My new house isn’t really in a city or a quaint village; it’s more like a suburb. But, it’s in Portugal so there are five cafés, one bar and a tiny market and the all important ATM machine. Horses, goats and sheep graze the vacant lots where usually someone would come with a big rider mower. I like the Portuguese lawnmowers, so much cuter.
Chinicato is the place where the funeral is held for carnaval. We went of course, all dressed in fancy Mardi Gras beads, our brains fantasizing all kinds of weird things, (I was sort of scared). It was at the recreation center that has a café, police station, ATM, and the second Sunday of every month a big ole flea market.
Once we wandered in we realized we were the only estrangeiros in the place, it was pure Portuguese, we didn’t get any weird looks so we bellied up to the bar to catch up with our very happy neighbors. The atmosphere was very carnaval with kids and grownups in all sorts of costumes some pulled together and some you could see they spent a lot of time.
In the multi-purpose room next to the café, a band was playing, tables were set up with food and wine flowing. People were dancing the same kind of dance I see at festas since I’ve moved to Portugal. It is a type of a polka and the couples circle around the dance floor. It doesn’t look difficult, but I would need someone to show me the ropes and could really lead.
Then, all of a sudden a tiny little fella grabbed my hand and I was dancing!. I swear he only came up to my balloons, I’m 5”8’ tall and not a little girl, everyone was laughing except the old ladies in the chairs lining the wall. I was out there spinning like I was raised on Portuguese polka, we danced every song except when he grabbed the citizen and happily danced with him for a few spins. The citizen didn’t know what hit him.
Then we heard bells, saw a bishop and lots of incense, a coffin slowly moved through the crowd followed by keening mourners in black. It was gently placed on the stage where everyone could see it, then it opened, the man inside was a lesson to us all, showed us the tragedy of too much carnaval. He looked like he was run over by a beer truck.
The Bishop began his eulogy, which apparently was very funny if you knew portuguese, and didn’t stint with the holy water, blessing us generously to the point that all of my sins have slid have dripped off me.
As the casket was slowly removed and carnaval 2013 was over. All that was left was tomorrow’s hangover and a vow to have a better costume next year.