Well, we made a valiant attempt to celebrate Carnaval with the rest of the citizens of Rio Vermelho, but somehow it just never worked out...
We were told Carnaval ran on Saturday night and again on Monday night. We had big plans to enjoy the Saturday night festivities, but the stomach flu overrode those plans. While I sat on the couch and listened to the heartbeat of the Samba drum from off in the distance, I hoped I didn't come down with the same bug that seemed to have beset so many of the family.
Sunday was quiet with no scheduled Carnaval activities that we knew of. Instead, we took the kids on the 5-hour mini-cruise that Rich and I had enjoyed for our anniversary the previous week. The kids seemed to enjoy the entire day, dipping in and out of the ocean, reluctantly dancing on the boat deck, and seeing new sites. Upon our return to dock, we remained at Canasveiras Beach to enjoy the calm warm water for the evening. Rich was able to get in a beach soccer game and was reminded of the level of difficulty that comes from playing on sand. We could hear some faint Samba drums in the background, but their whereabouts eluded us.
Monday arrived and we ensured we were ready for the Carnaval party, complete with masks, bug spray, etc. We had asked a few people what would be happening that night and we were assured there would be a parade starting sometime around 8:30PM. We made our way to the main road for about that time, but couldn't spot any sign of an impending parade. We asked about a half dozen different people about what was happening that night and where, and received about a half dozen different replies. “No, there's no parade tonight.” “Yes, the parade starts here.” “Yes, the parade starts way up there and doesn't make it down to here.” “There's no parade but a party at the church yard.” and so on... We were beginning to think no one knew anything for sure, despite their insistence. After walking several kilometers in search for the silent parade, we finally gave up. Emily was still a bit weak after suffering from the stomach flu, and Jillian was simply exhausted from the walking combined with the time of night. We caught a bus back to our road and wandered home, sad we couldn't find the Carnaval in our little town.
On Tuesday, we took a bus to the main downtown area on the Island to do some sight seeing and some shopping. All around us there were signs of the previous nights' party... litter, empty bottles, people sleeping on benches, quiet grand stands, deserted food booths, etc. This appeared to have been more party than we had been looking for, but it would have been fun to observe in any case. We also learned that today was an official holiday, so none of the shops were open, and the buses did not run very frequently. We decided since there were no places to shop at, and no regular buses to take us to the sights we wanted to see, that we may as well head back home. We were striking out all over the place...
That night we settled in at home with a movie and some ice cream... something to drown our sorrows in. After tucking the kids into bed, we could faintly make out the deep tones of a Samba drum in the distance. Not interested in yet another fruitless quest to find the Carnaval festivities, we enjoyed the sounds from inside the living room again. To think we were so close to a once in a life time (for us) event, but just not quite able to make it... Part of me wished we were in Rio de Janeiro so we could REALLY take in Carnaval. The parades on TV showed thousands of people in amazing costumes dancing around in the streets. But with a young family, it didn't seem like a good idea. I guess when you choose to live in a quiet town, you choose to live the quiet life. I'm okay with that, too.