Rio de Janeiro Street Carnival 2014 - A Day at the Blocos...
|As mentioned elsewhere on this website,
street carnaval in Rio de Janeirois made up of numerous so called blocos.
A bloco is a street partyorganised by a suburb or carnival association.
Basically, the idea of a bloco is that people walk behind a float with music (from a live band or a tape). They usually walk around the block, hence the name bloco.
Below some in-depth information will be given about the course of a bloco event and how to celebrate
Carnaval in Rio de Janeiroas the Brazilians do!
The carnival season 2014 starts in 2013 on the 11th of November at 11:11 am and right from this time several street parties will be organised, culminating in four days of 24/7 blocos and spontaneous beach parties during the actual Carnaval (weekend of 2 March 2014).
The most important and largest blocos in Rio de Janeiro are Cordao do Bola Preta and Banda de Ipanema, both attended by tens of thousands of partygoers and are not to be missed.
|The organisation of a bloco is rather uncomplicated. All participants gather at a previously arranged meeting point.
Keep in mind a bloco usually starts one to two hours after the official starting-time. Many street vendors are around to supply beers, spirits and soft drinks.
The municipality of Rio de Janeiro grants permits to many people during Carnival, so ordinary citizens can earn an extra buck and bloco participants have easy access to fluids.
Street vendors should carry their permit visibly. There are less vendors of food, as they are all licensed and checked thoroughly by the authorities. However, you will find them everywhere along the route.
|The large national breweries sponsor the selling on the street by supplying the temporal hawkers with picnic coolers with logos of the particular beer brands.
Prices are fixed for the respective carnival event. Expect to pay at the 2014 Carnaval about 4 reais per beer but there are often discounts if you buy a few drinks at once.
Prices are clearly visible anyway. Beers and also the spirits are always sold in cans.
Beware, you may be offered home-distilled liquor (usually in plastic tubes). Do not buy this as you do not know the substance or percentage of alcohol.
When the bloco is finished, some people stay hanging around but many go to the next one. At this hour it is hard to get a taxi, so you may have to wait awhile. Nevertheless, do not get tempted to share a taxi with people you do not know. By the way, taxi drivers usually know where a particular bloco starts and will deliver you at the right spot.
At the end of the day, many people will go to the beach and join in the beach parties. Best you conclude your bloco day at Ipanema beach: buy a caipirinha and enjoy the people, the music and the sunset...
Participating in a bloco is safe, if you choose the right areas. Participants are in general respectful to foreigners, as long as you respect the party and the people. Brazilians are very proud of ‘their’ carnaval and expect this also from foreign visitors.
|Blocos are heavily policed affairs. However, in case you get in trouble (being harassed or ending up in a quarrel), always walk (or run) away.
In a parade no one can or will help you, including the police. Do not even think about defending your honour in an argument with a Brazilian in the streets. You do not know who you are dealing with, what he brought with him and who he brought with him (also street gang members participate in certain blocos...).
Best is to leave straight after the bloco has finished. People are drunk and the scene attracts also characters from the favelas who collect the used cans which they sell to the municipality.
Other things to keep in mind:
At a bloco during the day, you will be a few hours exposed to the scorching sun. Along the route there will be hardly any shade. Cover your head (bring an umbrella to be sure), use plenty of sun screen and bring an extra bottle of water (which tend to sell out quickly). Also keep in mind that under these circumstances alcohol often hits harder than usual.
As of 2012 the policy regarding peeing is that you can only do this at designated spots with chemical toilets along the bloco route. Queues will be long here. Nevertheless, if the police catch you peeing in the streets, you have to go to the police station where you will be kept a few hours before you get a fine: better avoid such a sudden end of your party...
They are always present at busy blocos and are especially preying on tourists. Leave all valuables in your hotel if possible. Keep money for the day in front pockets of your trousers or in your shoes.
In Brazil and especially Rio de Janeiro many guys use anabolic steroids which inflict unpredictable aggressive behaviour. These fiery types think they are very tough and are often after picking fights. You will recognize them immediately, many times bare chested with loud and drunk behaviour. Avoid them at all costs, if you do encounter them walk (or run) away, never defend your honour.
If a fight occurs close to where you are, also walk away as bystanders often get involved in the tension. And keep in mind police often walk away as well...
Schedule of all Blocos in Rio de Janeiro
More safety advice Carnaval