Step Outside your Comfort Zone

Day 20:  Brazil

By the time we left the apartment today it was lunch time.  We stopped and had a hearty lunch before finding our first Bloco.  A Bloco is a giant block party/parade through the streets.  There is lots of dancing and lots of drinking.  They start at like 7 or 8 in the morning and go through the night.  Carnaval is literally a non stop party for about 5 days.  Which will be interesting because giant parties and clubs aren't really my thing. However, I have an open mind because everyone should experience Carnaval at least once in their life.  Right?

After lunch we found our first Bloco in Santa Theresa after hiking up what felt like a mountain.  When we first arrived, we were so confused.  There weren't any people, just street vendors.  We weren't sure if we missed it or it hadn't started yet.  We decided to turn around and check out the other side.  There were thousands of people lining the streets dancing and singing.  It was so much fun.  

The Bloco we ended up at was the Carmelitas Bloco which is highly recommended by the locals and I agree.  We watched the parade with dancers and stilt dancers and bands and singers.  Once they passed we realized that everyone follows the parade through the streets.  

The energy in the parade was amazing.  We were happily walking/dancing through the parade when a very enthusiastic Brazilian man grabbed my face, kissed my forehead and danced with me.  Unfortunately, he was more interested in Brian than me, but it was so much fun.  The thrill and excitement were like nothing I've experienced before.  I sent a Marco Polo video to Kristie and Gabe from the parade stating that all the Gabe Griess for Senate campaign parades prepared me for Carnaval.  However, the two don't even compare.  Its like comparing apples and oranges.  They are both fruit.

The culture in Brazil is so much different than that of the United States.  Age and sex standards are so different.  For a man to engage in sexual relations with a 14 year old isn't considered illegal or taboo.  Guys would jump out of the crowd and kiss random girls without their permission many times.  While the feminist and the child advocate in me are appalled by these standards, I must applaud the city because everywhere you go there are free condoms promoting safe sex.  

At one point in the parade I got my ass grabbed by someone.  I’m not sure who, but I guess its part of the experience.  However, that doesn't make it ok.  Shortly after the ass grab, the parade came to an end.  It is nearly impossible to get through all of the people to get back to where you are going.

When we finally made it back to Lapa, it was already dark.  We found a restaurant for dinner.  It was busy so we figured it must be good. The service was terrible and the food was worse.  I’m usually not that picky, but this place was awful. 

Stepping outside my comfort zone today allowed me to experience something amazing.  Something that I might not choose to experience again.  However, I did learn that everybody gets to experience Carnaval in Rio at least once in their lifetime.  Its never too late.

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