Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Oi everyone!

I need to type this now as things are almost in full swing for Carnaval here in Salvador, Bahia. Time has been passing so fast and it´s been awhile since an update. Last I remember, I had just finished and was invited to a football game on Botafogo Beach in the rain. It started as a bunch of backpackers, but some kids ~10 years old wanted to join in. Too much fun, myself being american and not playing football since the last time on the beach I was terrible. But you should see these kids; nothing but the fanciest moves, one tried a bicycle kick on goal! But their defense sucked, isn´t that how Brazilians play? (correct me if I´m wrong Oscar) So the international backpackers beat the 10 year old Brazilians; later this story will change and I´ll drop the part about them being 10 :)

I was exhausted, but wait, it was Saturday night and it was time to go to one of the best Samba Groups in Rio: Manguiera! This is their prep for Carnaval, and they have their own stadium for practice. Imagine walking into a stadium of 7000 other people all for the purpose of singing and dancing samba! The music was tight and everyone knew the Mangueira songs, singing at the top of their lungs with lots of Brazilian pride. It started at around midnight and ended around 0500, pretty much non-stop the whole time. I can get the slower steps down, but when it cranks up to about 8 steps a second, and you have to shake your ass back and forth... whew, it´s tough.

The next night had a well known disco party in a favela next to Cidade do Deus. I went more for the experience than anything else, just to see how the other part of Rio partied. Pretty wild, tough crowd with buffed shirtless guys and coquettish chicks, but they could get down! Impressive dancing as always. The thing about it all, is that everyone is in a festive mood. When some drummers are just practicing on the corner, everyone (kids and grandmas included) samba-walks by! I love it!

Some more beach time on Copacabana and Ipanema and a street samba party later; and I figured I needed to make plans for Carnaval. So I booked a ticket to Salvador, got a reservation in a hostel and I was on my way.

Bahia is the heart and soul of Afro-Brasilian culture. It seems like there is always a drum rhythm going on and the scene here is festive. It is definitely poor here and you can see a lot of desperate people; theft and muggings are not uncommon. So more precaution, carrying less money is needed, but aside from this it´s cool. The town centre where I´m staying dates back to the 1500´s and there are some nice beaches along with museums that I´m taking in. Okay more music: afoxé, axé and forro are also popular up here. Along with all those wild Afro grupos: tonight I´m going to Olodum (thanks Jen), if you´ve heard Paul Simon’s `Rhythm of the Saints`, then you´ve heard Olodum. They´re pretty famous up here.

Oh, so as not to disappoint all those martial artists out there: I trained at Edson Carvelhos Jiu-jitsu school last night. Those guys are good! I have to take it easy though, as my shoulder is still not yet healed. Okay, this should be it for a while. Carnaval starts a day early here and won´t be done till the wee hours of Ash Wednesday.

Till then :até lago,



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