Monday, February 20, 2012

Here come the crazies

A trippy riddle:

I only come but once a year,
But you'll be dancing when I'm here.
For two fantastamazing weeks
The streets are drowned in costumed freaks.
The colors black and grey and blue
Have been replaced with a rainboo.
Parades and dancing til the fourth,
And when I'm gone, you'll cry of courth.
You're guaranteed to have a ball.
I also rhyme with Shmarnaval!

What am I?



Carnaval started this week in Nice, and it is truly fantastamazing. If you don't know what it is, I'll tell you. There's some history mumbo jumbo behind it dating back to the Middle Ages, but, basically, Carnaval is a 2-week long party leading up to Mardi Gras with parades and festivities and food and parties and flowers and everything extravagant and cartoony and indulgent and wholly un-French.

It's glorious.

I mean Nice really just waves that freak flag.

Buses lined the Promenade

Costumed children are the best kind of children.


(We will see more of them later.)

I met up with some friends, and we wandered around town for a bit then grabbed some dinner before the festivus.

They just sat there. Like nothing was weird.

Then came the party hour. The happy hour, if you will.

In the Nice Carnaval, there are 3 different parades: le Corso Carnavalesque (just a regular daytime parade), la Bataille de Fleurs (an exotic flowery parade with thousands of plants and flowers and floats and dancing and music), and le Corso Illuminé (the nighttime parade with lights and floats and a lot of awesome).

We were going to the nighttime one, le Corso Illuminé, la Fête des Lumières, the Festival of Lights!

This year's theme is "Roi des Sports" (The King of Sports). Probably because the Olympics are coming to London this summer. There were quite a few England-themed floats.

We paid 10€ apiece to stand in the middle of Place Masséna, in the MIDDLE of the parade! What I mean is, the floats encircled us, so we were literally inside the parade!

So much was right with this.

Some of the floats were amazing. Others were really neat. Others were probably crafted by an 8 year old with ADHD. But you live some place long enough, you learn not to judge.

And then the parade of, um . . . hypodermic needles?


Zinedine Zidane! And Obama . . . and the pope?

Dancing through the end

We salute you, Mr. Overnight-Carnaval-Parade-Clean-Up-Man.
Mr. Overnight-Carnaval-Parade-Clean-Up-Man!

But those were all pictures of how Carnaval looked. Here's a slightly different picture of how Carnaval felt.

My brain was a mush of lights, music, and silly string.
A winning combination.

All in all, it was the most fun I've had in Nice so far. Way to go Carnaval.
Way to freakin' go.

Amitiés :)

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