Rio-carnaval-2014

Carnaval do Lixo

Rio-carnaval-2014

 

Carnival 2014 is over! Phew! So how did it go? Well, I had a great time – it didn’t rain and we went to some really nice blocos on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I’m afraid that 3 days solid partying is about all I can manage nowadays. When Tuesday came around I found myself longing for a quiet day on the sofa!

As usual, I was snapping away with my camera, always on the lookout for some inventive fantasia or other fun sight. Here are some highlights:

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Carnaval do Lixo

But what will Rio Carnival 2014 be remembered for? Well many have dubbed it Carnaval do Lixo (Carnival of Rubbish) due to a strike by the Garis (street-sweepers). I have seen large piles of rubbish on the streets in the past (with so many people there simply isn’t room for all the rubbish to go in the trash cans) – but previously you would also see an army of orange-clad garis working through the day and night to clean up. By Tuesday and Wednesday it looked like we were in the middle of the apocalypse.

Drica-Queiroz

This is what happens when no one cleans the streets during carnival. Stinky and disgusting! Photo by Drica Queiroz.

 

I’m still trying to make up my mind on this strike. In general I’m inclined to by sympathetic to the garis – they have a tough job and it seems that a lot of people treat them with a lack of respect. But this strike was not sanctioned by the Gari union which was already in negotiations with the government to increase the salary and benefits package of its members. From the start of next month, Garis will be getting a starting package of R$1,224 per month, plus dental insurance, double pay on weekends and holidays, R$16 per day for lunch and a 13th, 14th and 15th salary at the end of the year!

With rain falling right now and the forecast saying it’s going to continue right through the weekend, everyone is now fearing an almighty (and revolting) mess of rubbish, sewage, flood water – not good. Looks like the rest of us will be returning to work (and down to earth) with a thud! I’ll leave you with a happier memory from when the sun was still shining and the carnival bands were playing.

 

 

6 replies
  1. marcos
    marcos says:

    There were about 400 garis who went on strike but the strike is illegal. The Rio’s town hall, I mean, the mayor, Eduardo Paes, fired all of them because of it. I fear that other group of workers will do a similar thing during the World Cup. I think that these big events are the showcase of their causes, which is wrong.

    Reply
    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      I think it’s pretty common for workers to strike during sensitive times – from what I remember the London Underground (metro) staff threaten a strike in the run-up to Christmas/New Year’s Eve almost every year! I guess it’s a pretty effective way of reminding everyone how valuable you are (though it could also be characterised as holding the city to ransom!

      I heard the 300 or 400 garis have now been given their jobs back as part of the deal to get them all back to work. Like I said, I think the garis are generally great – they do a really important job, especially seeing as so many Cariocas seem to thoughtlessly throw their trash on the ground. But I also think that strikes should be carried out by unions and in this case it wasn’t. So I say “Back to work Garis!” 😉

      Reply
  2. The Gritty Poet
    The Gritty Poet says:

    Love the Giraffe Girl, tell her to write me Tom. Carnival sucks, but don´t tell her I said that and make sure to portray me as an eager to support taxpayer financing of the arts kinda guy (the fact that she created her own costume – regardless of such incentives – should be dubbed).
    Anyway finally this sillyness is over, and as the people who actually make this country work say “O ano finalmente começa”.
    Btw when will Marmite Man make his debut in the Sambódromo? I see him playing a villain in the context of an enredo).

    Reply
    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Yeah, Giraffe girl was a cutey – I’ll put in a good word for you Gritty (fingers crossed she doesn’t read this blog or she’ll know the truth already 😉 ).

      Marmite Man… Now that is a brilliant idea. Maybe I’ll get an Australian friend over to be my arch-nemesis, Vegemite Man! 😀

      Reply
    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Me too! I often think I get a very positive view of carnival because of my insider information (via friends of Mrs Eat Rio) on which blocos to go to. I read a comment this year from an expat living in Rio who said she had stepped out of her house to see some guy attacking a woman and mountains of rubbish on the street and her conclusion was “I’m having nothing more to do with carnival”. While I can fully understand her reaction, her experience was completely at odds to mine – in 4 carnivals, I’ve never seen a single fight, a single crossed word, nothing bad, scary or negative apart from one time when I walked past a bloco in Ipanema once which was full of 18 year kids being drunk and aggressive.

      The conclusion I draw is that you should stay away from the rich, touristy areas like Ipanema and Leblon and concentrate on Centro, Santa Teresa, Catete, Gamboa, etc. Maybe next year I’ll put out a list of Eat Rio Recommended Blocos! 🙂

      Reply

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