Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Carnival in Santa Cruz

Carnival is one of those times of the year (around the end of February or the beginning of March) that I (and plenty other people too) eagerly await.
Some people take this long holiday as an opportunity to go relax in a small cabin in the country with friends (like in that movie “The Evil Dead”), to travel, spend some time with the family or just unbend at home and sleep through the entire holiday.
Even if the aforementioned options are pretty appealing, the four days of wild fun that carnival in Santa Cruz (Bolivia) represent to me, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

The key to having an awesome time is, as pretty much always, to be in good company and to know where the fun is.

I still remember several years ago, when Carnival used to take place in the streets in the city center (it still does, but only to some extent) and everyone wandered in large groups of friends (“comparsas”), stopping from time to time while the band that followed the group (small brass bands playing traditional music) played a couple of tunes and everyone enjoyed a couple of beers.
In those days you pretty much just had to head downtown and there, set yourself up with a couple of beers (there were stands selling it all over the place) and then bump into everyone else.

Nowadays things have changed a little bit and mostly for security reasons the best part of carnival takes place in somewhat “private” parties… well, at least private for men, because women can usually go in and out on their own will, while men have to pay a rather large sum of money some weeks in advance in order to get inside, so men don’t have the freedom to move around and check out different parties, like girls do.
Yeah… it’s not the best example of gender equality, but I guess it works somehow.

Anyway, carnival in Santa Cruz starts on Saturday night with the “corso” which is (these days) like an endless parade of dancing beautiful girls and drunken people (well, I’m guessing it’s much more fun to take part of it than to watch it). You basically follow the hot dancing girl appointed by your comparsa and dance along or jump/walk along if you can’t dance (probably because of the enormous amounts of CH3-CH2-OH you consumed already) until you are completely worn out.
If you are still on your feet by the end of the “parade”, you can usually hit an after-party before you call it a night.

Then for the rest of the holiday, from Sunday to Tuesday, you can crash all morning and hit the parties that go on from 1 to 8 p.m. usually inside a parking lot, where a stage has been set, so there is popular music to dance to, plenty of beer and some food, all for free, or more accurately said, already paid for. After 8 p.m. the fun doesn't stop if you look hard enough, but then again you are probably better off saving your strength for the next day.

Carnival here involves playing with water and paint so by the end of the day you look like a rainbow or maybe a zombie and, as you must have already deducted, it also involves some heavy drinking, so people go wild after a while and everyone stops worrying and focuses on having a great time.
If you picked a good party/parking lot and are surrounded by friends and pretty girls (make that boys if you prefer), everyone with their minds set on having wicked good time, then you are all set.

These are some pictures I took during carnival. Not many since my cell phone died on me after it got soaking wet. Fortunately it came back to life after I left it to dry for a couple of days.

To sum it all up in one word: "Fun!".


  1. oye borracho degenerado, se te jodio el celular.. grave che... deberias gastar unos 150 pesos y tener de esos celulares desechable LG para ocasiones como esta cuando sabes que vas a quedar yema, definitavemente tus carnavales y celulares no se llevan muy bien...SLDS

  2. ah y jaimito.. en las fotos... donde estan las hembritas? jajajajaja