carnival 2014

1-How long have you been spending Carnival in Rio’s “blocos de carnaval” ? For the last 5 years.

2-Do you ever wear carnival costumes to go to the “blocos”? How do you usually dress to join the street party?  I always play a character when I jump in a bloco, that’s one of the most exciting part of Carnival! The kind of costumes I dress, depends on the “Bloco” I’m going to. There are some blocos that people takes costuming really serious, and that I dress up completely but in some others I just improvise with some carnival acessories, like a mask or a piece of colorful clothing.

3-Which are the best “blocos” to enjoy the street carnival, in your opinion? Definitely the ones that begins in the early morning and that are not so popular among the public in general.  My favourites are Céu na Terra (Santa Teresa), GB Bloco (family friendly “bloco” in Laranjeiras), Me beija que eu sou cineasta (Gávea) and Fogo e Paixão (Centro).

4- Which ones are the worst? The ones that are a waste of time? Well, in my opinion the most popular ones are kind of a waste of time. The more popular the bloco is, the more crowded it would be, which can be very annoying. Cordão do Bola Preta, Banda de Ipanema, Cordão do Boitatá, Monobloco are some of them.

5-How many days do you join the blocos during carnival? Usually I go three days during carnival, but I also like to go to those pre-carnival blocos, the ones that happens before the official carnival.

6-How do you prepare yourself for the carnival marathon? Any special tip ? Keep in mind that carnival is held in the peak of summer, so the heat in a bloco can be really bad. So I drink a lot of water! Drinking water is very important not to dehydrate. A nice idea is to carry with you a bottle of water if possible. I also wear light and confortable clothes. No high heels! Shorts and sneakers are the perfect combination. It is more important to feel yourself confortable than being fancy! I don’t leave home without putting sunblock all over the body and having a nice meal before. I always try to carry with me a fruit or cereal bar in case I get hungry and I can’t find  anything to eat!

7-How do you recharge your batteries when arriving home after spending the whole day dancing in the blocos? Nothing better than a cold shower and put my feet up!

8-If you would give an advice for a first-timer in Rio street carnival, what would you say? Have always company close to you, do not drink too much alcohol and don’t go to the blocos by car.

9- How do you usually get around to arrive in the blocos? By subway, taxi or walking.

10- How men usually behave to single women in the blocos? There are always the flirtatious ones acting inconvenient behaviour, but most of the guys are there for the fun. For those with inconvenient attitude , keep them at arm’s lenght and walk the other way (laughs), but always with a smile on your face, after all it is carnival and kindness generates kindness. ; )

11- What do you carry with you when going to a bloco? The basic, just money and cellphone, hidden in the pockets.

 12- Have you ever been in a bad situation while playing in a bloco? No, never!! Rio Street Carnival is all about fun, get in the mood and you will have a great time!

A little bit of my Carnival

It is already carnival monday! Tomorrow it will be the last Carnival day and all Carnival party we enjoyed was the Carnival Ball for Kids last saturday afternoon in a mall in Barra da Tijuca neighborhood.

A carnival band playing carnival music like “marchinhas” (a traditional carnival music) and sambas was enough to live up the party and make all the parents dance while kids wearing costumes played on the dance floor.

Although my son kept telling us that the music was too loud, he had fun for a while with all the confetti on the dance floor.

For half an hour me and my husband could dance a little bit and enjoy the carnival atmosphere while keeping an eye at him playing with other kids.

But that was enough for him!!! Soon he lost interest in the party and asked us to take him to the mall’s playground.

That was not enough carnival for me and my husband, but that was all we could have by now….

Have a great week!!

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Carnival Season

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Although carnival officially starts next saturday, March 1st,  in the last two weekends we are already breathing carnival atmosphere in Rio. This last weekend around 90 “blocos de carnaval” (carnival parades organized by some kind of associations) were in the streets for the pre-carnival parades.

For those who loves carnival and likes to play characters dressing funny costumes for the street carnival,  pre-carnival events is a nice way to warm up for the official carnival days that starts next saturday. But for those who doesn’t like carnival or just don’t want to join the street party, all those “blocos” can be a pain in the neck. You wanna know why? Because it becomes almost impossible to get around in the city by car, bus or taxi. Many main streets are closed to traffic to make all this party possible.

Anyway, I love carnival!! It is a great season not only for all that joke atmosphere but also because carnival music has always been in my life since I was a little kid. My father loved samba and carnival and I remember since very young in my childhood dressing costumes for carnival, going to carnival balls with my sister and parents, listening to the Samba’s Schools soundtracks to learn the lyrics of all the”sambas-enredos”(“sambas-enredo” are the songs performed by the Samba Schools during the Samba Schools Annual Parade).

But since my son was born, me and my husband prefer to stay quiet in Carnival. We usually spend carnival holidays in a relative’s apartment in Barra da Tijuca to stay away from all that street carnival mess in the streets of Rio’s south zone. We usually spend the carnival days going to the beach, and all the carnival we see are the children carnival balls that we go with our son and also the carnival parades that we watch on TV.

This year is not going to be different. We will take the opportunity to rest a little bit from all the craziness that we have been living lately. We are going to move to a new apartment  in the beginning of March and we’ve been very busy getting things arranged for the moving day. (That’s why I’ve been a little away from the blog lately)

But for those interested in jumping into Rio’s carnival, there are three different ways of enjoying carnival in Rio. 1- Going to the Samba Schools Parades in “Sambódromo”, 2-enjoying the street carnival following the many carnival parades and 3-attending carnival balls in clubs .

The cheaper and, in my opinion the one that offers most fun, is the street carnival, but the disadvantage is that most of the “blocos” parades are during the day, in the morning or in the early afternoon, and all that summer heat can be very unpleasant. You will also have a little concern with your belongings as pick pocketing is quite common in the “blocos”, specially the bigger ones that get very crowded.

Going to the carnival balls in clubs can be a good choice, but you have to choose the right one to go that fits your intentions, as there are different balls for different public. There are the traditional and family-friendly balls where you can go with your family and friends and others more restricted to adult public and oriented to specific publics (LGBT, singles, for example).

Watching the Samba Schools Parades in “sambodromo” can be quite a spectacle, but tickets for the best seats can be rather expensive and watching the parade all night long can be quite tiring. I have to confess that I had never watched the parade in “sambodromo” and I really don’t make plans to go for it.

So as you can see, there is a kind of carnival in Rio for every kind of people, you just have to choose the one that better suits you.

Have a great week!!!