I know I know, carnival is over – just accept it and move on… Well I’m not ready to move on! Back in 2012 I told you about my best moment of the carnival that year (just an entire carnival bloco invading the airport – if you haven’t seen it then don’t miss the video). This year’s carnival moment was perhaps not quite so dramatic, but as an example of the spirit of Rio carnival, it’s hard to beat.
One thing I’m struck by each year at carnival is how often I see the same people at multiple blocos. One of us will nudge the other and go “Look, it’s those Google Maps Markers again” or “Check it out! It’s that girl in the monkey suit from yesterday!”. Well one team I saw both during carnival 2012 and also at several blocos this year were noticeable because of a sign they held: Ceará Livre!:
I never got a chance to speak to the Ceará Livre people, so I didn’t get their story (assuming they have one). What I do know is that they have good taste in blocos because I saw them at pretty much every one that I attended! Every time I saw the Ceará Livre sign, I also saw something else: 5 guys carrying a hot tub – a real hot tub.
They would carry the hot tub along and then every so often they would stop in the middle of the crowd and let one or two people in. The hot tub would then be lifted up above the crowd and the ‘lucky’ participants would be stars of the show for a minute or two. I’m not sure if this was part of the plan from the start, but I noticed that these rides got more and more bumpy, until the people in the tub were having to work hard to keep their balance, somewhat like a rodeo ride! Here’s a video of a couple of girls who seem pretty happy with their moment of stardom [you may want to turn your volume down a bit for this one, it is a bit intense]:
In case you’re wondering, the crowd are chanting Beija! Beija! (Kiss! Kiss!).
View full screen on Vimeo.
I like the way that these guys used used a little imagination to improvise some crowd participation entertainment. I thought that was pretty cool, but it wasn’t my carnival moment of 2013.
My favourite carnival moment came on Sunday, courtesy of the Care Bears. I had noticed this group of 5 or 6 guys a couple of times as the bloco made its way through Centro in the hot sunshine. Then, when the bloco slowed, they fanned out and started to clear a space in the middle of the packed crowd. What were they doing?
Friends, they were preparing a Care Bear Skip-off Arena!
Care Bear Skip-off
Once they had cleared some space, two of them took the long rainbow banner that they had been carrying and started to twist it from either end. Before long they had a good length of rainbow rope. As the bears positioned themselves, I finally saw their plan. There would be skipping duels! I’m not familiar with the exact song/chant, but as you can see in the video, this looks like a playground game – contestants who survive long enough have to touch the floor at one point. Whoever messes up first is eliminated.
Points to look out for: check out the dedication of the girl with the feather at the 1 minute mark. So much concentration that her beer goes everywhere. And don’t miss the ending – a grudge-match between the purple bear (I believe his name was Tender-Heart Bear) and the girl in the yellow skirt. The ecstatic Care Bear celebration at the end really makes me smile – now that is carnival!
[once again, just make sure you don’t have the sound too loud or this may be a bit painful]: