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RTW 08/09

Carnival 2009

BRAZIL | Thursday, 26 February 2009 | Views [666] | Comments [1]

If you want to know what it´s like to have you ear drums literally rattle around in your ears, every organ in your body vibrate to 150,000 watts of bass and dance your socks off for 5days with two million other people then Salvador is the place to be.

I flew with Zete, Renato, Renata and Vaguinho from Sao Paulo on the 13th of February to Salvador.

From there we got a ferry to the beautiful Island of Morro de Sao Paulo, two hours south of Salvador were we stayed for three days. Cars are forbidden on the Island and when you get off the boat many locals with wheelbarrows (with taxi painted on the side) await to take your luggage to your accommodation.

Kilometer after kilometer of amazing beaches and perfectly clear waters surround the Island. It is a very touristy place but even so its very relaxing and there´s parties on the beach every night.

So many tropical fruits are avialable here and in the evening there are stalls that make up fruit smoothies with a bit of vodka or any other spirit that you fancy.

Next we headed off inland from Salvador to Lencois, a very cute town with cobbled streets and multi coloured houses. The town is surrounded by many beautiful waterfalls and natural springs. The national park close to the town, Chapada Diamantina Nat Park, has many underground cave systems and parts of the park look a bit like the Grand Caynon only a little more greener.

After all that relaxing, trekking and appreciating nature it was back to Salvador to join the masses for the Carnival. 

Carnival Salvador is officially the biggest party on the planet and takes place every year for 5 days before Ash Wednesday.

Three things that you need to know about Carnival are Trios Electricos, Blocos and Abadas.

Trios Electricos are trucks that haul the huge sound systems with stages on top were the band or DJ play. They are driven very slowly through the streets and depending on the route it can take 4-5 hours to complete a circuit.

The trucks are cordoned off with a rope carried by hundreds of security guards. Inside the ropes is known as a Bloco and if you pay for the very colourful and sometimes expensive t-shirt you have access to the Bloco. The girls usually take the scissors to their t-shirt to make them a little more sexy :-) Following the main party truck is a support truck with toilets, a bar and medical facilities for the people inside the Bloco.

The bigger the band or artist the more expensive the t-shirt. For example Pete Tong and Armin Van Burren played on the last night and the t-shirt for the bloco cost around 80 euros.

Of course if like me you can´t afford to pay for a t-shirt you can simply follow the bloco and stay outside the ropes. The party people on the out side of the Blocos are known as popcorn.

Along the routes of the Carnival there are Camarotes, which are stands that line the circuits and give an excellent view of the streets and the party below. Some of the more expensive Camarotes include drinks and food.  

Carnival in Salvador is different to that of Rio. Samba doesn´t feature here, it is all local Bahian music. Another difference is that the Rio Carnival is highly organised, expensive and takes up 700 meters of one street were Salvador has almost 25 kilometers dedicated to the Carnival and you can be part of it all for free.

Sweaty, sexy and not a little strenuous, carnival is a well-oiled machine masquerading as total chaos. (not my words, but I like this quote from the Independent) 

Thanks to Elton (Zetes friend) and his family who were very kind and more or less gave us the run of their house for 5days.

Thank you Zete, Renato, Renata and Vaguinho for kindly letting me intrude on your vacation. I really enjoyed my time in Salvador with you all and hope it´s not too long before we have another beer.

Two stops to come before I reach the Amazon

To be continued...............



Good to see your enjoying yourself we had missed your entries and were just about to send out a search party.Anyhow all the best from UPPER Lislea.

  Arthur Clodagh & Oran Mar 5, 2009 9:50 PM

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