Carnaval is now over and I am extremely tired from nearly two months of travelling and cannot wait to get back to Porto Alegre. However I have had the most amazing time and having carnaval at the end to finish it was fantastic. My hostel was full of lovely people - very crammed but positive outcome of meeting people from all over the world, lots of email swapping and promises to keep in contact. I'm sure most people will follow through.
By the time I arrived in Olinda, all the stages were up along with caipirhinia and food stools even before the official start of carnaval which was the 16th. Olinda was more about the day carnaval and Recife which borders Olinda was the place to head to for night time carnival going on until sunrise.
The amount of people in the streets was crazy, although I knew it would be crowded, I didn't expect it to be that bad. It's quite scary on the first day out but you eventually get used to it. I saw many percussion and wind bands (with the most amazing tubas!!) playing Olinda's special 'frevo' music which I now have stuck in my head. These few lines of notes get everyone following the parade jumping up and down doing the frevo dance. There are plenty of bands to follow round the city during the day and a concert stage in the city center with various acts to watch. All the carnavals of Brazil have their own special something and type of music. The theme here is huge dolls (one night one nearly fell on us which created a lot of girls screaming hysterically - including me!). Also everyone dresses up! I got into the spirit by buying a colourful glittery mask and borrowed some indian feathers another night.
I headed to Recife for the closing show which consisted of fireworks and a huge 200 man band orchestra blasting frevo music. It even started raining which didn't affect the crowds high spirits. I thought everyone started dancing more actually. I have plenty of pictures which I will load when I get back to Porto Alegre. I have so much more to say about Carnaval which I'll add with the photos as now the text seems like a big mush of descriptions of what I've seen, heard and experienced. I hope it makes a decent read so I'm going to leave it there and not overload the page.
A lot of people have asked how my portuguese is coming along. I thought I'd lose some of it travelling because I expected to meet mostly foreigners. But brazilians like to travel their own country as well so it's been a good mix. I love being able to mix with both crowds as you do get a divide in the hostel between south americans and people from the rest of the world that generally tend to speak english. Brazilians are quite impressed too meeting our group of travellers as they don't expect foreigners to speak portuguese. Very confidence boosting!