Brazil, Brazil… Lord Brazil carnivals is something to experience! Ilovecarnivall went to Rio and Salvador for carnival. From the outside looking in, without experiencing it and without speaking to someone in the know? You might think Carnival in Rio is the one and the only carnival in Brazil. But trust me on this. The power, heart, FUN, the VIBES, the MAGIC of carnival is in Bahia, in SALVADOR!!! It leaves a deep and lasting imprint on your carnival soul.
I think I forgot how big Brazil as a country is. There are many many carnivals in various areas. No one carnival reflects the reality of Brazil carnival as all the carnivals have varying level of influences. Rio carnival for the most part is the most well known and the greatest spectacle with samba, the feathers and bling and costumes (although there are other representations but they are not featuredinternationally as much). It is almost a bit elitist. It can be difficult to participate as a foreigner or even the average Brazilian I was told. But Salvador, which has the greatest percentage of descendants of African slaves in a Brazilian city has a different freer vibe. Salvador for me had a very special magic. And probably the vibe which is closer to the Caribbean understanding of carnival. Rio may have the majority of the standardised perception of beautiful costumes and mas. You know what I mean, the expensive bling bling feather costumes which initially attracts. But for me Salvador has the heart and soul of carnival.
So much to say and I am getting ahead of myself. I’ll be writing a Brazilian carnival series of posts as there is way too much to for one post. But first, how did I get to Salvador Carnival? I traveled from London to Salvador via Madrid but there are other routes.The ticket price wasn’t bad. Oh please note, everyone who isn’t a Brazilian national is checked for a return date in London and at Madrid. I thought it was just me but there were many passengers at the back of me on the plane who were seriously upset they had to show their return date. There was one guy who did not have a return date and had to buy a return flight before they would allow him on the plane. And I wouldn’t recommend using Air Europa. Probably one of my worst flight experiences. The food was basic, I mean seriously basic and you had to rent laptops to see movies! On a 10 hour trip from Madrid? Not impressed. However, Salvador airport and immigration was pretty smooth and quick.
Salvador from initial impressions on the drive from the airport is not a rich city financially. I saw favelas and dilapidated buildings. But don’t be deterred by initial impressions. There are absolutely gorgeous areas in Salvador. And even the favelas were beautiful in their own right.
A friend put me in contact with another friend Shelly who was fantastic! She absolutely loves carnival, has great vibes, is amazing fun, a brilliant host and is knowledgeable. She was able to direct me to other people such as John and Claudio who knows everything about Salvador and is an interesting character in himself. He was also able to pull off the seemingly impossible! Shelley’s Air bnb is lovely, has an amazing view overlooking the harbor (can highly recommend).
My first night? Straight from the plane, I got in, had about half an hour to have a quick shower and change before I head out to my first carnival experience on the carnival route of Salvador with Shelley. And I was thinking to myself ‘Yesssssss, this is what I am talking about! Pace pace, from the get go’. So how did it go??? What’s it like? Any costumes? What’s the music like? What are the men and women saying? Look out for my future posts on Brazil Carnival 2018!
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