Friends and family had been telling me to go and visit Morro de Sao Paulo over and over again, but until this year I’d never got round to it. Every time I go to Brazil I have a full diary of people to see and a list of things I want to do and eat. So when I went in February for carnival I decided not to make any plans for after carnival to give me a chance to finally get to visit this paradise island.
The island doesn’t have any cars on it, so the only way to get there is by air or some kind of boat. I decided to go by catamaran, the ticket cost R$70 (about £22).
So carnival in Brazil is the bestest. I am bias, but it is true. For your information, carnival in Rio and Salvador are very different (Salvador is better also). To help make up your mind…If you want to sit back listen to samba and watch a phenomenal show with half naked tanned bodacious buff bodies, Rio is your gal. BUT if you want to be part of the show and listen to samba, axe, reggae, samba-reggae, pagode, baile funk and even the occasional bit of house, SALVADOR IS YOUR GIRL!
This year’s week long affair ended a month ago. My mum, dad and sister were all there absorbing the sun, sea and music with family and friends at our Barra flat – literally right next to the festivities.
In Salvador, there are 2 routes for carnival: Campo Grande in the old city and Barra – next to the beach. I used to spend my childhood in a big rented room in Campo Grande with family and friends. I have some amazing memories sitting on the window ledge watching the floats go by.
Awww when Natalie was the ‘big’ sister at Campo Grande!
As Campo Grande is the more traditional route with Afro-Brazilian groups passing by, I especially remember Filhos de Ghande bloco (group) and Ilhe Aye parading down in their costumes (I will explain ‘Bloco’ in a bit). If you didn’t know, Salvador is heavily influenced by African culture due to it being the main port during the slave trade and first capital city of Brazil.
These guys are dressed in the Ilhe Aye costumes
The famous Gilberto Gil dressed as Filho de Gandhy ‘Son of Ghandi’
Last year I went to Brazil for 3 weeks. During which my best friend Hannah came for 2 weeks and it was magical. I’ll tell you about the holiday in another post but let’s concentrate on carnival for now!
So a week of sunbathing, drinking, dancing, partying: F*CKING BRILLIANT. Minus the sleepless nights….but napping is for the day homies! So what is it all about?
Well, carnival is made up of ‘blocos’. What you do is you choose the artists you want to see at a particular time and then buy the t-shirt called an ‘abada’ or costume in the case of the above. This t-shirt will allow you to follow the custom built trucks surrounded by rope holders. If you aren’t wearing the right t-shirt, you’ll be led outside. The surrounding areas of the truck are so packed it’s hard to follow them all the way, but it can be done!
We followed Banda Eva, with Saulo singing on one night and Claudia Leitte another night. I have to say Saulo was absolutely amazing. The four of us went out; my two cousins and Hannah and we had a blast. My cousins and I got emotional a few times…it’s not everyday I get to see my cousins…and the mix of powerful music, beer and love was too much!
This was the song of the year, and it still makes me smile thinking about Hannah attempting to sing it in Portuguese…very entertaining. (Fast forward it about 40 seconds in).
Claudia Leitte is one of the most famous Brazilian female singers at the moment and with her amazing beauty, booming voice and upbeat songs it’s no wonder. But I thought I would share one of the most iconic female singers of Bahia, Daniella Mercury. She empitomizes Salvador’s Afro-Brazilian culture in her music and has been around since before I was born.
When we weren’t following blocos, we were chilling out in the front space of the flat. Perfect view for the passing blocos with looooads of space to drink and dance.
My cousin Laura and I
Me and Hannah drinking Capirinhas! Mmmm
In the morning through tired eyes, it’s time for the beach or pool…whatever tickles your fancy! Time to top up the tan! I think I went a bit overboard…but it’s bitter cold in England…got to make the most of it!