Saturday, October 13, 2007

Theme & Variation - More Rua da Alfandega

On my previous post about Rua da Alfandega, I might have missed to mention the chaotic foot traffic that, together with the narrow streets and on-the-sidewalk discount bins, can make anyone scream and run home. If that does not discourage you, that's the place to find good bargains in Rio, specially if you are in the market for a new carnaval costume. It's already October and the cariocas are already planning what they are going to wear comes February. There are a good dozen shops that cater to beads, rhinestones, materials, feathers and all things carnaval-related. If you are the lazy/uncreative type there are also places that will sell you the head-to-toe ensembles, just like they do on Halloween in North America. The best known shop is called Casa Turuna, that occupies a large chunk of the corner of Rua da Alfandega and Rua Senhor dos Passos. Casa Turuna, founded in 1915, is the paradise (or the claustrophobic's nightmare) for carnaval paraphernalia and accessories. Just simply ask for "it" and they sell it there. In such an eclectic place you may also purchase your maid's uniform, no not a costume, an actual uniform for "the help" so your cleaning lady or butler can look sharp when you have guests over. Among the mix you will even find Candomble's religious iconography, clothing and what-nots, that seems like an odd place to carry that stuff, but what the heck - that's Brazil to you.

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