the midnight mudbath man

Olinda Travel Blog

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picture courtesy of richard ferguson

issues at the CS house. apparently karina (the main organizer, who has been MIA) organized breakfast lunch and dinner in olinda, which is silly; why would we want breakfast in olinda if we're sleeping in recife? beni is very apprehensive to make any command decisions on his own, like setting up a collecting pool to buy bread and cheese, and decides breakfast is jsut unfeasible. hungry and fe dup, juan richard and i head to find food on our own.

oh yeah, there's also apparently not enough water in the house. i had brought my towel and bathroom kit to recife, thinking i'd be taking more showers there, but there're about 40 people in the house sharing a 20 liter tank of water. that's .5 liters per person, and flushing is water-expensive. hmm.

picture courtesy of richard ferguson
...

we decide to go to olinda instead of checking out the gallo da madrugada, the biggest bloco in the world that is also supposed to be somewhat dangerous. i had set up a date for the gallo, but quite frankly i didn't really wanna see her again anyway, so all things worked out in the end (brazil is turning me into a BASTARD!).

basically as soon as i arrive in olinda, i'm attacked but a bloco covered in mud. turns out to about 7 or 8 people i know from the hostel are there, and they decided it was necessary to cover me in mud. having found other friends, i pull juan and richard over, who are promptly filthified as well. we march with the mud group (i think the bloco was called mangue beat) for a long time, having a lot of fun trying to stay dirty even though we sweat so much the already wet mud never really dries.

picture courtesy of richard ferguson
we break off from the bloco after awhile, wanting to see what else we find, and end up running into more of the same muddy group dancing in the back of a very boucny truck filled with sandy mud. we hop on re-up on mud (not the most advisable thing, since before it was a relatively clean clay and well....people had been dancing on this stuff) and dance until we're all kicked out of the truck.

juan and richard were crying for showers at this point, which was understandable because no girls wanted to kiss us dirty bastards. we hoofed it back to my apartment, took some showers, split an omelette for lunch, and kicked it with some music and beers for awhile. getting away form the party was really refreshing; although it's a bit of a walk, i'm glad my apartment isn't in the heart of the party. tiago stops by around the same time we were talking about heading back out, so we go pick up his friend felipe (a tourist from brasilia) and head back into the fray.

heading into quatro cantos, we decide to buy some local drinks. we buy a bottle of axe and a bottle of pau do indio, a drink i'd heard makes people a little crazy, to split among us (i think they're cachaca infused with roots and herbs and junk). everyone loves the axe, but no one wants the pau do indio. i had paid for the pau do indio, so i ended up taking about half the bottle (this is like the size of a small water bottle by the way) to my head before tiago stepped up and just threw it away. good thing to, because i got trashed! i don't remember alot of what happened in the subsequent hours, but i do remember sitting at a curb, about to pass out with my head in my hands, telling juan and richard, "wake me up when something happens."

thankfully, a little before dark we head back to my apartment to rest up. jaun and richard take naps while tiago and i goof around with my music. after a few hours we wake up the others to head out to eh "homem da meia noite," or midnight man bloco. the midnight man is the biggest bloco in olinda, the official openning of carnaval for the city. he is a gigantic boneco (carnaval doll carried on peoples shoulders, a typical tradition of olinda), the biggest in the city, who starts parading at midnight and marches for a WHILE. he parades slowly down the street while basically everyone in the vicinity follows or leads. we wait patiently by the sidelines until he comes, huge and welcoming in his gleaming white suit. as soon as he passes, we jump in behind and find ourselves in a moving mosh pit. at some point we run into another one of my friends form the hostel, and english girl. we spend most of the night fighitng to stay together.

we walk alont way as fights break out around us, reminding me of new years in salvador. i get groped plenty, front and back, almost get into a fight as a drunk who doesn't believe i'm brazilian grills me (thankfully he jsut ends up walking away mad and flicks me off). at one point someone also tried to pickpocket me, but i was wearing my bathing suit so i easily felt the attempt to go for my velcro. i grab his hand turn, yell at who i think it is ("TIRA SUA MAO DA MINHA CALSA, FILHO DO PUTA!!!!!).

we had wanted to go all the way till the end (we'd been walking for about 4 hours by now). tiago repeatedly advised that we were headed into a bad area, so we started to reconsider. out of nowhere, a stranger grabbed on of our shoulders and gave us the same advice. when strangers deal out random warnings, that's pretty significant.

tiago is kind enough to walk us back. to get juan and richard to the bus back to recife, tiago walks us through the favela. i point out to the english girl how i don't feel particularly threatened here, and juan laughing points at that a man we had just passed had tucked a gun into his pants when he saw us. thank gd we're with tiago. we end up running into zero problems, and tiago uses my translating abilities to flirt heavily with the english girl, which i facilitate because it's kinda funny: the man is a real cheeseball.

finally getting back to my apartment, i drink a ton of water, make myself some much needed pasta and eggs, and pas out.

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Olinda
photo by: Paulovic