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February 23, 2009



My big problem with Carnaval is the cultural/media obsession with samba schools in Rio/SP and the trios in Salvador, when those are only modern, commercial practices.


Thanks for clarifying and giving real and clear information of what Brazilian Carnival really is. As a Brazilian living in Canada I feel sometimes (especially during this time of the year) ashamed to see the image that many gringos have of Carnival. Though I’ve never spent Carnival in Rio, I love the city and wish it was better prepared to receive tourists, because it really is a special place to visit. ;)

Ray Adkins


What a great post!
Very accurate description.
I would like add that for someone like you ( and me ) who doesn't enjoy the heat, the crowds, the drunks and all the peeing on the streets that there are Private Clubs that are open to the general public during Carnaval, they hold nice parties with A/C and nice food and beverage service, there is plenty of security personnel to keep the drunks and crazed in line and one can have a lot of fun...however there is a high price, which the clubs charge to select the crowds they will attract.
Call it elitist Carnaval, it was the only kind I would go back over and over again, I think it is the only kind of Carnaval party that provides the level of comfort I expect to be enjoyable.



Great post, Rachel. A lot of usefull information for the gringos.
Bom carnaval!


Elitist carnival? Most blocos in Zona Sul are public but they are as elitist as they can get. No comfort, but most people are from upper middle class, from Zona Sul, etc.


As a carioca girl I know what we truly think about tourists coming to Rio looking for easy sex: "That sucker will end up with a hooker." Aaaand half of the times the hooker will have a penis bigger than his.

One thing is sure about nudity and carnaval: usually the half-naked "girl" covered in purpurine using a thong is a boy. If isn't a boy, it's a hooker.

One thing is using a bikini on the beach, and using a "saída de praia" (a light piece of clothing styled like a short dress to put over the bikini) to go to some restaurant at Ipanema, other is using it on the streets. At least a skirt or short must be used to cover our behinds ;) And we BLUSH if our towels skip two or three squares after the beach avenue. If you're not sunbathing, you're exposing yourself, you feel naked. Point.


Great post! Great depiction. I was never really into Carnaval cuz I never liked Samba de enredo. I love the percussion, though! There were clubs (more like pubs and small bars) where I lived that would host parties for the ones who did not like 'folia'. I surely loved and took the time off, as well.

Silvia Merlim

Parabens pelo blog ,recomendo a todos americanos ou brazilians.Sou de Niteroi,e vivendo em CT (USA).Acho as suas opinioes e informacoes por demais esclarecedoras para todos entenderem o Brazil.Da mesma forma que amas o meu pais de origem,devo dizer que amo o seu.Moro aqui a 14 anos e a troca de culturas,valores etc.e enriquecedor a qualquer ser humano.Se todos respeitassem as outros culturas,atraves do conhecimento,haveria mais paz nesse mundo.Keep up with the good work..

RB Love

so i should forget about it? wipe it off the bucket list? my hot, sultry, fantasy of boogying to that latin beat all out-of-control in the streets with thousands of half-naked, definitively sexy women until i'm spent on someone's lawn the next day...canceled?

Jennifer Springsten

I`ve really wanted to attend the carnival in Rio for some time now. Everyone ahs told me it's really a great experience, with all the dancing and partying that goes on, but I was looking for a different point of view, because I knew there had to be some downsides to it. Your description seems really accurate, and really brings the hole picture together. Thank you, nice post.


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