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Chairs spilled out of every hole in the wall - bar, restaurant, private house, brothel. Lines of coloured paper flags hung overhead, barely twitching in the gentle sea breeze. After four sticky, humid weeks travelling up the Amazon, this was my idea of holiday nirvana.
But there was no time to rest. The streets were so alive that I dumped my bag and went straight back out. While I was nursing my first just-off-freezing bottle of Brahma beer, a barman told me I was in a "cidade festiva" festival city. He didn't have time to explain, rushing off with a grin to serve other drinkers and diners. He explained the party-loving spirit: "It's hard to pin it down. Every day, all year, there are celebrations.
He suggested I get into the party spirit by going to a convent. There have been June parties for a while now. I walked down the dark narrow streets and, sure enough, came to a grand 17th-century nunnery, surrounded by makeshift bars and restaurants.
Kids were drinking pop, adults were drinking cocktails. There was no entrance fee, and the party in the inner quad was in full swing. The stage was packed with dancers - both sexes, of all ages, all with more rhythm in their big toenail than Bruce Forsyth and Michael Flatley could muster between them. Some of the men sported huge feather headdresses in vivid crimson and gold.
When they shook their heads, bells and rattles sounded, and the other dancers - mainly teenage girls and boys - responded with faces that managed to combine mock shock and cuteness. The latter message, while highly believable, wasn't fully conveyed by the gyrating bodies and African tribal rhythms on display, nor by the miniskirts women and naked torsos men.