Carnival started at 9.00am with a five minute long barrage of fireworks from either side of one of the bridges in the Old Town. We decided to wait for the party to get started and headed into town after lunch.

Hat, cool bag and sunnies.....ready for Carnival Recife!

Hat, cool bag and sunnies…..ready for Carnival Recife!

The streets were not too crowded to begin with, but by the time the parade arrived, we were packed like sardines! The significance of the giant figures was lost on us, but they are all about 15 ft tall and it must  be unbelievably hot for the ‘legs’.

The walking parade

The walking parade

The floats followed on……Music on every float and energetic performances from everyone aboard.

Historical relevance ?? Conquistadors and native resistance??

Historical relevance ?? Conquistadors and native resistance??

Native resistance.

Native resistance.

After the floats came a succession of purpose built lorries carrying bands and singers, dancers and ‘partyers’. Unfortunately we didn’t know the singers, but by the reaction of the crowd, they were very famous Brazilian stars! The volume from the massive speakers made our chests vibrate as the lorries passed.

Packed crowds on the street and on the lorry!

Packed crowds on the street and on the lorry!

One big 'boom box'!

One big ‘boom box’!

Moving through the crowds was chaotic. I held onto Marcus as he plotted a course through the throng. The best way we found to make progress was to dance a conga behind others going our way. We eventually got back to the parade route and found a concrete block for me to stand on and were greeted by our new friends! Mary, Crazy and Jo-Crazy…….or at least that’s what their names sounded like to us amidst all the noise!

Our three Amigos

Our three Amigos

They were incredibly kind, offering us drinks from their cool box, sharing their food with us (and Mary’s wig and glasses) and generally looking after us.

Mr Carnival!

Mr Carnival!

They spoke no English and our Portuguese is still poor, so with lots of signing and nodding they told us they were moving on to the São Antao area for the evening and took us with them.
After meeting their friends and watching a couple of drag acts on the stage, we realised we were in the gay area and felt so much safer as it started to get dark.
A few beers for Marcus and a few dances for me and it was time to leave and try to find a taxi. We said our goodbyes to everyone, but Mary and Jo-Crazy insisted on coming with us to make sure we were safe.
After an hour of walking through the streets, they got us to where there was some traffic……we hadn’t realised that all the roads are blocked off during the evenings. Finding an empty taxi was the next challenge, but luck was on our side and we were dispatched by our new friends into the care of the taxi driver.

Our first day of Carnival completed…..

Impressions………
Hot, crowded, street food stalls, good humoured crowd, generous friendly people, ice cold drinks, loud music, samba rhythms, sweaty bodies, lots of dancing, everyone there to enjoy themselves.

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