no hay palabra que defina lo vivido
08.02.2013 - 13.02.2013
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In the middle of the Corsódromo of Gualeguaychú (the capital of Argentinian carnaval, as the town is called), in a lycra-onesie carrying a giant fish, 30,000 people in the stands going crazy, some asking me for a photo with them, samba music blaring and rather sparingly dressed dancers behind and in front of me, I asked myself, 'how did I get here again?'
I arrived for the long carnival weekend in this usually tranquil town 4 hours North of Buenos Aires, staying with Gustavo and Marina and their two kids in a room they are renting out on AirBnB. The town was awash with visitors from all parts of Argentina - I did not notice one foreigner. In fact there were so many visitors that the authorities gave up on counting, the only thing that was certain was that visitors more than doubled the population of the town of 65,000 inhabitants. In some parts, such as the city square, make-shift campground were being set up.
The first night I ventured out to the carnival of the people - a street party, where the primary aim, apart from the really cool groups that passed through dancing (such as 'ancianos divertidos' - 'the happy elderly'), seemed to be to spray the next best stranger with as much foam as possible - I felt like the prime target.. The second night I went to the big carnival show and watched in the stands of the Corsódromo -the "stadium" along the 500meter long route- the huge production of 3 different carnival clubs. I met a fun group and we continued the festivities in the packed streets along the river. On Sunday I decided that a break would be healthy and ventured out to a Gaucho festival in the countryside and sampled some very nice cheese and chorizo.
On Monday, Marina asked me if I did not want to see the whole production of the carnival backstage and put me in touch with a friend of hers, Gata, who took me along with her daughters to the preparations of the carnival club, or rather "comparsa", Marí Marí. As I was chatting with some of the people, one of the main organizers of the club approached me and asked if I did not feel like participating. The person who usually carries one of the big fish of their production could not make it today... ahhhh sure, and before I knew what was happening, I was in an incredible onesie and got my make-up on.
There is really no way to describe the energy on the Corsódromo - 45 minutes, 500 meters - something I will never forget, on the list of the top ten crazy moments of my life.
We got back to the community center of the comparsa at 2 o'clock at night, a barbeque was started and beer served. I met incredible people that night. At 5 in the morning a group decided that it is about time to join the festivities by the river, where the party continued well beyond sunrise...
The carnival weekend ended in Argentinian style with Gustavo barbecuing a leg of lamb and watching the sunset.
what a weekend (of which the pictures are here) - thanks to all the unbelievably friendly people of Gualeguaychú!