If the planet earth was a giant, dancing, naked body, Rio would be its throbbing penis. I’ve never felt so much sexiness in the air in one place! Entering Colombia was different in that, compared to the russet-toned, wrinkled faces of the stocky Andean people in Bolivia and Peru, it finally felt like the real Latin America. Suddenly there were tall, bronzed or black and dazzlingly handsome humans everywhere. But it’s nothing compared to Rio in Brazil. Most people here don’t even wear clothes.
I just lost a bunch of my friends, including JP, who I first met in Medellin, Kelly, Ron, Koulla and Russ, in a heaving huddle the size of a Wembley Stadium evacuation. I think the point at which I found myself in the armpit of a transvestite in a peacock headdress adorned with plastic penises was kind of the final straw, especially as his/her pit was a little bit fuzzy and more than a little bit sweaty. I don’t mind when people don’t wear clothes, I just mind when they rub their bits against me in a juice bar.
I was just forced to abandon ship and flee in fear, so I’m now holed up in my apartment waiting for the noise to stop. You have no idea how crazy it is on the streets right now. One million people in one place is not normal, no matter how prepared Rio claims to be a year ahead of the 2014 Olympics and World Cup. And apparently, I’ve not seen the half of it.
‘I went to a blocko last year with two million people,’ Ron told me the other day as we all sat sipping said caipirinhas outside a restaurant called Arab in Copacabana.
‘How did you cope?’ I asked. Blockos are street parties held all over Rio during Carnival. I find these things suffocating.
‘Oh, I’d just arrived so I wheeled my suitcase right through it and danced as I went,’ she said. Ron’s hardcore, if I haven’t mentioned. Personally, having spent the last month or so in quiet Colombian havens, most of the time here in Rio I’m walking around with eyes wide as saucers, not sure whether to be enchanted or petrified…
Read more about the Rio carnival experience in Latinalicious – The South America Diaries, out December 01. Order it now on Amazon!