Authentic Experience Some tourists come to see Carnival in Rio because they think it's the "authentic" Brazilian cultural experience. Seeing Rio outside of the Carnival season is just as authentic, if not more so. I think the nightlife is far better in Buenos Aires and New York, but aside from that, Rio is an incredibly cosmopolitan city with museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, shows, outdoor activities, and cultural centers. Though the work culture isn't like Sao Paulo, people work long hours and go about their daily lives without partying daily. At the street parties blocos , which are the second great pride of Rio's Carnival, revelers dress up in costumes or put on silly hats or accessories, but most certainly do not go half naked. Though nudity is not nearly as widespread at Rio's Carnival than people think, it is unfortunately one of the most commonly projected images of Carnival, Rio, and Brazil to the rest of the world.
There's a lot more to Rio than its nightlife. It didn't for me. Carnival is, after all, a social pressure valve, especially in Rio. I think the nightlife is far better in Buenos Aires and New York, but aside from that, Rio is an incredibly cosmopolitan city with museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, shows, outdoor activities, and cultural centers. Though a number of women in the parade at the Sambodrome wear very little clothing, the rest of the participants wear elaborate, heavy costumes, and those are the dancers and musicians that make up the bulk of the parade. Though it's internationally one of the most famous manifestations of Brazilian culture, there are so many other celebrations and representations of Brazilian culture. The blocos were an interesting cultural experience, but after I had a claustrophobia-induced panic attack at one of them, I wasn't so crazy about them. But I digress, because the real point of this post is aimed at my gringo readers who haven't yet experienced Rio's Carnival, as well as the hordes of horny Googlers accessing my blogs in hopes of finding naked pictures of Carnival queens and videos of sex in the streets of Rio. But I have bad news for you: The same rules apply--there is no special sex loophole for Carnival. Since people assume that Rio is a party city, it attracts some gringos to visit or move here. For more on the misconception of linking nudity to sexuality, see my post on it here. Plus, though the music is great, it's the same short song played over and over and over again and I find it a little tedious after awhile. I do regret not going to any samba school rehearsals this year though; they're held indoors and are a lot of fun, where people seem more interested in dancing than in getting wasted. My experience at the Sambodrome was amazing, an incredible opportunity, one I felt no need to repeat this year. I did the whole Rio experience last year with a bunch of blocos, performing in the Children's Parade, and going to two nights at the Sambodrome one night of the Special Groups, the other the Champion's Parade. The only instance of semi-public promiscuity I've heard about is at the Scala club's tacky Carnival parties, but I'm not sure how bad it really is. I have a very vivid imagination. Though nudity is not nearly as widespread at Rio's Carnival than people think, it is unfortunately one of the most commonly projected images of Carnival, Rio, and Brazil to the rest of the world. At the street parties blocos , which are the second great pride of Rio's Carnival, revelers dress up in costumes or put on silly hats or accessories, but most certainly do not go half naked. Lifestyle Some gringos believe that Rio is like Carnival all year long. You're more likely to find men in drag than women in thongs at the blocos. Few people work with the exception of restaurants, hotels, malls, etc , the city slows down, and many Cariocas leave the city, while the tourists pour in. There's a great deal of mystique and a wealth of misinformation when it comes to Carnival, so I'd like to clear up a few misconceptions. Another factor this year has been Eli, who was very sick for most of the week and isn't quite better yet, so I've been taking care of him and helping him take it easy. It's not that I don't like Carnival; I'm completely fascinated by it, but this year I prefer to take a step back and watch it from the sidelines. There is no sex in the Sambodrome parade, there is no sex on the streets during the blocos, and there is no sex in public in general there are, however, copious amounts of men peeing in public.
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