Carnval is a week away but the debauchery here in Ipanema has already begun. I just had to fight my way through 3 blocks of scantily clad drunken party goers in order to find my friend on the beach.
I waited until well past 5 to leave the safety of the favela which meant that most of the drunks were leaving the beach and making their way inland towards the bars and cheap fast food stands that were posted up every couple of feet. I clutched my new cellphone with superhuman strength as as i weaved my way through groups of people selling beer and bottled water out of Styrofoam coolers. I never worry about getting robbed in or around the favela (Favela law extends a few blocks down and away from the favela. i.e. you cannot live in Cantagalo and go rob a store that is in Ipanema or Copacabana, you have to go another neighborhood Leblon is a fantastic option). But Copacabana + Ipanema during holidays is just asking for some thug from the north side to come roll through and snatch your shit up!
On top of worriying about the saftey of my cellphone, huge puddles of what appeared to be a cocktail of piss, beer, salt water and sand presented another obstacle. Luckily I recently broke my only pair of flip flops so my feet were protected by the pink New Balances that had been sent from my mom last year.
I hate carnaval and the only reason I left my house in the first place was because I hadn't seen my friend in so long.
The New year in Brazil doesnt start til after carnaval. Kids are released from school on summer break in December and don't return til Feb, at which point they go on vacation again for the week of carnaval and a little bit after as well.
and adults, well the adults don't need an excuse to lay down responsibilities and drink their problems away.
I recently read a blog about a girls travels in Ghana, she talked about how everyone was so caught up in "temporary happiness". Thats just it... Brazil is a beautiful but really fucked up place. Its hard to get anywhere here and damn near impossible to get ahead in life. So temporary happiness is all people have.
If your born in the favela. You will most likely be raised and die in the favela. You will most likely be lacking a suitable education and you'll never be given the opportunity to acquire a decent job. When your born in the favela you grind. Its the only way to survive. If your born int he favela (and you have the right mind set) the Carvanval is a way to get paid.
I hate it, but a lot of people I know are relying on it. Exploiting the drunk is a profitable endevour. Add gringos into the mix and you are looking at a potential fortune if you know how to play your cards right.
Thats what they call "maladragem" or street smarts. Maladragem Carioca or maladragem native to rio tends to be a more refined extreme form of savagery.
Either way, I hate the Carnaval and have every intention of spending the week hiding out in the Favela.