1. You’ve danced and sang at the top of your lungs to a samba-style Beatles cover band.
Brazilian music is fantastic and all, but how awesome is it to hit up a bloco where you can actually sing along? The rhythmic samba spin that Sargento Pimenta puts on those legendary songs can make a crowd of people from all over the world come together. Right now. Over me.
2. You managed to bargain cheap tickets to the Sambadrome by showing up at 2 am on a Monday.
Talk about fashionably late. Your last-minute planning skills led you to a far-away neighborhood with a wad of cash, trying to score a deal in the middle of the night. Didn’t your mother warn you about this?
3. You know what it feels like to be in a real life video game.
The Super Mario bloco let you play out a lifelong fantasy you never knew you had, to the tune of a brass band belting out hours of video game songs. And you definitely ran around at warp speed when the Star Power song came on.
4. You’ve been propositioned for a make-out session more times in one night than in your entire life combined.
Brazilians don’t mess around when it comes to hooking up. If you’re a girl at Carnival, you’ve no doubt had several guys grab you by the arm saying “Make out with me?” And if you’re a guy, you’ve definitely felt the pressure to exchange saliva with a girl only a few minutes (okay seconds) after saying hello, otherwise she’ll think you’re either gay or not interested.
5. The idea of an 8 am party starts to sound normal.
You came to Carnival with visions of partying the nights away and recovering on the sunny beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema all day. But it didn’t take long to realize that the best parties start early. Sun’s up, fun’s up.
6. You’ve made out with a guy dressed in drag.
Or if you have higher standards than I do, you’ve at least been hit on by one. Guys in skirts, wigs, and stuffed bras are everywhere at Carnival, and they’re on the prowl so there is no escaping them. Even if you’re a guy.
7. After snagging your bleacher seat at the parade, you watched the world’s best samba dancers strut down a half-mile runway in high heels and almost zero clothes.
And you subsequently thought “I really need to hit the gym.”
8. You spent Sunday morning sucking down frozen caipirinhas from plastic bags at Cordão do Boitatá.
With the homemade drinks, live music, dancing, and limbo, this family friendly Sunday Funday was worth every second of missed sleep. And since you woke up extra early for this yearly bloco, you were appropriately drunk before noon.
9. You’ve partied alongside 1 million+ people at Cordão da Bola Preta.
Wearing something white with black polka dots, you pushed your way through the crowd at Rio’s largest and oldest bloco to see for yourself if bigger is always better.
10. You’ve ended up half naked in the Atlantic Ocean after dark.
You went to the bloco in Leme. You’d been drinking, you had to pee, and the lines for the bathroom were atrocious. Wait, no, that’s not why you ditched your costume and ran for the waves. You were in the ocean because Rio is really hot during the summer, and after all those hours of partying and dancing you just needed to cool down. Right.
11. You’ve tried to meet up with people at a bloco and failed miserably.
“Meet just outside the Carioca station at noon.” “Meet at 7:30 at Pier 6 on Ipanema Beach.” Yeah, right. No one is ever on time during Carnival. Blocos get in the way of transportation, people in the group have to stop to eat or pee or grab a beer every ten steps, and there’s at least three hundred other people who’ve apparently arranged the same meeting spot. Plus, when you’re a traveler you’re most likely dealing with a bunch of people who don’t have cell phones. Good luck with that.
12. You, or someone you were with, definitely lost something.
Whether that was a phone, a camera, part of a costume, a tooth, or their dignity. Moral of the story, don’t take anything out that you can’t afford to lose (or just tie your camera to your bra and keep it in your cleavage like I did), and don’t drink so much that you fall down the Lapa steps and bust out a tooth.
13. The Rio For Partiers Guide saved your ass more than once.
Whether you were looking for info about Carnival, tips on where and what to eat, or how to avoid paying the gringo price on anything, this handy book served as your know-it-all partner in crime in Rio.
14. After leaving Rio you spent days recovering from your hangover.
You slept less, but drank, sweat, and partied more than you thought you were capable of. The gallons of cachaça you guzzled left you with heartburn that lasted for a week (or maybe that was just me because I’m old). But the worst part of the post-Carnival hangover is how bad you miss Rio and how much you ache to go back.
This trip was sponsored in part by the Rio for Partiers Guidebook — www.rioforpartiers.com.