Saturday, January 22, 2011
Last weekend I went to my roommates' hometown of Almenara, Minas Gerais.
Almenara is a small city close to the border of Bahia with a population of roughly 36,000 people in a river valley located around 750 km from Belo Horizonte. The city is nestled in a cattle-raising community in rural MG that also produces coffee, coconuts, bananas and sugarcane. According to Wikipedia, "More than 3,000 people depended on agriculture for a living. Only 33 farms had tractors, which was a ratio of one tractor for 30 farms."
A smaller city in Brazil was sort of a change of pace for me. Until then, I had mostly visited major cities like Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Foz de Iguaço. Besides simple curiosity, however, I was also convinced by the fact that there would be a regionally famous Micareta, which is a Carnaval out-of-season.
The Micareta was rad, and has gotten me very excited for Carnaval in Rio this March. The basic setup was the following: three semi-trucks lined with speakers paraded up and down the main 2-3 km drag of the city, with some of the country's top headliners playing with their bands on top of them. People parade behind the 'trio eléctricos' and dance, make-out, and engage in general carnaval-esque debauchery until 6 in the morning.
The area is rural; that much is unmistakable. It's the kind of place where everyone in town knows each other, and keeps up on what's going on. That said, I met a ton of people over the weekend, everyone from my buddy's highschool physics teacher to uncles to old friends and strangers. Everyone was extremely friendly, and ready to enjoy themselves for the town's annual mega-event.
I was able to see some great acts including Claudia Leite, Psirico, Tatau, and more. Eventually I'll put up some youtube links to some videos...