CARNAVAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WELP apologies for the very long, but also highly anticipated CARNIVAL POST. I AM (barely) ALIVE after about 2 straight weeks of partying.. if i never drink a beer or caiphrinia or take another shot of cachaça in my life (ehrm.. more like next week), i will be a happy person. Carnaval was everything i could hope for plus 4857439857439853475394583 times more amazing than i imagined... I spent the first half of Carnaval in Salvador, which is in the northeastern part of Brazil, and the second half in Rio.. which is FUCKING RIO(!!!!!!!!!)  When i was deciding where to spend Carnaval, people kept telling me "visit Rio" "no Salvador is better" yadayadayada so I thought... "what the hellll.. i'll go to both cus #YOLO" Apparently the main difference is that in Rio, Carnaval is all about the, huge organized parades are led by samba schools while in Salvador, they have organized groups parading through streets, and public interacts directly with them. Salvador's Caranaval is also influenced by African-Brazilian culture (for those who don't know.. Brazil has the largest amount of people of African descent. But Rio also has a ton of bloccos as well, though it's more spread throughout the city. 

I really and truly had the time of my life because the Brasileros (Brazilians) are some of the kindest and most welcoming people on the planet... they're always super smiley, very down to earth, really chatty, and alwayss moving/dancing... sort of like me but much more rhythmic. i really feel like we're kindered spirits and that i've found my people!!... and despite being unable to speak the same language (which is becoming a huge frustration cus there's so much i want to say!!!) but ) smiles and beijos (kisses) are universal 

SoOOo to backtrack a bitt.. my trip in Brazil started at Iguazu Falls which was incredibly stunning. I've never felt more itsy bitsy and powerless in my entiiiire life than riding a boat into the falls.. which was less scary than the horrendous plane ride i had from Buenos Aires to Iguazu.. we flew through a storm, got all the way to Iguazu, only to return back to buneos Aires because we couldn't land. I was sitting next to a priest who was crossing himself, two little boys who were traveling as unaccompained minors and a lady who had a panic attack.. needless to say i was trying to keep my composure, but it was terribly hard. When we got back to bueno Aires,  we waited at the airport till 2:30AM, got another flight, arrived at Iguazu at around 530 but since there were no cabs to the city, we waited around for another 40 minutes and since I coudn't check in until 2:30PM, i went straight to the falls like a zombiee.. felt a bit like walking dead but man, as soon as i got there, i was wide awake beacuse everything was sososo amazing. 

anywhose, luckily my flight to Salvador, where I began Carnaval, was much smoother and as soon as I got there, i was ready to partaaaaayy.. and it just never. frikiin. stopped.

Salvador was greeeeatttt...  i met some awesome people which was inevitable sinceee almost 4 million people celebrate throughout 25 kilometers (16 mi) of streets, avenues, and squares. The direct organization of the party involves the participation of over 100,000 people and Salvador receives an average of over 800,000 visitors (thanks WIKIPEDIA!) including some super nice Israelis that made me shashuka after i was talking about how much i loooove it  :) and some beautiful, awesome, amazingly fun English chicas, Zahra, Charlotte and Sally, and an American chicaaaa, Paulina,  who also quit her job and left NYC to travel (!!!!)  some really entertaining English dudes, Nick & Josh, and some other nice guys including an Argentinian (Lucas), German (Paul), Dutchman (Peter) and Aussies(Andrew and Robert) .. It was always a big fun party dancing in Barra, which is the main circuit for the blocos in Salvador. In case you were wondering how Carnivalll in Salvador works, see diagram below drawn by Nick & Josh of how the bloccos (parades) work including where the gringos stand/dance and where the extremely buff men try and scoop up women.. like a literal scoop.

We also hung out around the main square where there were little blocos that would walk by and play music and dance. Again, it's amazing Brazilians seriously don't speak, they sing. And they dance and dance and dance which explains why they're all so fucking fit and sexxxxyyy.  

We chilled at a beach on my last day cus we needed some downtime which was really niiice. definitely a nice way to end my stay in Salvador, even though i ended up getting drunk right before my 3AM flight to Rio cus the guys at the bar that I frequented saw me with my bags and insisted I take a massive shot of cachaça with themm :) nothing like being drunk right before you're supposed to flyyy. 

anywayyyy.. since i had a late flight to Rio, i was exhausted by the time i arrived.. from both the flight and partying in Salvador.. I took a nap at the hostel and was awoken by a rambunctious crowd at around 9AM.. they were heading to a bloco and asked if I wanted to join so like I tropper I came along though i was definitely riding the struggle bus. the best blocos in Rio start EARLY and go all the way until the WEeEEEEEeEe hours of the night. and they dont stop moving. seriously.. dont know how they do it!!

One of the most beautiful and spectacular things about celebrating Carnaval in Rio is the Sambadrome. The Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí is the purpose-built stadium located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, designed specifically to host the annual parade of Samba Schools during Rio CarnivalEach samba school has a preset amount of time (90 minutes) to parade from one end of the Sambadrome to the other with all its thousands of dancers, its drum section, and a number of floats. Each school has its own unique qualities according to its own traditions. I wasn't planning to go at first, since the tickets were already sold out by the time i got there, but luckily one girl at my hostel was talking about how she was trying to sell some so I bought one off of her..guess it was just fate!!! And I'm so happy I did because it was one of my funnest nights there.. I spent 7 hours in awe watching the elaborate floats pass by along with thousands of dancers who were dressed in extraordinary costumes march down the stadium... i know it sounds like u would get bored after a while but man.. the energy was INCREDIBLE. I've never experienced ANYTHING like it.  I met some locals who ended up letting me sneak into the front of the stands and danced with me the whole entire niightt.. this included a grandmother and a little boy who were wildly cheering for their favorite Samba school, Portela. We didn't stop dancing till 530 and i was POOPEDDD.. 

My favorite float of the night #livingthedrea

A video posted by Andrea Wangsanata (@wangsanata) on

On top of meeting new people, I ended seeing some old friends, including Carrie, a girl I went to high school with who was also in town for Carnaval; Nick, Putu and Josh, who I met in Salvador; and Edgar, my amazingly awesome couchsurfing host in coimbra who is probably the chillest and most charming person i've ever met (well.. he is Brazilian!) He's been taking me around to all the funnest blocos, including a funk one that turned into a huge street party that lasted all night long; introducing me to all his friends, and making sure i have the best time ever in Rio (not so hard since it's such an amazingly fun city!)  We ended up going to an amazing concert where Jorge Ben Jor, a popular Brazilian musician who fuses samba, funk, rock, and bossa nova, played an extraordinary set. SO FRIKIN GOOD (again so much more dancing!!) 

É hoje! De tanto não aguentar mais tudo isso a gente resolveu expandir a festa e chamar os amigos do TEKINÃO TECHNOBLOCO 2016 pra não aguentar mais essa noite com a gente! A gente não aguenta mais e não perde por esperar! NAO AGUENTO MAIS FANFARRA HOJE A PARTIR DAS 22H NO IFCS!

Posted by Ataque Brasil on Friday, February 12, 2016

Now that Carnaval is officially over and people are back at work and reality.. i've been chillen and beach bumming, trying to recover a bit of my sanity. The best part about everything is that as soon as Carnaval offically ended, I got my Australian work visa approved which worked our perfectly because I gave myself up to Carnaval to not worry about "real life"... and now  i have a bit more clarity into my future, though I plan on staying in Brazil for at least another 2 months since it's so massive and my visa cost me $160 so GOTTA MAKE IT COUNT!!!