Samba is one of the things that is synonymous with Brazil. Before I moved here I expected to see people dancing samba down the streets, on the bus and on tables in restaurants. Much to my disappointment, people don't just jump up on a table and burst into song and dance. We have been in Sao Paulo for almost 2 years and only tried to learn to samba a handful of times... admittedly quite drunk.
I think it's the carnaval in the air but we've had a good dose of samba this week. A friend came over for dinner and every other sentence he talked about 'making samba'... a great idea emitted a 'that's awesome, it's going to make samba!', talking about doing business together was 'let's make samba'! I think I need to learn the moves quick before I make any samba...
A friend from Boteco da Cesinha's invited us to join one of the practice sessions for Perola Negra. The schools spend all year preparing for the Sambadrome but the month before you can go and check out most schools on a Thursday or Sunday night. Perola Negra is located on Girassol in Vila Madalena down near the cemetery. The streets were heaving, people were wet from the thunderstorms, hot from dancing up and close and drinking from little carts all up and down the street. I saw a guy walking around with a shower curtain hung up around him - I wasn't sure if it was a special fantasia (a carnaval costume) or what, but I had a massive dejavu from the Hong Kong 7's on a Saturday night.. it looked like it was going to be a messy night for people (not us...).
The queue to get a R10 ticket was long but our friend managed to get us a ticket without having to wait and we shoved our way in. Firstly, I was dressed completely wrong - I had jeans and heels on with a big handbag to carry our big camera in... all the girls had little dresses or skirts on, and havaianas or trainers on with tiny little handbags. After an hour I was HOT and had sore feet (and the floor was pretty gross). It was loads of fun; it reminded me of a mix between a nightclub (with the lights on) and an evangelical church service. There was a guy leading from the front with the band and everyone knew all the words to the songs, and danced around in circles waving their hands in the air and at the same time, there were all these beautiful girls dancing samba (how DO they move their feet like that? I just can't do it!).
We decided to have a night out yesterday for Valentine's Day... we dropped by our favourite Boteca, and then decided to walk back down to a samba bar I had read about and had been dying to check out. We ended up doing a small bar crawl as found a few other botecas with live music which weren' around when we lived in VM - it was really nice to be sitting out with a cold chopp, and with no kids to run after!
We then went to O do Borogodó, a tiny little samba club down by the cemetery. R15 entry and you get a little piece of paper to mark all your drinks on. Super shabby-chic, a great mix of people of all different ages, types and heights... but I guess what they have in common is making samba. I again was wearing heels (why do I not learn?) but I love people watching and people samba, beautiful! I will definitely be back soon... with my havaianas! Highly recommend a visit if you are looking to make samba.