É sua primeira vez no blog? Leia antes o post "Uma Introdução" (em português).*
Now that the last blocos have petered out, I guess we can all reset the Carnaval countdown clocks and accept that we’re midway through Lent. On the bus uptown on Ash Wednesday, I was looking for signs that some sort of air of responsibility might have descended on Rio once more. Would people be hanging their heads, squinting hungover and repentant against the sun? Would everyone still be glittery? But things looked disappointingly normal. A few more people than usual on the beach, maybe; there was still confetti in the cracks in the cobblestones despite the street sweepers’ best efforts; and I spotted one feathered hat stuck impressively high in a tree. Apart from that, business as usual. Some people on the beach, others jogging around the Lagoa, people wearing sundresses and shorts and tank tops or sweating in suits like they do any sun-drunk business day of the week.
Because business as usual in Rio de Janeiro, it occurred to me, is pretty damn Carnavalesque already. I’m not saying that the city is all sunshine and joy; I did live here for half a year, after all, and it takes a healthy dose of willful ignorance to buy into the tourist brochure. But, as cities go, Rio needs to let its hair down much, much less than some others. Detroit could really use some more fun. Berlin could use some more fun. London. Most of Europe, for that matter. Even Buenos Aires, with its crowds of besuited porteños irritated by the comparsas. “Son realmente muy alegres los brasileros,” said my taxi driver on the way back from the airport. “Tenemos que ser así.” And then he started singing that Charly Garcia song. “La alegría no es sólo brasilera, no, mi amor.”
Rio is the only city carnavalesca enough to throw a party like its Carnaval, and that’s precisely why it doesn’t really need Carnaval. Again, this isn’t to say that life is just easier in Rio. People complain that the city doesn't have enough culture, that it's not serious enough, that it's not organized; you don't ever hear that Rio doesn't know how to relax. Same thing with New Orleans and Mardi Gras. When was the last time you heard a New Orleanian saying that the city could really use a chance to cut loose? On the other hand, there are plenty of people who could use a break during Carnaval, and they're the ones who don't get it. The sanitation workers, the supermarket clerks, the bus drivers all work harder than ever and are all massively inconvenienced. It’s beautifully perverse, when you think about it.
In any case, necessary or not, Carnaval has left us. I’m back in Buenos Aires now, on the second leg of study abroad before my final year at Princeton; and I miss Rio, the horizon, the extra kiss on the cheek, more than I can possibly say. I’ll admit that Río de la Plata has a decadent, somber charm to it. But if you’re walking around Recoleta and you see “LA ALEGRIA NO ES SOLO BRASILERA” scrawled on some wall in red spray paint, I swear to God it wasn’t me.
* Flora voltou para Buenos Aires e o blog questões estrangeiras termina aqui