February is the Carnival Time

February is a Carnival time in Buenos Aires. Not the Brazilian type, not that big and colourful (however I’m told in a town a few hours up north in Misiones you’d find the full deal, feather costumes and all).

Buenos Aires does the carnival differently. Many barrios have their own separate events at various times during the month, and you can see small groups practicing their routines in parks and plazas now and then. And then at night they come together to create the spirit of the carnival in their suburbs, with music and dances. You’d have to look up the city government site to find what and where though.

I came across an Almagro reincarnation of the carnival one Saturday night. We walked out of the tango bar we had our dinner at and just walked towards the noise and the smoke and the music that was coming from the main avenue, Corrientes.

I was thinking to myself, wow, I’m about to witness a carnival in Latin America. We turn the corner and what I see: groups of kids and teenagers running around spraying each other with foam;  people randomly walk around; choripan stands smoking meat; and a small stage with a few dancers wiggling along to the drums, looking exhausted in their costumes clearly not made for the hot weather… The salsa-samba music was good though! My friend and me joined an older not sober lady dancing at the stage fence, and had our share of good times - hot nights tend to bring it out in you!

But frankly, the foam action was the best part. It seems every public carnival function has specifically arranged supplies of this stuff sold at the events. You literally see blocks and blocks of the spray bottles, selling out like hot cakes! The rules of the game are as old as the world - boys and girls run around screaming, spraying each other. A part of me wanted to join in, but I needn’t have bothered - you can’t avoid getting some foam on you anyways if you are in the crowd :)

So basically, have no expectations of Buenos Aires carnival - and you might even end up having a good time :)