Jumping back to my last days of Carnival in Rio, before I left for Bahia....I can only refer to it as the blur. As evidenced in my post on the first day of carnival in Rio, these people go hard.....Waking up early, not really eating, drinking way too many beers, walking for miles as you follow the large trucks and the music....it was chaotic. I still have no idea why the trucks have to move. That part was annoying. Why can't the party just stay stagnant.....all that uneccessary exercise in that hectic crowd.
So on the second day of Carnival, we left the house at 9am. We went to different Carnival parties for a few hours. After that my friend, his girlfriend and I decided to go to the beach. It's a bit of a sucky story. As I mentioned, you can't really go for Carnival with a bag. You have to store everything on your self. The first day I had put my money in a certain place, and when I got home I kind of forgot about it until it fell out. I thought to myself, "Oh! Bad idea. That is how you will lose it at Carnival." I moved the money elsewhere. The new location though also housed my phone. I got nervous that if I pulled out my phone to take a picture, I might drop my money. Finally I moved the money to my sock. I thought to myself, "When will I ever have to take off my socks at Carnival" When we got close to the beach, we obviously took off our shoes and socks. I only realized the error of my ways when I was already at the beach. I retraced my steps and frantically searched for the money I had dropped, but of course it was long gone.....sigh....stupid!
Feeling bummed out, I decided to go home and plan my departure to Bahia. I had planned on taking the bus and thought it would be an easy process......was the longest thing ever. Brazilian websites all want you to be truthfully and faithfully committed to them - for life! The bus company's website was crap. It must have been made on MS DOS or something. The page wouldn't translate, would keep hanging or having data validation issues. I had to create a profile that included my home address data, lots of biographical information etc......to buy a bus ticket. Finally an hour or so later, I had completed the form. The website had an error message along the lines of "Oh snap! Did you just say you're international? Ahhhhh. Ok. You can't buy the ticket online.....please call us on this toll free number (which for kicks can't be called from cellphones, yep....look for a landline! Fun, fun!")
After all this drama, it was an easy decision to buy a flight ticket online....which I also needed to fill in loads of information for, but that at least worked also for internationals. It was Sunday night, and my ticket was booked for Tuesday morning. I knew I had to go hard on Monday.
Monday we left the house at 10am for the Carnival parties. I was very ambitious in the whole going hard thing.....I have patchy memories of dancing, drinking, taking pictures, dancing, drinking, taking pictures.....rotate. We all got home at 7pm.....The night has to end early when you start partying at 10am. I got home and started panicking "Oh gosh! I need to be at the airport at 6am. I haven't packed. I can't pack in this state.....I think I will oversleep and miss my flight." My friend is a real sweetheart. He packed my bags as I kept on micromanaging him in between the few bouts of consciousness I had. "Oh! Don't forget my shoes!" "Did you check under the bed?" My poor poor friend. I really do owe it to him that I made it to my flight.....that was a poor state I was in on that Monday night.
The one issue that kept on disturbing me in Rio was the thought of "Where are all the black people?" Brazil is the country that has the largest population of black people - second only to Nigeria. I had seen a few black people during Carnival but very few among the revellers. There were lots of black people selling beer to the crowds, lots of black people picking up trash, lots of black people selling souvenirs, but very few black people enjoying carnival. I asked my friend about the lack of black people, and he agreed that race issues are still a major problem in Brazil. It really felt sad to see this form of economic slavery. He told me a lot of black people in Rio live in the favelas. The situation reminded me of one time I went to remote parts of Tennessee and Mississipi. It felt so depressing to see that even though there were some really beautiful places, black people were on the periphery. Nice restaurants - no black patrons, just black waiters. Nice hotels - black cleaners..
Brazil really is a place that makes me reflect a lot on race. It's hard not to think about it - especially when here in Bahia, which was the entry point for over 30% of all the slaves that were taken from Africa.....Anyway, will write more later.