Everyone knows that Rio is famous for its Carnaval, which happens every year around end of February and beginning of March. The official carnival holiday goes for 4 days from Friday to the Monday, though block parties go on all week long. But this post is not about the carnaval activities, but rather the very practical matter of the best way to go to the bathroom in order to enjoy carnaval to the max. As with any large event where the whole city and its beaches are overrun with tens of thousands of (inebriated and rowdy) people for four days, going to the bathroom can be a painful and tricky process.
First of all, remember to bring toilet paper. Then, you have the following options, and their pros and cons:
1. Using the public bathroom
Pros: It’s free, and legal
Cons: Long lines, but more importantly, disgusting is an understatement. Our Brazilian friend took one look at the restroom, and wouldn’t stop apologizing to us for half an hour, saying “I am so sorry you had to see this about my country, I’m so embarrassed! It is like the inferno in there.”
2. Peeing on the street
Pros: It’s free, do it anywhere, no one will stop you but make sure there’s no police around
Cons: It’s not legal – official statements says that whoever gets caught peeing on the streets during carnival will be arrested. According to Globo, 720 people were arrested this year. Pee at your own risk.
3. Support Brazilian small business by visiting the “Cat Litter” umbrella bathroom stall
I couldn’t figure out what these huts were on the beach at first, and when I found out it’s a toilet, I loved it! It’s creative, and promotes entrepreneurship solving a real public need!!! The attendant charges you R$2, you go in to do your thing, and when you’re done, he goes in and “cleans it” by covering the area with sand. A real life cat litter.
Pros: Supporting small business, 100% privacy, peeing Cat style
Cons: Costs R$2, stepping on other people’s excrement, though let’s face it if you really think about it the beach is full of excrement
4. Improvised bathroom on the beach – female
Bring a canga with you to the beach parties. I’ve mentioned cangas a couple times before, they’re Brazilian sarongs and they’re the most useful things ever.
Pros: Free. You’re covered up…
Cons: … but everyone knows what you’re doing
5. Oceanic urinal – male & female
Just pee into the ocean – a natural flushing system. Ladies, you can also accomplish this by just jumping into the water and peeing standing up or squatting down.
Pros: The ocean carries your urine away. You can pretend you’re just going in for a dip. Laura’s and my favorite! :p
Cons: Someone may “take the stall next to you” and get too close
6. Baby costume
During carnaval, it’s tradition to dress up in costumes. What better way to use this fact to resolve the bathroom problem than to dress up in a diaper?
Pros: You’ll never have to go to the bathroom. You got your costume covered.
Cons: You’re wearing a diaper.
7. The most boring option comes last – Going to a hotel or restaurant
Pros: Clean, toilet paper included.
Cons: You need to buy something at the hotel bar/restaurant. Honestly, don’t go for this option, you’re at carnival, you should be doing something crazy.
Of course, the best way to prevent needing to go to the bathroom is to drink less caipirinhas on the beach! Just drink cachaça for high cost-efficiency 😉