now let me explain the kissing.
kissing at salvador is as standard as caipirinhas--and i don't mean kissing your partner. i mean kissing strangers. this came as a bit of a shock to me--yep, this shocked a new yorker.
the men would come up to you--"posso eu beijo-o." i would reply, "no falo portugese." then they would say, "english?" "sim." "you are very beautiful. can i kiss you?" for some of them, this was the only english they knew. if you said, "no," they would ask you why. if you had a boyfriend, well, unless he was right there in sight, that's not a good enough reason. "don't you want to experience a real brazilian kiss?" they were very persuasive, and aggressive. they didn't take subtle or nice let-downs, but kept trying. "kiss meee, kiss meeee."
the gandhys (according to the guys i talked to) were started in the south of brazil to protest racism and to promote peace. now, "gandhys believe in peace and love. especially love." if you see the blue beads in the picture above, they would exchange a string of beads for a kiss--and really would try to get a kiss out of every woman that walked by! meanwhile, they were dressed with turbans, long white outfits (white skirts and these tied white tops) and sandals. they were bizarre but funny.
kissing is this weird element of carnaval. people will just grab each other and make out. i couldn't believe it--suddenly, my friend is next to me, the next minute she is making out with some random short brazilian guy. and then he's gone and she's saying to me, "let's grab another caipie. mine's almost done."
what else could i do but the obvious--get another caipirinha. i didn't need an excuse, and if my friends want to celebrate or ignore a kiss, well, drink up!
author's note: i did not kiss this man in the photo. i had some random person take it. i did not even speak to him. being a gandhy, i knew he would happily pose. he didn't even try to kiss me--very un-gandhy-like. i also succeeded by leaving carnaval without kissing a single gandhy--not something many carnaval-goers could brag about!