Every time I tell people the animal I research, I always get a look of “Are you crazy?”  Part of me thinks yes, as the majority of society wouldn’t dare do what I or other crocodilian researchers do.  It is hard to describe the love and passion sometimes I have for my research and crocodiles.  Well, now there is something else I am going to have problems describing to people- partying it up in Salvador, Brasil for probably one of the biggest parties in the world- CARNIVAL!!!!  I was given an amazing opportunity to head down to Bahia and participate in a multi-day party with thousands-millions of people from all over the world.  I worked my ass off before heading out to Brasil, so come the opportunity to party I could have fun without any worries of school.  “Work hard, play hard”- a motto I’ve lived since I could remember.  And yes, I played hard at Carnival.

I knew Carnival was going to be swarming with people, but the first day there I was not expecting THAT many people.  It was an endless sea of people partying, some dressed in costume, but majority of people just in street clothes.  Although crowded, the energy of the people was amazing!  Everyone was all about living life and having a good time, dancing and drinking.  Being a grad student, this type of energy was absolutely refreshing- I forgot what stress was and joined in on the amazing energy of the Brasilians.

My experience was elevated by having the opportunity in getting access to one of the camarote on the route (VIP).  Unlimited food and drink, and dance floor with killer music, which meant endless whiskey and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.   I couldn’t have dreamed for this, and being with the people I was with, Carnival was turning into immediately one of the best experiences of my life!

The routine lasted a couple of days- party all night, sleep pretty much in the day, get ready and go party.  Of course I partied in the streets with everyone else, dancing away behind these moving music stages, not realizing that you end up dancing a couple of miles on the ocean front street.  By the time you get home, you are exhausted and crash.

I really don’t know how else to describe Carnival as so much happened.  All I know is if anyone has the opportunity to go, GO!!!  It’s something worthy to do at least once in your lifetime.

And now as I go back to the LA, I actually feel refreshed and so ready to get back to work.  Things mini-vacations are good for my brain and to re-analyze my research, how I want to take it.  It helps me to get more creative with what I do.  Wouldn’t it be a perfect world if graduate programs forced their grad students to take vacations- what a wonderful world that would be!!!!