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Salvador de Bahia

But I thought I was in Salvador and not Rio de Janeiro? This Brazilian city would not let Rio have all the glamour of Carnaval to itself, and its own celebration attracts over one million visitors per year! Of course, it serves up the tastes of Carnaval in a distinctly Bahian flavor as opposed to one of the Carioca. Carnaval 2007 begins on Thursday, February 15th and Tuesday February 20th, although the party always continues into the morning of Ash Wednesday.

The parade of the Trio Eletricos
This is the first main part of the Bahian Carnaval celebration: a highly decorated, booming semi trailer that is astoundingly loaded with an unfathomable amount of watts of power for the sound equipment that projects the music of the band that is playing all the way on top of this contraption! It follows two routes: close to the city center following Campo Grande- the city park- to Praca Castro Alves. The second route runs from Barra (where there are many hotels) to Ondina.

Such trios are the Salvador versions of the blocos. You can pay and join any of them, and you will receive a costume and the privilege to dance and parade within the velvet ropes of the bloco/trio of your choice. Those who boogie outside of the velvet ropes though alongside the trios are referred to as pipoca- popcorn!

The Barracas
This is the second major component of Carnaval in Salvador. These are similar to the trios for some even have their own sound systems, and they form endless parties among the streets of Salvador.

2 Main Routes and 1 side-man
The Campo Grande to Praca Castro Alves is the oldest Salvador Carnival path, and the official beginning of Carnaval in Salvador takes place at Campo Grande. All trios are started and judged here, and this slow-paced route takes about 6 hours to complete.

2 Main Routes and 1 side-man
Barra to Ondina
This route was added in the 90's and is now considered more favorable, and progresses a bit faster, taking about 4 hours to complete. The more famous and bigger blocos parade around this route.

This route does not have any trios parading within it, and is instead filled with marching bands, families and kids.

Safety during Carnaval in Salvador
With thousands upon thousands of people crowding the streets with music, drinks and songs in their hearts there are of course precautions that need to be followed for those that harbor not-so-innocent intentions. In reality, foreigners should probably stay away from the Carnaval in Salvador, and go to the safer and better organized Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.

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