The ... biggest ... party ... in ... the ... world

Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog

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The Antarctic 6 feat Mel. From top left Caroline, Eugene, Sally, Chris, Seb, Me and Morris
Technically Salvador is the 2nd largest carnival in the world behind Rio.  What makes it the biggest party in the world is that in Rio you spectate and in Salvador it's all about participation; and participate we did!

After a rather large night with Maggie, I managed to negotiate my way to Rio airport, find my flight and discover i was sat in-front of annoying child 1. Arrive in Sao Paulo, still drunk. Managed to negotiate my way to my flight once again to find annoying child 2 behind me. I arrive in Salvador rather broken and tired but glad to find my hostel is a gorgeous little boutique place with a balcony, friendly staff and a comfy bed. Rest at last.

The rest of the week wasn't like that.
A taster of Carnaval!
Salvador carnival is an experience of a lifetime with the celebrations lasting for one week. There are 'blocos' which are monster trucks with monster sound systems that you follow through one of three street circuits which each last around 8km and take 8 hours to complete.  There are also 'Camarotes' which are essentially VIP private parties with all inclusive food and drink and viewing platforms to watch the blocos go past. To join either of these you need an 'Agada' or t-shirt which allows you into the area and can cost up to 300GBP. The free alternative is to be "popcorn' where you dance and jump around the sides of the blocos in the crowd amongst 2 million other people.  You are called popcorn as there are so many people jumping around it looks like corn popping. It's a marathon of epic proportions.
The Pelo circuit - more authentic and family orientated

I joined forces with some friends i met in Patagonia as Raila and the girls were a day behind me and we decided to get ourselves sorted. We picked two blocos, one on each of the main circuits following Brasilian sound systems and artists including Tomate and Timbalada who are legendary carnival acts, and one camarote. What follows is a tale involving many fruit caprioskas, blisters and dancing. There are so many stories and tales but unfortunately not many photos as it's not safe enough to take a camera out with you.

Between The Antarctic 6 feat. Mel and Raila, Justin, Eva and Sophie we had such a great few days and i managed to drag my tired body out to dance every day. Each circuit has its own merits and I was happy to get a chance to look at all aspects of Carnaval.  The Odina circuit is the glitzy tourist circuit where we spent most of our time along with the other gringos.  The Campo Grande circuit is pretty much purely Brasilian, you see no other white people on the streets or in the blocos so we were quite a novelty on our day circuyit there.  The camarote was also a great experience as you could watch the fun from above and get a great birdseye view of the festvities whilst being served cocktails and champagne. 

Highlights include following Bob Sinclair and Chiclete Com Banana as popcorn and of course the nights we had our own shirts and were part of blocos. The atmosphere here swept you up in it's franticness and you couldn't help but dance and smile along to the music, even when you were exhausted. Despite the stories and warnings i was fortunate not to experience any kind of trouble and we always felt safe which made the experience all the better. The locals were in the main really friendly and happy to see us and taught us dance moves, explained some of the acts and warned us when the crazy running tracks came on.  I might be a little bruised and battered but i loved every second of the last week. Sing along if you know the words/ Do dah dah, do do do dah dah. Revalation, revelation, revala tion tion tion. Carnaval 2010 .... legendary!

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The Antarctic 6 feat Mel.  From to…
The Antarctic 6 feat Mel. From t…
A taster of Carnaval!
A taster of Carnaval!
The Pelo circuit - more authentic …
The Pelo circuit - more authentic…
Salvador da Bahia Hostels review
Located in Barra on the hill, this is a great boutique hostel. It's pretty new and has a great view over the beach, friendly staff and great beds and… read entire review