After Copiapó my bad luck with holidays in big cities continues with Antofagasta. And because by now I really need to buy a new chain, I am taking two day rest in this desert city. But this isn't bad at all -- I have a chance to witness a big carnival.
This is mostly a lazy day in a hostel. As the internet is exceptionally good, I am half-writing blog posts and half modifying code of my blog. And in the meantime chat with hostel staff which is composed of volunteers. Add a bit of good Chilean wine and it is clear that I enjoy this day.
Originally I wanted to depart today but as all the bike shops are closed due to the holiday, I will need to wait until tomorrow morning. I continue with my blog until the afternoon. Then I hear that a big something is going to happen. And surely enough, a hour or two later I can hear a big ruckuss from the streets. As I am still working on the blog, I leave it be for the while. But people from the hostel who checked the event out said it is worth it so I am quickly finishing my work and hitting the streets.
In the streets I follow the ruckuss until I spot the main carnival procession. And I must say I am impressed. There are lots of dancers in costumes. It soon becomes very clear that they belong to different "clubs/teams" -- every club has its own style of outfit. And its own choreography. Which is actually quite amazing -- surely, this isn't a music-video style of perfection but I can't really comprehend how much these people needed to train all the movements that they move in unison. One thing is for sure though -- these people really used a lot of their time to prepare the costumes and train the choreography. And I am pretty sure something like this just couldn't happen is Slovakia where people would surely just complain about everything instead of creating something.
Of course, the carnival wouldn't do without musicians. This is where all the ruckuss comes from. Trumpets are a tiny fish here. If you really are up to something, then you have a tube. Or even better, a drum at least half a size of you.
The dancing outfits vary from simple, almost nun-like costumes through something which could well be from a circus into winged angels and chinese regiments. All of them are prepared with a high attention to the detail -- ladies even have the same type of earrings.
The carnival comes in a long procession. On the main plaza there is one place with a small tribune and lots of people. As far as I can tell, this is where all important stuff happens. I guess there is some kind of judges scoring each club. This is also where a TV gets its material. There is even a quadcopter flying above, probably taking videos for some channel. Other parts of the procession are probably just showing off to the public.
After about an hour of looking at dancers, I can't believe they still can move. Dancing all the time is a hard workout and some people take it very seriously. No wonder that I can see sweat glistening at many faces.
To sum up, carnival in Antofagasta was really a wonderfull experience. While it probably can't compare to famous Brazilian carnivals, it is still worth seeing. The most eye-opening part for me was the apparent amount of time and work these people put into the event. And they all seemed to be happy (at least until they weren't totally tired).