I went camping Friday night with a Norwegian friend named Thor
on Pedra Bonita
we made it up the mountain by sunset which was spectacular
we ate dinner on the Rock and were approached by a big mountain mouse/rat
scared it away then when it tried to come back, really wanted that Brie cheese I guess
swing a stick at it and scared it some more
played guitar for awhile chill then went to sleep but was woken up suddenly 30 min later by Thor who heard some ppl's voices - it was 2:30 am
so apparently a 'galera,' group of ppl in Brazilian Portuguese, had arrived in the 'madrugada' (early morning hours)
they were talking and carrying on down the way
and we were deciding what to do
whether we should go up and join them, stay hidden and get some rest for a couple hours, or try to scare them
Seemingly, the decision was made up for us.. because as we were chatting, Thor heard something else
It was a funny little sound coming from his side of the tent
Then all of a sudden he freaked out, "Porra!"
"There's a hole in the tent!"
"A fucking hole in the tent.."
He showed me- from a safe distance. Sure enough, there was a significant, little hole in the tent right near his feet, and exactly by the plastic bag of snacks foods Thor had assembled for dinner.
Actually, the bag of snack foods had a hole in it too
We were freaked out.
We knew it was the brave, big rat-mouse from the mountain earlier that night
or a friend of his
Thor was nervous that it might still be in the tent
We surveyed every possible crevice of backpack and bag in the tent, in a nervous frenzy, provoking each other with the possibility that 'it might be in here hiding' It wasn't. We searched for other holes, weary to keep the light shining on the original hole, in case the rat tried any funny business
We were definitely not able to sleep at this point
so we got up, bringing the guitar, harmonica, and all of the food from the tent with us to go meet the mountain newcomers we'd heard arrive minutes earlier
And obviously we duct taped the gnarly hole up from both sides before departing. We went to the ledge, and by this time more people had arrived. To me it seemed a strange hour to arrive, but I guess it makes sense if you want to watch the sunrise, and possibly party some beforehand; it was Friday after all. We played some music, then met the others, ate some food, and socialized for a while. Then we decided to go back to try and get some shuteye before the sunrise. 2 hours had passed.
We did a thorough investigation of every corner of the tent outside and in, before getting in and laying down
It was clean
We laid down, almost dozed off
then we heard something
actually I think I saw a head in the doorway of the tent, because we'd forgotten to shut the outside portion of it
I was wide awake
I heard some scurrying and Thor heard a familiar sound around the duct tape. We made noise, tried to scare it away
Although we were obviously the ones scared
This rat was a literal terrorist
It had not attempted another break-in the entire two hours we were gone, and waited until we got back, still with no food- we 'accidentally' left the food at the camp of our new friends.
And it waited for us to get back and settle in before commencing it's malicious ratmouse shenanigans, de novo.
After this bought, we thought we officially scared him away, and managed to get 30 minutes of sleep before sunrise.
But the sunrise made it all worth it
However, I'm going to have an irrational fear any time I camp into the future
I thought I was safe in that sturdy little tent
But apparently not
Just think if a real threat wanted in
Be safe out there campers
and keep your food contained
although these animals seem to be able to smell through anything - it found the precise location of the food bag, most of which was still completely packaged, and was brave enough to chew right through the layers of plastic in between him and it
luckily Thor's foot was just to the other side
However, if you get a terrorist ratmouse, I'd have to say, from experience, you are shit out of luck.
Carnaval - The biggest 4-day party in the world.
So I had no idea what to expect going into Carnaval, because I did not do any research and I like to be surprised. But I definitely went in with guns loaded. And I'm exhausted. I came in with the impression that it was a festival that would last 4 days, much like the New Orleans counter part Mardi Gras, which I experienced last year. However, do not be fooled. Carnaval is not a 4-day long party.. It's actually a month long party (pre-Carnaval and post-Carnaval parties are abundant, especially the weeks leading up to the actual, registered dates), and even the toughest of party animals will have to give up or take breaks at some point.
Carnaval consists of Escolas da Samba (schools of Samba) and shows of some kind and Blocos (block parties)
I will be elaborating on the blocos because I did not go to any escolas da samba this time because they cost money, and the alternative, Blocos are free.
Blocos occur everywhere throughout the city. There should be a mobile app that tells you when and where they will occur. Blocos include music- a band, always accompanied by a large percussion section, and they are themed. Some blocos are huge, and you need to be careful of pickpockets, some are small and relatively underground/hipster in nature. But all blocos are a good time.
What you need to know:
Be prepared to sweat
Wear a costume.
Be prepared for someone to kiss your face
Prepare for heat.
Carnaval falls in February, which is summer in Brazil, and in Rio it gets hot! Triple digits on the Fahrenheit scale, +40 on the Celcius. Although some relief can be had thanks to the various vendors selling 'picoles' and 'sacoles' in the street (like popsickles or 'sacks' of frozen drink, respectively, usually containing alcohol). You can also almost always find someone selling cold beer and perhaps even more importantly water.
Wear sunblock if you are susceptible to burn, and make sure to use common sense wth the costume you choose. Which brings me to the next point.
Wear a costume.
Going in, I did not realize that Carnaval is like a counterpart to Halloween- well more like many consecutive Halloweens that last day and night. You are not required to wear a costume to enjoy Carnaval, but it makes it more fun. People will relate to you and it will spark conversations, especially if you are by yourself, and even if you do not speak the language. It may be overwhelming to imagine planning a different costume for each day.. but don't worry, it's ok to recycle costume- but at least try to have two or three.
Prepare to be kissed.
Besides the typical double kiss on the cheeks which is customary in greetings and departures in Carioca culture, people are extra friendly during Carnaval. If you catch eyes with someone you are attracted to, and the feeling is mutual, after a rather prolonged initial staredown and possibly a brief introduction, a makeout session may spontaneously ensue. It doesn't matter that you are in the middle of a bloco of possibly thousands of people, many of whom may be doing the same; in Carnaval, there is no shame for a little show of affection for new aquaintances. It's part of the allure of the festivities, and it is not uncommon for this firey exchange to come and go without ever knowing each others' names, so don't feel heartbroken when the pirate or cat of your dreams bids you fairwell to go to another bloco, just keep dancing and smiling and everthing will be "beleza."
Christ the Redeemer
Pedra da Gávea
Pedra do Telégrafo