"Oh, look...the world famous Brazilian carnival is on. We obviously need to go and see that. It's in EVERY bucket list you will ever read. We NEED to go!"; I instructed The Husband.
He had no choice but to agree.
In typical Brazilian fashion buying tickets online was not an option with foreign bank cards. We had to physically go and buy them from the venue. Why make it easy for foreign visitors when you can make it difficult?
The journey involved taking the bus, underground and finally a mini bus to the other side of town where Sambodromo (stadium built specially for carnival and samba schools parade ) was located.
The underground was light and airy and somewhat superior in design to the London one.
Other than regular seats, there were also priority seats....the usual...preggo ladies, disabled people, elderly people and...my favourite, obese people. Obese people's seat was quite a bit wider than your regular seat and to sit in it you had to have an mbi of at least 40. I wondered who checks if your mbi is just so. I couldn't help thinking the fat seat is a novel idea, but also that maybe, just maybe they can also go easy on them Kentucky Fried Chickens.
Since all the regular seats were taken, I sat in one of the priority seats.
Not for long!
At the next station the door opened, the people started pushing and shoving and a semi-old dude started yelling at me before he even entered the carriage: "Yo, yo, yo.....I want that seat. Can I have it? It's a priority." Like a young, lithe gazelle he swiftly and expertly manoeuvred towards me and I had no choice but to get up.
I was gonna get up anyway, but I wasn't quite prepared for all the yelling, shoving and demands for the priority seat. I perceived later that this behaviour was the norm in Brazil. So unlike London where, even if you're in later stages of pregnancy, you will stoically stand on your feet, just casually shooting occasional evils towards the person pretending to be asleep in the priority seat. You will never, ever, under no circumstance ask for the aforementioned seat, not even if your life depended on it.
After what seemed like an eternity, we made it to station where Sambodromo was located.
It was a bustling station teeming with people.
With the corner of my eye I spied some Gringos.
(Brazilians helpfully call every foreigner gringo. Unless you're Asian. Then they will call you Japa even if you happen to be Chinese or Korean.)
The gringos I spied where miles away, but I could still tell they're foreigners. I don't quite know what it was that set my gringo radar off...maybe their general sweaty disposition in a hot, tropical climate or the shoes that were just a smidgen better than those that the rest of the crowd at the station were sporting.
"Do I look like a gringo?"; I asked The Husband.
Without hesitation and all a bit too quickly for my liking he said: "Yes!"
"What???? WHY???? I don't want to look like a gringo!!!"
"But you're pale."; he said unflinching.
"What????? But I went to two sunbed sessions prior to coming here. This is me looking TANNED!"
We continued walking to Sambodromo in silence.
Tickets for carnival varied in price.
"I'm getting the front row tickets. I don't want regular seats."; I announced.
"Sweetie, I'm sure you can see just as well from the balcony seats. Maybe even better."; The Husband was worried for his wallet.
Considering that the tickets cost the equivalent of a 2-3 days worth of top festival extravaganza back in the UK, I could hardly blame him.
Still..."No. I want FRONT ROW seats. This is a once in a lifetime kind of event. I didn't come all this way to sit with Joe Bloggs at the back. Uh-hum. No Sir. Just No."
We bought front row tickets.
This better be worth it.