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Carnaval de Buenos Aires

This is a long weekend for the porteños – Monday and Tuesdayoff to say goodbye to the Carnival. Since beginning of February, there have been dozens of street parties across Buenos Aires. Pretty much every neighbourhood puts on a show in their local plaza. Local teenagers are drafted into learn the drums and dance moves and the grandmothers sew up their costumes. Large stages are set up and bands booked to play carnival music. Choripan (Argentine hot-dog) stands provide food whilst vendors sell canned foam to kids who spray it on anyone in their periphery!

So when friends on Tripadvisor sent over details of the local carnival’s, we picked out the one in the neighbouring barrio – Collegiales – and trotted up last night with a bottle of rose and two plastic cups in my handbag. We heard the sound before we saw the plaza and knew we were headed in the right direction. This particular plaza has some amazing graffiti all around the walls and the stage lights really showed it off. A stage was set up with

Foam sprays

five microphones and people were beginning to gather. A sound system played S American rock and vendors flaunted their wares to the dozens of kids who arrived with their parents.

The first hour was for the kids – from small ones to young teenagers, persuaded their parents or broke their piggy banks to buy foam spray in cans in order to douse others in it. Never seen this anywhere before so was surprised because surely foam coming out of an aerosol can held and sprayed a centimetre away from someone’s face can’t be good for them? What do I know anyway – the children did all seem to be having a great time!

A few minutes later, several dozen people dressed up with their faces painted started to gather up a little distance away from the stage. We headed up there to find two groups lining up – one with mostly men was a group of drummers, the other, mostly girls, a group of dancers. A frisson ran through the crowds as they learned that the parade is about to begin.

With great fanfare from the presenter on the stage, the lights were on the band 40 metres or so away. The drumming started, the children squealed and the parade was on its way.

It was a fantastic time and we will go again tonight, to another barrio, to celebrate the last of the carnival shows!

  1. March 13, 2011 at 15:58

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