Carnaval is coming. I'm sure I don't need to explain what it is - even those who are newbies to Brasilian culture know about Carnaval. Part of the big deal here in Bahia is to go out with the Blocos or to watch the Trioelectricos go by from a Camarote. I generally don't go to either of these options; I am a pipoca girl. This year, however, I was gifted the key to enter the "exclusive" club. In order to get behind the ropes or gates of these choice places, you have to pay for it and wear the proper attire. Enter the abadá.
As far as I can tell, these things are generally made of the hottest, most uncomfortable fabric that exists, perhaps in order to put most of the R$200-R$2000 you put into acquiring one into the pockets of those who run the establishment. Often they come as a one-size-fits-all gigantic sleeveless sack like object, with holes cut somewhere for your arms, and another hole somewhere for your neck, sometimes with actual finished hems, sometimes something just sort of "hem like." They are ugly. And usually big. Any why not, as you will probably only wear it just this one day because of the amount of sweat, pee and other disgusting substances you will get all over it when you go out in to the biggest street party ever. Disposable clothing!
A big temporary business here is revamping these one-time-wear shirts into something one might actually want to put on your body (ignoring the kind of fabric it is, of course). I have no idea what the current going rate is, but I suspect it is around R$15-R$20 a shirt, depending on embellishments and what not. There are rules you have to follow to do it, I guess - some things cannot be removed or changed at all. Each bloco or camarote may have different levels of abadás that allow you to do different things, with distinguishing characteristics and colors for each day and level. Maids, nannies, and anyone who has a sewing machine at home may try to make some extra cash pre-Carnaval by "reformando abadás." Signs pop up all over the city with phone numbers offering this service.
Just for fun this year, I decided to try a few myself. They came out pretty cute in my opinion.
And if you're headed to Campo Grande on Tuesday, be sure to look for me on the top of the Trio;)