There´s a bloco of giant monsters: the `Ambassadors from hell´ accompanyed by an old man in a chair – roped firmly to the back of a pick-up – who waves regally at the crowds. Another group has the requisite girls and feathers, and minimal costumes. It´s enthusiastic but a bit amateurish compared to what we saw in Olinda where the drummers were finely honed, the singers pitch perfect and the dancers truly spectacular. There generally seems to be a lot less live music here and less variety in what´s being performed.
Encountering each other in the narrow streets, the groups negotiate and banter their way past each other, while we struggle to dance on treacherous flag stones, still muddy from high tide in the darkened backstreets of the town.
There were a plethora of men in badly-assembled drag, often accompanied by bemused girlfriends and displaying a good selection of Brazil´s tropical fruit stuffed down their blouse fronts.
The best of the blocos appeared past midnight on Monday. A group of what appeared to be farm workers simply stood outside the historic centre of Parati; two singers, accompanied by an amplified ukele, sang over a small group of drummers.