Tuesday, March 1, 2011


My recent-roommates Carolina and Mariana stopped by on Friday night to have a few drinks and see my new place. They reminded me of my obligation to attend a carnavelesco bloquinho with them--the only good part about Carnaval, they said. Carnavalesco is "pre-carnaval"--an esquenta, a warm-up.

Let me explain. Carnaval is this coming weekend, but in the weeks leading up to it, there are a series of blocos, or the diminuitive, bloquinhos. Essentially, a bloco is a street party. Each one (and there are many, all over the city) has a band and a sambinha, a little theme song with an easy-to-learn refrain, written for the year. The party, at least the one I went to, is free. You just show up (costumed, if you like), grab a beer, learn the chorus, and dance in the street. Eventually, the sound truck departs the staging area and weaves its way through the neighborhood with hundreds of happy partygoers chanting, dancing and, of course, drinking, in tow.

I had never been to a bloco, but if Carol and Mari insisted, what other excuse did I need to get silly on a Sunday afternoon?

I had received an email from French Henri, a newcomer to São Paulo, who found a social group I started on Facebook and emailed me: he needed a break from his temporary hotel digs and a little socialization. I invited him to join us. I met Henri in front of Carol and Mari's place about 11:30 and we did a quick get-to-know-you before Neida and the others showed up. It was sunny and we were off to festejar!

The bloco we went to was called Cordão Carnavalesco Confraria do Pasmado (CCCP). I won't translate the sambinha lyrics, posted at the end, because you'd really have to know the culture and some current politics to appreciate it fully, but suffice it to say it was, in part, a playful homage to the election of Tiririca and it was hilarious!

Yara, Neida e Carol

We arrive at the meeting spot and crack the first Skol. The sun is shining and heaps of people, in the party mood, are arriving. I learn the words to the sambinha. I loosen up an shake it a little. Tudo tá ótimo.

Two beers later it starts to rain, like every Sampa afternoon of late. No worries.

The rain stops, the party continues.

The rain returns in force.

Mari, Henri, Carol, Neida e eu


I find Waldo. Again.

Eventually, giving up on the party, I said tchau to my friends and made my way home. I slipped and fell twice on the way--the bruises from which will, no doubt, make my swim coach, Evaldo, raise one eyebrow tomorrow.

Even better, while crossing an intersection, I lost one havaiana in a curbside river suitable for whitewater rafting, and walked the rest of the way with one flip-flop.

Ahhh, My Life In, umm, Havaiana --still good.

(Totally) Paulistinha

P.S. I must include this shot of Morumbi Stadium (with photo credit to Folha de São Paulo--check out that photo gallery, it's worth it), where the rain wreaked havoc and delayed the crosstown classic game São Paulo vs. Palmeiras.

(For the benefit of my Portuguese-speaking friends, as letras da sambinha CCCP 2011:)
Confraria e o abestado: dois injustiçados

Vai rolar a baixaria
Ao estilo confraria
Não tem propina
Nem cueca com dinheiro
Agora é lei
É Carnaval o ano inteiro

Já tivemos coronel
Anão, mensaleiro e bacharel
Finalmente o povo está representado
A confraria elegeu um deputado

O povo sabe
O povo grita
Pior que tá não fica
O povo sabe
O povo grita
Pior que tá não fica