The carnival in Recife ended. Tow days ago. And I am still trying to wrap my head around the past week. Wait! What just happened?
|On top of Olinda
To be frank, I am not quite sure. It all began with us getting off the bus in Recife . After three hours uphill, we arrive on top of beautiful Olinda, Recife’s sister city. Here, from the old part of town, covered in red, blue and yellow ribbons we can already imagine what carnival will look like…
A couple of days later, the same spot. This is the scene you see now: It is burning hot, 100.000 people are standing on the top of the hill, pushing down. You are squeezed in between your boyfriend, a giant cockroach and a gay nun. The gay nun is hitting on your boyfriend. Everybody is drenched in sweat. You remember that getting your behind squeezed by random strangers is part of the tradition.
The drums and trumpets bellow into your ear. You get a vodka-pink-drink shower. The girl on your left side has spilled her drink. But you hardly notice because right now you are actually more worried about the giant cockroach that is pushing you closer and closer to the curb and you are trying really hard not to fall into one of the food vendor’s hot plates. And then the dragon comes. A dark tent full of people, and stuffy as a cloth on top of 200 sweating people can be.
You can’t breath, you are standing on only one foot, you have no idea where your boyfriend is, you are NOT panicking – because now the cockroach is urging you to join the dragon dance. You feel a sudden pain in your back, there is some sunlight, you can breath again. You have somehow stumbled back into the street. There is the boyfriend. He has some blue spray on his face. You will worry about that later. You need a cold beer now. It somehow got dark. You are going with the flow to the bus station. The bus stops, the crowd gets off, so do you. Blue lights. Yellow lights. Fireworks. Drums. Singing. A procession of African queens.
You’re fascinated. You’re getting hungry. You find the next Macaxeira stand. You wait in line for 40 minutes until the drunk grill master gives you your food. You are going to meet your friends. You want to see the show together. You have lost your friends. Again. You can’t find them. Again. You walk towards the stage. There is more and more people pushing in. There are condom balloons flying over your head.
The music starts. You can’t move. Everybody starts dancing. Jumping. The woman in front of you has stepped on the same spot of your right toe about 7 times now. You don’t know the songs. Everybody sings along. So do you. The show is great! The show is over. You realize that – again – you haven’t made it back home before 5 AM. You realize (a little bit relieved) that this was the last day of carnival. Wait! What just happened?