In prep of tomorrow’s post, because i talk a lot about carnaval there but i don’t really know so much about carnaval, i’m literally a novice at the thing, but i felt my perspective could be really useful and i just want to say why.
Anyway. I grew up in São Paulo, which is mostly a place without carnaval. If you are from São Paulo chances are you not only dislike carnaval, you think it is gross and uncivilized. And you can keep on believing it for as long as you please. But at some point i was brought to think otherwise and so i started, and am still trying, to live more of carnaval. And it has been an amazing journey.
The thing is, i was having an anthropology 101 class, and the teacher fed us 2 weeks worth of carnaval proselytism. Like, all those great papers by those amazing ethnographers showing just how important carnaval is for Brazilian culture. But after that i challenged her that as important as it might be, that carnaval also has an ugly side somewhere. As a reply, she asked me if i had ever lived carnaval, and i confessed i hadn’t.
And so she said there wasn’t really a way we could discuss it.
And, you see, almost any other person who said something like that to me, i would just let them fsck themselves. But that teacher was really really good.
So, yeah, i decided i would give it a try. As the next carnaval approached i was invited to go to this architecture students’ event in Recife, and the event would happen in the week before carnaval, and it was full of those incredible people, and Recife at that time is almost carnaval already, and it was incredible. The people organizers were total carnaval-people, and almost everyone there stayed over to carnaval, but i just couldn’t. I was running my final semester tar uni and staying meant spending one more semester there, i just knew i couldn’t. So i came back, just my heart wouldn’t come.
So i got rid of uni, had some other adventures, and then, in November, went again to Recife. It was another student event, and i got really involved, and when it was over one of the organizers told me that i could stay over at his house for how much time i wanted. This turned out to be up to a week after carnaval, which some people count as 3 months and other as 5. I’ll never know. What i know is that it was a time of intense research, so to say, i did a lot of partying, and got to know a lot of people, and it all helped me understand and prepare to carnaval.
It turns out that from the new year’s eve Recife is already getting ready for carnaval. The ethos and the rhythm of the city through this time is very much carnaval. In late December there was something like a pre-party of one of the blocos called Eu Acho É Pouco, and this pretty much energized me for the marathon that was to follow.
Legend has it that “Gringo não aguenta o rojão!”, which is to say non-locals die before carnaval ends, but latter some of my friends said i had managed it. Through those months, i always thought that the last week had been too full-time partying, that it had been too intense, that everything was happening all the time too much, that it was way too over the top, but the next week never failed to be even crazier. And carnaval was fucking amazing.
Then the next year i went to Rio. It was somehow a weird trip, i stayed at a friend’s place whose mother was more in the mood for cosy barbecue parties at home than for heavy street-party, and i met the wrong people at the wrong places many times, but in the end it was great.
The year after that was Ouro Preto. I didn’t have time for much preparation, so i stayed at a “Republica” that wasn’t very central, and i guess i didn’t socialize a lot with the people there, but i went everywhere and saw many many faces of Ouro Preto’s carnaval, with loads of synchronicity, loads of booze, loads of great.
At the beginning of the year after that i was stranded around the NorthEast, so i ended up going again to Recife. Since this was (and is) my most beloved of all ever carnaval, i figured it wasn’t so bad an idea to repeat, though it wasn’t really what i most wanted to do. Also, my sis was at the place too. Turns out repeating carnaval was not so great an idea: You just keep on comparing…
Then came the year i failed carnaval, i had a plan of going to Cavalcante, a very small town that a guy that is somewhat of a carnaval legend from Rio adopted and tried to turn into another vision of carnaval. I was supposed to go with friends and they all gave up in the last minute.
Finally, last carnaval i went to an electronic party that happens at the same time, called SoulVision, and i am still trying to decide whether or not it was carnaval.
So, as you can see, carnaval is a kind of a project of mine, a research that i am trying to conduct, and also this project is somewhat derailed, but there are still many plans ahead and we are hoping for good results. Or something like it.
My plans for this year are, up till now, Paraty.