Sweaty Thieves and Kissing Beads - Salvador Carnival 2011
by Abi66 on March 29, 2011
3rd Mar 2011 - 12th Mar 2011
The biggest party on the planet provided me with days and nights better than I could have ever hoped for in the years I have been banging on about going to Carnival. Two million people were on the streets outside our front door, all of a pretty liberal disposition and all there for the same thing--Salvador Carnival. You either embrace it with all heart or not at all. And we smashed it.
We were one block back from the beach in Barra and for 24 hours a day, everywhere you looked there were people--people's faces, people's limbs, people's noise, people's smells and people all hyped. There were samba drums, sound checks, street food, semi-naked sleeping drunks, horrible smells, sweaty thieves, kissing beads, road blocks, military police, bums, boobs, big Brazillian babes, feathers, brass bands, drag queens, stifling heat, unbelievable views and an atmosphere with enough electricity to power Papua New Guinea. There's nothing like it. At all.
Carnival got in and around our mouths, eyes, ears, noses and every other sense it could abuse. The David Guetta bloco was a sweaty, sticky, jumpy, epic, trampling, panic-inducing, more fun than you can imagine, everyone-loves-everyone kind of unbelievable night to end on. Unforgettable.
And the people I shared it with. It's an experience we will all always have in common and never forget. We lazed in the sun, ate out and tried to recuperate on Morro do Sao Paulo after Carnival. Sand streets, pricey pousadas and cachaca cocktails featuring every fruit you can think of beginning with Z, K and Q. While you're at it, can you name an animal beginning with N? Neither could we. Sat in silence for about 25 minutes trying to think of one. Newt. If you're asking.
I squeezed as much as I could out of the people I had fallen in love with over the previous seven days. This island just made sure I definitely--yep, definitely--love them all a lot before I bump back down to the reality of square one solo, like I'm a puppet in some sort of sick game of travel snakes and ladders.
I hate goodbyes. I felt awful, in fact, back in Salvador after "recuperating" on the island. My body hurt; my eyes were tired and all of the fun had gone to the airport in separate cabs to separate parts of the continent. I think I'll eventually get my head around the concept that I shouldn't feel blue that an experience is over but feel grateful that I even had the opportunity in the first place.
But not yet. I was sad. I needed to throw myself into a new place and a new experience, stop drinking beer, start sleeping and looking forward to Argentinian reunions.