I probably don’t need to tell you that Carnaval in Brazil is a bit crazy – if you didn’t know that already then a simple google search will show you all you need to know. But what surprised me most was that the rehearsals are as equally full-on. For example, Friday 3rd February was our second night in São Paulo and at about 11pm this happened outside our apartment:
Although I have been to Carnaval before it was still a bit of shock to see this lot plough down our street on a random Friday night, especially as it was only our second night and I was still acclimatising. It was a bit surreal to say the least.
Anyway, can you imagine what the police would do if on a Friday night this lot rocked up on your street in the UK? And I think it’s safe to presume that they don’t have or need to get a license to do this. Neither was there much complaint from the neighbours about the noise as most of them went outside to join in.
But the amazing thing is that this is only a QUARTER of one whole Samaba school (during the parade each school in São Paulo and Rio is comprised of about 3,000 people and 5 floats) . I have now learnt that this particular school (Mocidade) practises in our neighbourhood every Friday from November up until Carnaval (which this year is between 17th-22nd February), though preparations for Carnaval start almost immediately after the previous one finishes.
And, this is only one of the twelve schools in São Paulo (in the First Division anyway – each team is judged during Carnaval and there is a champion, relegation, promotion, etc), so each week this happens at least twelve times somewhere around the city. Not content with running through things in a hall or some such other place, whole parts of the city become mini-carnival rehearsals.
Another section of Mocidade turned up the following Friday despite torrential rain (pretty much a hurricane-esque storm – see Lesson No. 1 (Part 1: The Weather)). Nothing stops seems to stop the party in Brazil!