It’s not that I’m sooo young, but in my neighborhood while growing up there wasn’t much of carnival spirit. Yes, in February suddenly lots of water games appear in the shops, and some funny kid chase people in the streets with them, but that was it.
So when that time of the year comes, I’m only excited about the holidays (who isn’t?).
And that’s why, at the beginning of last March, we arrive at La Pedrera, one of the beaches in the Uruguayan department of Rocha, we didn’t relate the dates to anything, or be prepared for the event.
We arrive early at Montevideo port, take a taxi (don’t do that, what an expensive mistake) to Tres Cruces bus terminal, and from there the immediate destination was La Pedrera.
That was a Sunday, which in its condition of first day of a vacation, reset our mental calendars (or erased them actually), so we weren’t aware that the next day, and the one after that, were carnival holidays. Very smoothly we searched for a camping, and started accommodating in our new (and temporary) country.
With no warning, Monday came and lots of people began to appear in the dirt roads… all armed with water toys, water bottles, buckets! No one was safe from the daring attackers. After a fail attempt to us of a little boy, we keep walking, with our plan to visit the town.
The cheerful people throw water from their balconies! With all kind of containers. In the corners you could see people running with their buckets, choosing their next victims./p>
And then… the disguised ones started showing up. And the thing, became serious.
What a party! Everybody was totally committed to it. Afterwards we found out that a lot of young people goes to La Pedrera those days to join the celebration, so the carnival became the biggest event in town.
By night we already were soaked with the atmosphere and the mood of the locals, with sea and sand. And in the main street, a dirt street that runs between bars and ends up at the beach, THE party took place. Lights, music, people, costumes, aerosol cans of artificial foam and snow, colors, smell of foods. Everybody was walking through the street, dancing, and choosing a place to have dinner.
It was a really fun and different night, and I loved bumping into that.
The next day we had another surprise: most of the party people from yesterday didn’t come home; instead, they slept on the grass (tall and wet grass) in the camping, and in the cars, on the side of the road with sleeping bags. And plenty of garbage everywhere. There was also quite police presence, ’cause of course so much people together celebrating can lead to a less happy situation.
And refrain yourself from taking a bus to Punta del Diablo, on that same day, because all those sleeping bodies will wake up and try to return to their homes… anyway they can, with or without ticket, with or without reserved seat. The second trip so far wasn’t very comfortable, but the week was just beginning.