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It's not often that I get sentimental about my time in Brazil, but as I was passing through the internet today I came across a CNN article about the number of tourists at this year's Carnival celebration in Rio De Janeiro. CNN is a good place to get your Carnival fix because they'll give you a taste of the fun/shenanigans without throwing you in the deep end of nudity/decadence.
I love Carnival, and as I was reading a memory popped into my head that I wanted to share on Twitter or Facebook but before I could open up the page I had a second memory, and a third, and a fourth and pretty soon I was just giggling in my chair. So maybe this is more for me than for you, but here's a list of things I miss since I had considerably less fun this weekend than my Brazilian brothers.
1. I miss the Carnival-season billboards, paid for by the city, that showed two faces looking at each other (of various gender combinations) with the caption: "Don't Play Without a Condom" (Nao brinque sem camisinha).
1.5 I love the Brazilian word for condom, "Camisinha," which translated literally means "little shirt."
2. I miss the music. Except for a small minority of cultured individuals, Brazilians mostly listen to America's table scraps (Hanson is HUGE there) but around Carnival it's Frevo and Samba, all day, all night, all the time baby. Do a youtube search for Frevo, it has to be seen AND heard.
3. I miss the colors. It's as if the entire country was taking part in a pride parade.
4. I miss how giant trucks covered inch by inch in loudspeakers (carros de som) would lead random, spontaneous "parades" (blocos, really they were mobile dance parties), suddenly appearing out of nowhere and passing you on the street sweeping up bystanders in its path.
5. Let's not kid ourselves, I miss being surrounded everywhere I went by beautiful, dancing, half-naked Brazilians.
5.5 It was not uncommon for a bloco to stop in the middle of the street, for women to climb on top of the carros de som and proceed to remove what little clothing they were still wearing amidst the roar of the cheering crowds.
6. I miss the Galo da Madrugada (Early-morning rooster). It was, in fact, a giant rooster they put in the middle of a bridge in Recife with a million people dancing around it. Google it.
7. I miss the sheer magnitude of it. I've been in New York for the Thanksgiving Parade, I've been in Los Angeles on St. Patrick's Day, I've been in Salt Lake City on Pioneer Day. Drawing a crowd is child's play. Nothing I have ever seen compares to the unhinged, ecstatic chaos of Carnaval where an entire country throws the rules out the window for an uninterrupted 5-day party.