Before I get into the post, I ask your forgiveness for these less than crisp photos. It was a challenge to capture images from the stands, under bright lights, at night, and while performers were walking and dancing along the parade route.
We attended on Saturday night (2 March), looking forward to arriving early to avoid the long lines of cars trying to get in from the one road that went by the Corsódromo. Tickets indicated that doors opened at 6; show to begin at 9. We figured we’d arrive around 6:30 and have time to tour the grounds, imagining that there would be food and craft vendors (not). Our taxi driver said that 6:30 arrival was early; he also recommended that since we’d be there early, there was a good chance that we could get a close up view of the participants in all of their fine regalia and of the floats. Don’t be intimidated, he said. Just tell them you’re from the US.
Upon arrival at the gate, we were turned away and not only that, but told gates would not open until 8:45! After conferring with our taxista, we had him take us to a mall to hang out whilst time passed. An hour passed fairly quickly and uneventfully. Then we stopped to look at wine in one of the carts that line mall concourses. I had a delightful conversation in Spanish with one vendor, while Charlie and the other vendor conversed in English. Gustavo told me that it would be a good idea to eat before going to Carnival to avoid the long lines there and recommended a place at the mall called Sherwood. It had the best cuts of beef, cooked to perfection, and very generous, too generous portions.
By now of course, we are arriving late to carnival and we do get stuck in traffic, but it moved fairly quickly.
We should have bought our tickets on-line as the best stand locations were sold out. We bought Preferential tickets, but were still a ways down the concourse. The performers had steely stamina, though and provided a good show for the entire length of the route, which was between a quarter to a half mile long. The energy of the evening was electric from the folks watching, to the performers. The music blared, and repeated throughout the long night, though periodically some comparsa would inject something different. At times, the music was live, with musicians and singers on a float, their stage high above the crowd. I don’t have a photo of that, but below are a few more photos to provide an ideal of te flash, the creativity, and the beauty of the costumes.
The backsides are equally beautiful – costume and other wise. But I don’t have any good photos of the otherwise backsides. You know of what I speak.
There was often some drama played out at participants went by.
A close-up to get an idea of what the women are walking in.
I only saw one man in heels – er, kinky boots? And I gotta say, I saw him stumble once. Never saw a woman stumble in that whole long escapade of paraders. Man, I look at the photo below and see relatively few smiles. I feel like I had one plastered on my face the entire time.
We stayed until the end at around 6 in the morning, and joined the crowd in walking to the main drag. Many were taking the buses – they went by, just packed, not a hair’s width between them and sounding like the party was continuing. We walked about a mile, passing many others trying to get a cab, before we could procure one. It was a beautiful walk, watching the sky lighten, and it felt good to stretch the legs after dancing on the bleachers all night.
Remember I mentioned a foam spray that was so popular at the Fiesta de Queso in Tafí? It’s called nieve, really does look like snow, and was in abundance here, too. Kids have such a good time trying to spray one another down as much as possible. Others just spray it up into air.
All the costumes are hand made, hand stitched; some by the participant and some pay to have it made. A comparsa is a troupe or a club; members decide together on the theme for the year. People have their favorite comparsas, the one they think is best. We heard that the best ones come at the end, but, I don’t know that I have the ability to discern. They were all, with maybe one or two exceptions, over-the-top brilliant. Look at this one, which came down the pike fairly early in the whole 9 hours (as far as I recall). This guy walked and did tricks and road it upside down. Spectacular!
At the end of Carnival, some costumes are put in storage; some are taken apart to be recycled for use on next year’s creation; some are donated to the Chamame & Carnival Museum in Corrientes. Chamame is the local music.
Arrived home (so many homes in the past few months and 3 more to come!) around 7, had yogurt and fruit, brushed my teeth, and headed to bed for a several hours.
I awoke yesterday morning feeling lethargic and with an upset stomach. It lasted all day, into the night, and is hanging on today. Last night I couldn’t do anything but listen to a book on Audible and go to bed early. Hence the lateness of this post.
The posting is extra late now (Today is the 6th and we traveled all day from Corrientes to Iguazú Falls) because I had trouble saving it. Sometimes WordPress gets particular about how long a post has gone unpublished. At least that seems to be the issue. My tummy is finally feeling better; this morning was dicey.
It’s raining buckets here in Puerto Iguazú. Hoping for some sun tomorrow and/or Friday for best viewing of the cataratas or falls. We are told they are so much more immense than Niagara. Eleanor Roosevelt is purported to have said, upon viewing them, “Oh, poor Niagara.” We’ll let you know!
Leaving on Saturday for Santa Fe for a few nights on our return to BsAs. Last days coming up! I’m already feeling nostalgic for places we’ve been and people we’ve met. Ties can be made so easily; and just as easily untied, let go. We have found the Argentine people to be so very friendly and happy to engage in conversation, to be helpful, to be genuinely happy to meet us. This is as true in a big city as it is in the smaller ones. I would happily return to Argentina to visit those parts unexplored.
I had better post or this will be delayed again!
Loving and missing you and knowing you are here with me in a fashion. Paula
No apologies needed for the pictures. They’re fantastic! Thanks.
What fun Beautiful pictures. Safe travels home😘
What a night!