I’m currently sitting in Tampa, Fl watching the Miami Heat game reflecting on my photos and experience in Brazil, you didn’t know I could multitask? Carnival is an experience that I think everyone should have. There are many people that were telling me to be extremely careful and I would have been but it seemed that the entire world was converging on the city of Salvador for Carnival. When there are hoards of people outside at even 5 and 6 in the morning you are much less likely to get jacked.
One of the first things that I noticed in Brazil is the lack of influence from American culture. In today’s global economy it seems you can’t get away from America and its culture no matter where you are in the world. Brazil, population wise, is home to roughly 200 million people which makes a cultural powerhouse. It was so refreshing to be in a country where I not only knew the language, but where I saw the limited affect of American culture. The remnants I mainly saw were Ford’s being driven on the street and the common English words here and there, “stop and shop” at a gas station for example. I do admit that Subway hit the spot at 4am after 12 hours of non stop dancing.
The actual people of Brazil are very friendly and open. They are all very social and love to interact with each other. I don’t know if this is from it actual being Carnival or not but it seemed everyone was outside hanging out. I asked the people I was staying with and they said that people generally interact out on the street. One of the things that blew my mind was the fact that they didn’t use A/C. Now this may be just in the city of Salvador, I would love to have someone that has been to Rio or Sao Paolo confirm this, hotels and major business are excluded of course. The weather in the city is hot and humid and they rely on breezes to cool off. The days during Carnival were 80 degrees plus but the nights did cool off nicely. I am an A/C baby and I sweat more than a chewbacca in the desert so A/C for me is a usually a must.
One thing that hit me really hard is the poverty in the country. Brazil has so many incredible resources, in the 1970’s they decided to require all their cars to run on ethanol and now are an oil exporter instead of an oil importer. They have so much potential in the world stage and could be a powerhouse in terms of their economy but the difference in income levels between the people is astonishing and is what holds the country back (not to mention corruption). This really was very surprising to me, even in a city like Salvador. I am going to address this in another post, Disparity in Brazil.
The people are very different throughout the country as well; they have very dark Brazilians, blondes with blue and green eyes, and everything in-between including the purple Brazilians I met in Carnival (surely do to Skol – Brazilian beer of choice). The further north that you travel the darker the people get and the further south you go the lighter they get. It was an overall interesting experience look out for more posts on Carnival soon!