- Monday, just past noon, I'm in the sitting area—a common area with a couple sofas, beanbag chairs, and a coffee table—outside my room, listening to a Turkish girl, a German guy, a Canadian guy, and two Norwegian guys talk about the relationship of Germans and Turks, and the perception people have of Germans living in different places around the world, and people's perception of other nationalities. Also, one of the girls is trying to convince the other backpackers to visit Istanbul...a good place for backpacking, apparently.
- Sunday night, I left the hostel at 5:30 and returned at 6:30 Monday morning after shooting about 3,000 photos of the parades at the Sambodromo. It was incredible. Each of six groups takes eighty minutes to strut their stuff. This happens four nights in a row. The costumes and floats were ridiculous. I filled up both of my 16 GB memory cards part way through the last group.
- Friday night, Håkon, a Swede, Jesper, a Dane, and I sat in this same common area outside our room (my office) and talked until 4:30 in the morning comparing and contrasting the social systems of our three countries, and discussing the War on Terror, and various and sundry other subjects of interest. They are both bright and very nice. I was surprised to find out that Håkon is only 18 years old.
- Saturday afternoon, I went to a bloco, or street party, at 3:30. It started at 4:30 and ended around 7:30. There are many of these all over Rio every day of Carnaval. They consist of a giant truck which is full of speakers (picture a Budweiser commercial) with an MC and a few other people on top, a group of drummers which precedes the truck, and big crowd of revelers both in front of and behind the music. Two days later, I still haven't regained all of my hearing in my left ear. It was the loudest three hours of my life, and it was fun. This one started in Botafogo, where I'm staying, and ended at Copacabana.
- Ola, one of the three Norwegians in my room, has been going to Lapa at night recently to different parties. Last night he was robbed three times in twenty minutes...a total of around thirty bucks. Also, at the dance, he witnessed multiple fights, including one where a girl tripped and fell against a guy's leg who then started punching her and then went and got a board and started hitting her. She escaped. Too much fun for my blood. He just fell asleep (at around 9:00 AM) with his PDA in his hand and stylus in his mouth. I removed them both and set them on the floor on some of his clothes.
- I met a new hostel dweller named Lin. He's a counselor/teacher from Taiwan. He's not interested in people—he doesn't ask their name or where they're from. He just watches them to see what they do. That, he says, is what's important. He would rather see nature than people. He's traveling for several months, like many others I've met. He doesn't think Brazilian women are attractive.
- Stay tuned for audio clips of both the bloco I went to and Sunday night's Sambodromo performances.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Posted by Jay Williams at 10:14 AM