Rio Olympics Creates Off-Season Carnival for Foreigners
Rio's nightlife assumed a Carnival off-season vibe for two weeks during the Olympic Games. The movement was so intense that, on several occasions, streets overrun with crowds had to be closed off to road traffic.
Similar to what normally takes place on Rio beaches, there was a type of informal separation of territories: while Brazilian tourists and local residents preferred the Olympic Boulevard, foreigners flocked to Lapa, the bohemian stronghold of the capital.
"A friend from Rio told us that, if we are in Rio, we have to visit Lapa," said the Argentine Felicitas Roldán, 26.
On the most crowded days, traffic was stopped on Mem de Sá, where the largest concentration of bars can be found, while thousands of people took to the asphalt, with caipirinha cups in their hands.
"Where I am from, this would never be allowed," the 40 year old American Cordell Fincher remarked with surprise. He lives in he state of Utah, and visited Lapa for the first time on Saturday night (13).
"These gringos drink like crazy," said a young man with a tray of cups, salt and a bottle of tequila in his hands. "I'm selling twice what I would sell on a normal day."
With an array of attractions, from themed houses to free shows, the Boulevard saw 150,000 people in one night. The streets around Mauá square, home to the main stage, were closed off to traffic and VLT service was disrupted during the periods with the greatest activity.
The large number of open air attractions, however, was a cause for complaint from the cultural programmers of the city, who saw small audiences in private parties during the Olympics.
The ability to party in the streets, however, was a hit among foreigners.
"It's cool to be among the people, feel the music and the rhythm," said 28 year old Alexandra McDonald from New Zealand, who was also surprised by the street celebrations.
Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ