Carnival Time

By a popular request it is my turn to contribute something to the blog, so here goes.

I would like to say that we have settled into 2013 but even that is difficult as the routine is yet to kick in. The kids did get in a week back at school before stumps being pulled on that for 9 days due to Carnival. I managed to score 3 days off for which I was grateful. The kids are back on Monday but in a fortnight the Grade 4 and 5´s head off to a weeklong camp near Sao Paulo involving a 7 hour bus each way – there goes 2 days. Don’t feel sorry for Charlotte as the following week is a 3 day week, then a whole week of school before the week with good Friday in it. I hope she actually manages to get enough school, in to progress past grade 4 over the coming 2 years.

We have experienced our first Carnival. I spoke to quite a few of my work colleagues and got surprisingly mixed responses about the Carnival. Many just leave town whilst a few, definitely a minority, get right into it. It is what you make of it. Lots of music, parades, a bit of controlled chaos – all we saw was just locals having a good time. The Carnival you see on TV is at the Sambodromo, a purpose built parade facility close to the CBD. It starts very late (for us anyway) and goes until about 6 in the morning. Perhaps we can work ourselves up to that next year, although don’t hold us to it. It looks as spectacular on TV here as it does there. Around Copacabana the usual hustle and bustle is transformed into what effectively feels like a very long hot Sunday afternoon BBQ.  Albeit there are some weird outfits that you would only get away with in Sydney on Mardi Gras weekend.

The temperature has really hit its straps in February with a fortnight of temperatures ranging between 32 and 36 highs. This combined with the humidity has seen all of us in the sea more often than I can remember and unfortunately it also means that a large proportion of Rio’s 6 million population and visitors were there as well. At least it was warm in, not as warm as out, and as long as you kept your mouth closed no foreign floating objects ended up in your esophagus. There are days when the water is like the postcards, but not all days.

Rio life is still novel – we are still learning the dos and dont’s, how’s and how not to’s. The language has got to the stage where we are relatively comfortable getting around and ordering meals but if the conversation doesn’t go to the script then we get into a bit of a muddle. Sometimes this can be worked out based on one word being detected in the rapid fire Brazilian Portuguese and from there we get the gist but many times not. Is it just me or is every foreign language spoken a lot faster than English?

We can also now confirm that shiny things, like cameras, are popular with opportunistic teenagers. Although Bron won that tug of war, it did shake the comfort factor down the scale a little. Like any big city I suppose you just have to be aware. The Zona Sul where we live and where I work is the main tourist area and policed very extensively . There is no real reason to venture from ZS into the less salubrious parts of Rio if you don’t want to. It depends on how much of the Carioca experience you feel you want or need.

We visited Niteroi on the other side of the bay and found the spaceship (photo attached) and the alien I think must have come with it. Whilst on earth, it is carefully camouflaged as a modern art gallery with a nice café underneath. We didn’t go to the gallery but the 20min ferry ride gave some great views of Rio from the water. It is a spectacular setting no doubt about it.

Modern Art?

Modern Art?

I recently purchased a Brazilian mountain bike with the hope to meet up with other like-minded people from work to go for a ride on the weekend. I have been running whilst I am here but I’m sure many will agree the reason running was invented was so you could catch your dinner, and I don’t have to.

That is my lot for now off to the beach again to perfect the body…..surfing. Some free advice for those who want it – do not use your face to slow down as you approach the shore whilst riding the larger waves.

Tchau por agora

Gavin

1 thought on “Carnival Time

  1. De

    shouldn’t it be called Gavinrantings?? well done Gav a perfect mix of your trademark dismissiveness balanced with humanity, photos of carnaval please……?

    Reply

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