Day 1 of carnival I spent in BH, which meant waking up at 7am to go to one of the most famous blocos of the city called Então, Brilha. Carnival here only got good a year or two ago, and most of the blocos are linked to social or opposition movements. This bloco is from a red light district, and apparently a brothel there was called Brilhante, which is where the bloco’s name comes from.
This bloco started early so everyone could “shine with the sun”, not something I like to hear about a Friday morning. Anyway, everyone was drinking and yelling “fora Temer” by 9.30 am and music was blasting, and the crowd kept increasing until the point at about midday where you could faint and you’d still be carried along. When it got that bad my friends and I fought our way out and had chill out time, we ended up leaving to eat and recover. Later we went back out and found a smaller bloco (or maybe it was just a street party, it was a bit hard to tell) with drums and some samba beats, which was great fun until the skies opened and a tropical downpour began. The crowd was divided in two here, between the people drunk enough to keep dancing, and those who ran for shelter, I was part of the latter group until the cover no longer worked against the rain pelting down. So we ran to the other side of the street where a funk party in a petrol station was in full swing.
I find there’s a limited time that I can stand funk music, so after I have no idea how long we went to find another bloco, but they seemed to have wound down with the rain and we had a veeeeeery long walk to find where buses had been diverted to.
Highlights of day 1 of carnival:
1. Fora Temer being yelled by a bunch of drunk Brazilians in costume at 9.30am
2. A man dressed as a woman twerking on top of a speaker to funk music at a Shell petrol station.
Day 2 of carnival spent in a tiiiny village called São Bartolomeu: Basically involved drinking a ridiculous amount of caipirinhas in the local bar with music that everyone seemed to know except me. Everyone was as drunk as we were and we had a blast, but the only difference from a normal night in a tiny town was that people were slightly dressed up and that a group of people with drums passed through at one point.
Highlights of day 2 of carnival:
- Our drunk and rather mad host.
- A caipirinha with pink pepper in which got us more than a bit tipsy.
Day 3 of carnival was mainly spent recovering from the hangover from day 2, I made friends with a cat, we went to the river and napped. Eventually we got enough energy to go to Ouro Preto’s carnival, which is meant to be one of the best. It’s unusual because student houses, known as republicas are at the centre of it. We spent a lot of town outside one that had a rock band on their balcony! The same street also had a gay club/house with a gay flag outside it where some (presumably) gay men had done an insane job of dressing up, one was Ariel (complete with a fish cup holder and stuffed toy crab).
There were also free concerts in the main squares of varying qualities, one was by a reggae band who’s English was not good enough to be singing Bob Marley. Others were quite good though, and the city was full. With more energy, I think it would have been great, but as it was my bed was calling.
Highlights of day 3:
- How much effort people put into their costumes.
- My nap.
Day 4 we spent chilling in São Bartolomeu drinking beer, watching people fish and chatting. On our way home, we passed through a village so small it was barely a village, and cars parked along the road had speakers in, and everyone was dressed up and partying.
Highlights of day 4:
- Someone licking our car as we passed through a small village carnival.