É sua primeira vez no blog? Leia antes o post "Uma Introdução" (em português).*
I know, I know, they warned me not to go to the blocos alone. And I wasn’t; I thought I’d meet up with some friends midway through the Carmelitas. It’s Santa Teresa, all narrow little streets, and a traditional bloco to boot! How bad could it be, anyway?
Very, very bad, is the answer.
Carnaval is no joke if you’re a lone girl. At first I dodged the grabbing and the “oi gata”s and everything else, but things got worse as the bloco went on. I have never wanted a Y chromosome so badly. Making eye contact apparently is the same thing as singing, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” Soon I felt as though my mouth were under siege. The low point was probably when a freckled guy in a Wando wig started diving at my face and insisting amorously that I’d been looking at him – while I was trying to give directions to a friend over the phone. That’s what you call persistence. As I shielded my lips from Wando, I pondered wearing a Jason mask in all the next blocos.
But Don Juans aside, something seemed off about the bloco. When I got up the slope, I looked around to see if anyone looked as though they were having fun. In front of the bloco, people walked sort of aimlessly, squinting into the sun; on the sidewalks, people watched the masses go by with about the same excitement that I reserve for watching dough rise. I figured that I was in the wrong part of the bloco – I couldn’t hear the music at all, for one thing – so I waited on the side until the sound car got within striking distance and then sidestepped my way into the crowd.
An uninformed tourist at Carnaval might be forgiven for thinking that samba is danced by shoving. At least at the Carmelitas, I didn’t see anyone, least of all me, managing to samba. It was all pushing. As I was jostled from side to side and arms gently rammed into my back, I couldn’t help but wonder where everyone was going in such a hurry. Carnaval’s not a race, is it? Or maybe it is and nobody told me.
I allowed myself to be pushed to the sidelines and tried to get even closer to the sound car. As soon as I managed this, I wished that I hadn’t. The crowd was so hellishly packed and pushing so aggressively (repito: para onde?) that I was struggling constantly to stay on my feet. The saddest sight was a tourist couple, sunglasses perched on their heads and clutching a map of the city, trying to make their way against the crowd without being separated. The woman’s face was a mask of terror.What is the point? I kept thinking. Nobody seemed to be enjoying themselves. Not even Wando.
Eventually I gave up and started walking at a normal pace, soon outstripping the mass of the bloco and going down a side street to get a breath of fresh air. On the way I saw a group of sem-camisa trying to start a fight with a guy for pushing them (which, under the circumstances, is kind of like getting angry at a plant for photosynthesizing). “Pega ele!” a bystander in a Botafogo jersey started chanting. He had a mean glint in his eyes. I went from a normal pace into a double-step, not wanting to get in the way of a stray fist.
“I give up, I give up, I give up,” I said as I stumbled back into the piauí office. “You can’t hear the music at all, nobody dances, fortões keep trying to make out with you, and when you can hear the music it’s just the same damn song.” This was not met with much surprise. “Is Carnaval always this awful?” They talked me down, chided me for going alone and helped me redo my bloco itinerary. “There’s Carnaval for the people who actually like samba, and Carnaval for the people who want to have an experience,” said one writer sagely. Mainly I was just exhausted. I was tempted to curl up on the floor of the office in a pile of piauís and sleep there until Ash Wednesday.
I do hold onto something. As I was fleeing Santa Teresa, I caught sight of something that gave me hope for Carnaval. A truck was parked on a side street blaring sambas-enredo, and an old lady dressed all in pink was out on her terrace, sambaing blissfully and alone. She was the happiest person I saw all day.
* Flora voltou ao Rio de Janeiro para o Carnaval e manterá o blog até o último dia de folia