Hey Christ! – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

After the rest, I was ready for the party…but the party never came. Not in my opinion anyway. First, a group of us gathered at the apartment of these guys who apparently just got robbed while they were at the game. We sat around waiting for the others to get back from making their statement at the police station. It seemed that every one was Irish and once again I was astounded by how much accents can change within such a small country.

As we were chatting, I looked up and exclaimed `Hey Christ!`…our man, O Cristo Redentor, a 38 meter high statue decided to make an appearance. It`s quite the task to see all of him as he seems to be obscured most of the time. I had overheard alot of people remarking on how they went all the way up there only to see a dense cloud of mist with big feet. But this night, he would appear every so often through the clouds as a smallish cross looking figure floating in the middle of the sky.

I noticed how it is quite common in South America to have crosses (or the likes) on the top of high hills, like a antenna to God or something. Christ the Redeemer just seems like a more elaborate version of this. Anyway, every time one of the girls would try to take a picture he would disappear behind a shroud of cloud once again.

Finally, we decided to go out making our way to the Sambadromo where the bulk of Carnaval happens. The streets were really crazy crowded and you really couldn´t do much else but float along in the crowd. There didn´t seem to be many foreigners around so we got quite a bit of attention but overall the people were quite friendly.

One thing that really surprised me about Carnaval is how concentrated it is in small areas. You can find ´blocks´ where they are playing loud stomping music from speakers on a big truck like floats. People are crowded all around doing some form of drunken samba dodging the shaving cream spraying mischief makers.

I thought that the whole city would be in party but there are many many times when the streets would be so dead that I would forget Carnaval was even happening. Altho I was spared, I met heaps of people who had experienced some form of petty crime. It’s no wonder all the locals leave the city at this time every year.

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