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Brazil

The carnival in Salvador is the biggest street party in the world, far eclipsing Rio with 2.2 MILLION people attending. It is colourful, loud and smelly but the people make it a real treat. I thought that with so many people, lots of cheap beer, hot weather and very cramped conditions people would start doing stupid things, but the worst offences we saw were public urination.



There were several areas doing different style events. In Campo Grande and Barra regions they had massive sound stages moving on trucks through the streets with bands on top and the whole street jumping in time to the music. The sound systems were so loud that, at one stage we had a news helicopter hover right over us and the noise from the music 100m away made the chopper inaudible. These sound stages are known as 'blocas', and you could buy tickets to parade around with your favourite group, so around the truck and for hundreds of metres either side there were thousands of people dancing along the street in a roped-off area.

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We preferred the festivities in Pelourinho, the historic old quarter of the city. Here carnival was celebrated much like it had been for decades, with bands, dancers and clowns dancing round the cobbled streets. In all, an amazing, safe, memorable time and thoroughly recommended.



From Salvador we headed North first to Belem at the mouth of the Amazon and then to Manaus in the heart of the Amazon. Tonight we are catching another bus, this time to Venezuela before flying to US on the 25th for a whistle stop tour before flying to Europe.

Latin America has been wonderful. So many highlights, so many memories, so many new friends. It isn't over yet, but our next email will be from the US or Europe - and that will be the beginning of a whole new adventure!