For those that don’t know, Carnaval is kind of like Mardi Gras. It is an event with Catholic roots, held forty-six days before Easter. Like Mardi Gras, it’s purpose is to get out all those nasty, sinny needs, like food – drink –sex, before you embark upon Lent. But when it comes to Carnaval in Brazil, think Mardi Gras times 100, taking place across the country.
Like many, many Brazilians, we are traveling for the Carnaval holiday (which lasts, unofficially, from Saturday to Wednesday). We won’t be in the streets dancing Samba this year (maybe next). Lucky for us, my father-in-law has a house in Petropolis, an area in the mountains about 40 mins outside of Rio de Janeiro, where we will spend Carnaval with family. My husband suggested that we leave early today to beat traffic. Many times I asked him, “Do you think it is really necessary to leave so early?”
Especially when he woke me up at 1am this morning so we could be on the road by 2am.
But wouldn’t you know it, an hour outside of Sao Paulo, we run into this:
Fifteen minutes later is was bumper to bumper. At 3am.
Thankfully, the heavy traffic cleared up once we passed all the exits for the Sao Paulo beaches. But there was way more cars on the road than I expected, even for a holiday. About an hour outside of Rio, we hit heavy traffic again. But it wasn’t as bad, I’m certain, as it probably was later in the day.
I guess being up at the crack of dawn with the other Brazilians was a good idea. At least during carnaval!